The Akbash is one of the çoban köpeği dogs, or turkish livestock protector dog breeds, which are believed to be one of the oldest of all dog breeds we know today and their history is tracing back thousands of years. The Akbash is a so called landrace breed, which means that they evolved naturally, by adapting to their environment, with limited influence of people. They evolved with the man, next to the poeple, but they were not purposefully developed by the people.
The main purpose and utilization of the Akbash breed is and always was protecting the livestock from all kinds of predators and The Akbash Dog as we know it today is the result of centuries of natural selection as a guardian of livestock. Next to the large size, big strength and great courage, the Akbash is absolutely devoted not only to its people, but also to its flock it is protecting. They basically adopt the herd, even though it is a different animal specie, and they will do anything in their power to protect it. These dogs have very strong maternal instinct and they will bond to other living creatures at a very early age. This is definitely one of the best livestock guardian dog you can find.
Of course, the Akbash can also be a great companion, but it is definitely not a dog for novices and you must understand Akbash temperament to have a good companionship with it. They are smart, but also independent and they like to make their own decisions. Of course, they are absolutely loyal and naturaly protective, which is why extensive socialization from the puppyhood is an absolute must, so the dog is not overly protective and agressive. These dogs should never be agressive without a reason. These dogs will be naturally alert and reserved with strangers and it can také a while before they accept a stranger, but they are absolutely loyal, friendly and devoted to its whole family and they can truly be the mans best friend. And not only that, because the Akbash can typically happily live with other dogs or even other pets in the family as well, as they do not have high prey drive or chasing instict.
4) Coat and color
The Akbash comes in two coat types, a shorter and longer coat. The longer coat is known for its dense mane and tail feathering. Both coat types are very dense doublecoats with coarse outercoat and soft undercoat. There is only once accepted coat color and that is all white. These dogs were mostly used to protect sheeps and the all white coat helps them to blend in with the flock.
I just said that these dogs can only be found in white color and they have it in their breeds name as well. The word Akbash means white head and it is in cotrast with another Turkish livestock guardian called Karabash, which means black head. The white color and white head is the easiest way how to recognize Akbash from most of other Turkish livestock protector breeds, such as Aksaray Malaklisi, Boz Shepherd or Kangal Shepherd.
The Akbash is a large dog with long legs, big head, and long athletic body. The average height of Akbash is 27-32 inch, which is 68-81 cm and weight is 75-135 pounds, which is 35-60 kg. These dogs are large, but not overly massive and they should be both, muscular, but also pretty lean and athletic. Females are naturally slightly smaller and lighter than males.
The Akbash is not hyperactive dog, but not a total coach potatoe neither. They have lets say medium energy level and they do need daily exercise and some activities like walking, playing or training to stay healthy and happy. Daily longer walks are must, so the dog does not develop any bad behaviour such as excessive barking or destruction. Just like with any other breed, puppies are much more energetic than adult dogs and it is important to say that Akbash mature quite slowly and males may not reach full size until the age of three or more.
The Akbash is relatively rare breed, which can be mainly found in mountainous regions of western Turkey. There are not many pure specimen outside Turkey, but they can be found in smaller numbers in Europe or even in North America, where they were first imported in 1970s by Judith and David Nelson. But if you would like to see Akbash dogs on your own eyes, your best bet would be to visit the Western Turkey.
Just like all the doublecoated dogs even the Akbash does shed some deal of fur all year long, more heavilly during the shedding seasons in spring or fall. The Akbash coat maintenance and grooming is not hard as the coat does not mat or tangle much and only regular brushing is recomended to keep the coat as clean as possible, to remove the dead hair and any dirt. Just like with all dogs, you should also regularly check the dogs eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Akbash has an average lifespan similar as other large breeds, which is around 11 years and they may ocassionally suffer from the same health issues as other large breeds, such as hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, hypothyroidism or cardiomyopathy, but overall, this is generally pretty healthy and hardy dog breed.
The Pastore del Lagorai is an ancient herding breed, native to the mountanious region of Triveneto, where it was used as a herding dog. There are actually carvings and bronze decorations with dogs similar to Lagorai Shepherd, probably made by ancient Venetian people who settled in Triveneto. This dog is most likely the ancestor of todays breed, but because the breed is so old, no one can be really sure what is the exact ancestry or date of origin.
2) Alpine Shepherd dog
One theory about the breeds ancestry suggest, that the main ancestor is today already extinct Alpine Shepherd dog. It is also believed, that they share this ancestry with other Italian herding breeds as well, such as Pastore di Oropa, Lupino del Gigante, Bergamasco or Cane Paratore, but also with the French Berger Picard or with the famous German Shepherd
For a long time, the Pastore dell Lagorai was not officially recognized by any major kennel club. That changed at the end of June 2020, when the official Italian Kennel Club finally recognized this rare breed.
The natural selection made this breed extremely hardy and healthy, but sadly, it is also extremely rare breed, that can be found almost exclusivelly in northeastern Italy. But there are ongoing projects by Italian association for Lagorai Shepherd, which is trying to protect the purity of the breed, to protect the breed from extenction and to help the breed gain international recognition.
5) Not a wolf
On the first sight, the Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai is kind of wolf like, but it is important to say that this is a pure dog and not a wolfdog as some people might think. Wolfdog would not be capable of herding a flock like Lagorai Shepherd. Just like a true sheepdog, this is intelligent, but also independent dog, that is very loyal, lively, curious, agile and athletic, all very important traits when working with the flock.
This is just incredibly good looking breed and one of the outstanding feature is definitely the coat and color. The coat is semi long with very thick undercoat and typical colors include merle, fawn, brown and black. Very often the coat have grey base spotted with black and white.
Not only the coat have very unique coloration, the breed has also very expressive great looking eyes. Most often the eyes are in dark brown or black color, but some dogs have eyes in yellow or blue color as well. This breed is also known for heterochromia, which means, that they can have each eye in different color.
The Lagorai Shepherd is a very athletic dog breed which is well muscled and that has average height between 50-60 cm, which is 19-23 inch. There are no extreme size differences between males and females.
Great fact about this breed is, that the maintenace and grooming is quite easy. The dense coat does shed some deal all year long, and regular brushing is definitely beneficial, so the coat does not mat and to remove any dirt and loose hair from it. But no other grooming needs, apart from the regular brushing, is needed. Of course, you should also regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
This breed evolved naturally over the centuries into hardy and usually very healthy dog breed with long lifespan. It is not uncommon for these dogs to live a great life well into their 15 birthday, or even longer. But of course, they may suffer from some health issues, such as joint and bone problems, eye problems, some allergies or infections.
The word Kattai can be translated from the Tamil language as „short“ and indeed, these dogs have short legs and relatively long body. The legs might be short, but they are very strong and these dogs have quite big paws. The Kattai dogs also have almond shaped eyes, thick tail, powerful body and relatively big ears.
The average height of Kattai dog is between 10-15 inch, which is 25-38 cm and weight is usually between 12-15 kg, which is 26-33 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller and lighter than males.
The coat of Kattai is short and closely fitting to the body. The short coat is great for living in hot Tamil Nadu region. The Kattai can be found in many colors and color combinations, including white, black, crem, fawn, brown, reddish or brindle.
The Kattai dog has many skills, it is a great alert watchdog, talented small game hunter and also friendly family companions. It is a good family member, that makes a good playful partner for older kids, but of course, the kid should be old enough to know how to treat dogs properly. They can also live with other dogs in the family without problems, especially if socialized from the puppyhood. The Kattai is quite loyal to its owner and family and they love receiving affection from its people.
This is also very adaptable dog, capable of living on farms, but also in small apartments, as long as it is with its people. If they are living in apartments, it is important to provide them with regular exercise and daily walks and playtime are absolutely necessary.
On the other hand, these dogs are aloof, alert and reserved with strangers, which makes them very good watchdogs, as they will most likely alert you by their loud barking, when they will hear or see something suspicious around your home. It can take a while before a Kattai will accept a stranger as a friend.
These dogs are known as lively, energetic and very intelligent. And it is true, they are intelligent, but also pretty independent and they love to make their own decisions, which is why they are not total pushovers to train. They will learn all the basic obedience commands easily, but they will not always obey them, which is very typical for independent dogs. Just like with any other breed, you will have best results with consistent and patient, firm, but also kind training full of rewards and praises for good behaviour.
The history of this breed is covered by mystery, as there are no historical records or writings about this dog breed. In recent history, these dogs were most often used for guarding farms in Tanjore and Nagapattinam regions of Tamil Nadu, where they were highly valued for their loyalty and alertness. There are even sculptures in Tanjore temples depicting dogs similar to Kattai, so it is believed, that this is very old dog breed, but the ancestry is and probably always will be uncertain.
Not so long ago, this was pretty popular breed in Tamil Nadu, but these days it is quite the opposite and Kattai dogs popularity is declining, as foreign breeds are preferred. Even today, if you will like to see Kattai dogs on your own eyes, you should visit the Tanjore region, where it can be found in highest numbers.
Health and grooming
The Kattai dogs are very healthy, hardy and adaptable. It is not uncommon for them to live well into their late teens and there are some reports about 20 years old Kattai dogs, which is just incredible age for any dog breed. They do not suffer much from any genetic health problems, but they can have the same doggy problems as other breeds, such as allergies, infections or eye problems.
The maintenance and grooming is extremely simple. The short coat does shed some deal of fur, but it is nothing terrible and even without any grooming at all, the Kattai coat will still look very good. You can brush it from time to time to keep the coat in best possible condition, clean and shiny. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
1) Ancient history
Podencos have a long history on Iberian peninsula and there are drawings from the Neolithic Age in southeastern Spain, which are clearly showing dogs similar to Podencos. There are also many pieces of craftwork from the Iberian times, which show a dog type similar precisely to Xarnego. It is interesting, that all the territories occupied by Iberian tribes corresponds with the area in which the Xarnego occurs today. It is very likely that Xarnego is one of the oldest, if not the oldest of peninsular hounds. The breed evolved naturally mostly in the Valencian community, where it is believed that Podenco Valenciano represents the “real” Podenco type, which was not inferior to any other external influences.
The Xarnego Valenciano has also one other name, which is Gos coniller, that can be translated as Rabbit Dog and indeed these dogs are highly valued for their hunting abilities, especially for their excellent vision, hearing, sense of smell, high prey drive and chasing insticnt, agility, speed and athleticism. These dogs are perfectly adapted for the rabbit hunt on the Iberian peninsula and they can hunt long hours even when its very hot and dry outside. Hunting with Xarnegos have long history and tradition.
Sadly, even though the Podenco Valenciano is popular among hunters for their hunting skills, they are very often abused and treated very poorly. Just like all the Podencos and Galgos, they are probably one of the most abused dog breeds in Europe, often times living chained in tiny rooms in shameful conditions. That is why there are many rescue stations all over the Europe specializing on Podencos and rehoming them. One of them is Hope for Podencos and if you are considering adopting a dog, you can check out their website hopeforpodencos.com
Every dog is different, but most often the Xarnego Valenciano is wonderful family companion with lively, playful and curious personality, great loyalty and devotion to its owner, high intelligence and confidence and pretty independent mind. They are typically good partners for older kids or other dogs in the family, but other smaller household pets might be problematic due to the dogs high prey drive. Overall, this is very loving and loyal companion dog.
Even though highly intelligent, these dogs are not total pushovers to train, which is mostly due to their independent mind. They are very good problem solvers, but they are not so eager to please dogs just like some other breeds. They need good motivation for the training and of course, patient, consistent and kind trainer. This is pretty sensitive breed and harsh training methods will not work on them. That said, Podenco Valenciano will easily learn all the different obedience commands, but they just love to be independent and make their own decision, so they are not completely obedient all the time.
The Xarnego Valenciano is both, very energetic, but also relaxed hound at the same time. They are always ready for an outdoor walk, hike, jog or vigorous playtime, but they also love to relax in their home with its people. It is important to properly exercise your Podenco every day with at least few longer daily walks and some fun playtime, so they stay healthy, happy and so they do not develop some unwanted behaviour, such as destruction. These dogs are great athletes and excellent jumpers and you should have a high fence around your property so the Xarnego could not jump over it.
The Podenco Valenciano is lean, athletic and long legged dog breed with average height between 50-61 cm, which is 20-24 inch and weight is usually between 18-20 kg, which is 40-45 pounds. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
The Xarnego Valenciano comes in three different coat types, the smooth, also known as liso, rough, also known as duro and long silky coat, which is called sedeño. These dogs can be found in several color combinations, commonly in cinnamon, black, brown and chocolate, either single colored or bicolored with white areas that appear on the face, neck, termination and abdomen.
9) Touch of Tanit
Sometimes, the Xarnego Valenciano, and other Podenco breeds as well, have little brown spot between their ears, which is called Touch of Tanit. According to tradition, the goddess Tanit is said to have blessed selected Podencos with a fingerprint of the sacred red earth of Ibiza.
The Xarnego Valenciano is pretty healthy and hardy dog breed with lifespan between 12-14 years. Of course, just like any other breed in the world, they may suffer from some health issues, such as hip dysplasia, allergies, some eye problems or ear infections.