It’s described as the rarest Turkish breed outside of its native land, a breed nearly impossible to purchase from a native Turk. Indeed, the Turkish government considers the Kangal Dog to be part of its national heritage, and according to some sources, it is illegal to export a Turkish Kangal to someone who isn’t Turkish.
Holding a festival in the name of a dog suggests a certain amount of pride, and that’s exactly what happens in home district of Kangal in the Sivas province of Turkey. Though the sheep industry continues to decline in eastern Turkey, purebred Kangals are becoming increasingly valued, and from 8 week old puppies to adult, dogs are brought from all over the county to be seen, and some to compete, in the dog event.
Last year, the National Breed Standards and Kangal Shepherd Special Race Competition was organized by the Dog Breed and Kinology Federation in Altınyayla district of Sivas and about 280 Kangal dogs were brought to the competition. Bear in mind as you watch the video below that the event isn’t happening in America, and you’ll see traditional spiked collars used to protect the throat of the dog, as well as cropped ears also believed to protect the dog from predators since the Kangal Dog is still primarily used as a livestock guardian dog. We suspect that some of the dogs in the video may have been plucked from their “day jobs” to be shown off in the festival:
Winning at this festival is very prestigious and dogs become known all over Turkey. Needless to say, breeding to the winners, or securing a pup out of a top dogs is an honor – and expensive! As for the little white dogs (Cotons? Maltese?), we have no idea why they are there, but what a lovely illustration of the diversity of dog breeds!
We came across the video below that we *think* was taken two years ago. It’s hard not to notice all the wagging tails:
In the past, dogs have said to have suffered from the heat as this event takes place in July, and one hopes that if this is the case, proper shelter and hydration is now provided. Our understanding is that the government of Turkey has established several state-sponsored breeding centers to monitor the development, health records, document pedigrees, and issue certificates of origin of the breed.
To read more about the festival, visit this article from which the photo comes.