In the guide below, we compare the German Shepherd vs the Kangal Shepherd dog breeds.
We outline what the main differences between them might be, and provide other important information on each breed.
(NOTE: the information in this guide is general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. See a qualified vet or animal expert for an expert opinion in regards to your pet/s)
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd: Differences, & Breed Comparison
Firstly, Are Kangal Shepherds & Anatolian Shepherds The Same Dog Breed?
Some reports indicate that there are slight differences between a Kangal and an Anatolian Shepherd.
For example, the UKC currently recognizes the Kangal Shepherd and Anatolian Shepherd as separate breeds – recognized in 1998 and 1993 respectively.
However, other reports indicate that the US considers under the same breed.
The AKC for example doesn’t recognize the Kangal as their own breed – they classify both Kangals and Anatolian Shepherds as part of the Anatolian Shepherd dog breed.
In this guide, we are referring to Kangals specifically.
You might like to read more on Kangal vs Anatolian Shepherd differences if you’re interested, and also read the UKC breed profiles for extra information.
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Origin/History
German Shepherds were first bred in Germany around 1899.
They were bred from different Shepherd breed dogs in Germany at the time (reportedly a sheep type dog, and also a service type dog), with the intention of having ideal working dog traits and working ability.
GSDs as a breed belong to the ‘herding dog’ category.
Today, GSD’s are used in a range of working fields, compete as show dogs, and are also pets & family dogs.
The Kangal Shepherd is also referred to as the Turkish Shepherd Dog, Kangal Çoban Köpeği, or simply the Kangal
Some reports indicate that Kangals have been around for centuries or even millenium, and that they originally come from the extinct Molossus breed
Kangals themselves might have first been bred and used in Turkey (possibly sometime around the 12th century), in the town and district of Kangal in Sivas Province, which is in the Anatolian Plateau
They were bred and used as flock/livestock guardian dog breeds, protecting livestock from predators and threats
Since then, they’ve been exported to various countries around the world
Currently, some kennel clubs and breed registries recognize Kangals as their own separate breed to Anatolian Shepherds, some have replaced the Anatolian Shepherd breed with the Kangal breed (and classify both under this name), whilst others classify all regional shepherd type dogs from Turkey as ‘Anatolian Shepherds’
Kangals might still be used as guardian dogs and watchdogs in some parts of the world, whilst they are also used as pets and family dogs elsewhere
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Size
German Shepherds might be classified as a large breed of dog
Males might average 24-26 inches in height (60-65 cms), and 66-88 lbs in weight (30-40 kg)
Females might average 22-24 inches in height (55-60 cms), and 49-71 lbs in weight (22-32 kg)
Kangals might be classified as a Giant sized breed of dog
Males tends to be bigger than females
But, overall, the breed might range between:
– 26-31 inches in height (66-78 cms), with some dogs also being taller than this
– 90-150 lbs in weight (40-68 kg)
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Lifespan
German Shepherds might have a lifespan of around 9-13 years on average
Although, some reports indicate some GSDs may even live up to 15 years of age
Might have a lifespan of anywhere between about 10 to 15 years of age
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Popularity
Every year, the American Kennel Club publishes a list of the most popular dog breeds based on dog registration data.
The 2021 list shows:
– German Shepherds as the 4th most popular dog breed
– Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are listed as the 88th most popular dog breed, and it’s assumed this includes Kangals
Of course though, this is only one rankings list, from one organisation, in one country.
Other lists in other locations may look different.
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Appearance, Features, & Colors
German Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– Black and tan, or sometimes black and red coat color and saddle pattern (although other colors exist too)
– Erect ears/ears that stand up
– An angulated back and dropped hips (although body shape differs between the individual lines of GSDs)
– Generally medium length hair/plush coat, with a double coat (although, short and long haired GSDs exist too)
Having said that though, different German Shepherds have different physical features and appearances.
You can read about the different variations in German Shepherds, such the different lines, colors, and coat lengths/types here.
Kangal Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– The main coat color might be a light tan or light brown, which may look like a ‘cream’ color to some. They also tend to have a dark nose, eyes, and ears
– Naturally floppy ears
– A sturdy body, with long legs, and a tail that can curl up
– Generally a short, straight, double coat, with a coarser and thicker outer layer
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Temperament
Ultimately, a dog’s personality or temperament might be influenced by a range of factors, with genetics and breeding being key factors
So, this is why the temperament and personality of individual dogs don’t always match the general temperament descriptions found online
However, a generalized description of the temperament of each dog breed, according to either parts of the standard for each breed, or, what they were originally bred to be, might be:
Intelligent, obedient and easier to train, loyal, confident, protective, and may be slightly aloof (without being aggressive)
May have the general temperament of a working breed dog or herding dog
Read more about what temperament GSDs were originally bred for, and what some breed standards outline for temperament and personality in this guide
Kangals might be one of the more ‘personable’ livestock guardian breeds of dog
It might be gentle, friendly, calm, and loving around people and other animals it knows, trusts or likes
However, Kangals still have a guardian/protector instinct/drive, and they may be more defensive when they sense potential danger or a threat
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Intelligence
Intelligence testing for dogs can test for different things, and can also have limitations.
So, intelligence rankings for different breeds might be viewed as a guide only, and not definitive
One online ranking indicated that German Shepherds rank as the 3rd most intelligent dog breed
We could not find any rankings that mention Kangals. This may be because the intelligence of the breed hasn’t been studied or measured yet
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Bite Force
The bite force of different dog breeds might be a generalized measurement only, and not definitive or comprehensive.
We list some of the reasons for this in a separate guide.
However, when referencing one ‘strongest dog bite force’ list, where bite force is expressed in psi (pounds of force per square inch), the bite force of each of these two breeds might be:
– German Shepherds might have a bite force of 238 psi
– Kangals might have the strongest bite force of all dog breeds, at 743 psi
German Shepherd vs Kangal Shepherd – Cost/Price
The cost to buy a specific breed of dog depends on the country it’s bought from, along with a wide range of other factors.
Some general information on buying each breed though might include:
Buying From Breeders
According to different online information at the time of publishing this guide, the general cost to buy each of these breeds from breeders in the US might be:
– German Shepherd
Anywhere from $800 up to $10,000+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $800 mark
– Kangal Shepherd
Anywhere from $800 up to $4000
Buying from a breeder may not be the only option to own each of these dog breeds.
Adopting or rescuing may be other options too.
The cost to adopt or rescue a dog can be significantly cheaper than buying from a breeder in some instances, although there’s usually still a basic cost to adopt/rescue a dog.
Buying a dog that is being re-homed might another option to buy a dog.
The cost for rehomed dogs can vary.
More Information On German Shepherds
It’s worth noting that some of the information in the guide above about German Shepherds comes from our ‘German Shepherd Breed Information Guide‘, which also has additional information about the German Shepherd breed.
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