Kangal’s nature and personality are what most people love about the breed. They have a rock-solid, stable temperament. They are quiet and calm, devoted, controlled and trustworthy. They are brave and protective without undue aggression. Temperament is of prime importance in Turkish villages: viciousness or aggression with people or livestock is never tolerated. Kangals are working dogs, watchful, territorial and highly reliable. Naturally, as guardians they tend to be dog-aggressive. They do well with pets and livestock if introduced to them at an early age. They are gentle with children and tolerant of neighbors, visitors, or workers. Once used to their surroundings, they are able to judge what belongs in their environment and what doesn’t. Some owners report that females tend to be more affectionate than males. Kangal dogs are quite independent. They tend not to play games. They don’t get easily excited, hyper, or loud.
Describing a typical LGD/Kangal temperament, Samantha Miller said:
“What does a good LGD do? A mature, confident LGD is rarely out of sight or hearing of his flock. He has gained his herd’s trust and confidence as he moves slowly and calmly amongst them. At the first sight of danger, his herd runs toward him for safety. They like order and peace in the pasture and welcome a visit from their master, but don’t rely on it. They are working and they love their job. What can you NOT expect from an LGD? They can not bounce around from pasture to pasture. They like order and consistency. Do not expect an LGD to be submissive and obedient. They are independent thinkers. They will decide how to handle a decision, take care of it, and fill you in later! Don’t bother correcting them, telling them they have it all wrong and there’s no need to bark at THAT particular person/truck etc.- they will decide and act accordingly. They will not stop barking when you tell them to, they will not be a companion animal during the day and a paddock policeman by night. They won’t welcome your housedogs into their paddock for a field romp- it’s their territory PERIOD and they don’t care if your little FIFI sleeps in your bed every night!”
More on LGDs/Kangal Temperament
(by the Australian National Kennel Council)
“The Kangal Dog possesses the classic livestock guardian dog (LGD) temperament; a temperament characterized by a calm, alert and independent demeanor. Possessing a natural protective instinct, he is loyal, bold and courageous without showing undue aggression.
Moreover the Kangal Dog is sensitive and his responses to individual situations clearly demonstrate his intelligence and sensitivity. The breed is an ancient flock-guardian still working in Turkey today, and an essential characteristic is the protective tendency towards the flock. The breed is dominant and males do not generally tolerate other males happily, particularly those of a dominant disposition.
The breed is generally aloof until introduced to strangers. It is important that the best working traits are retained and preserved down the generations. If the working traits are lost, then an essential part of the dog has been lost, which it would be impossible to restore.
If the Kangal is to be used as a working dog with a flock it must be bonded with its flock at an early age. The young puppy should spend the majority of its time in the company of the animals he is intended to protect, starting as soon as possible.
The Kangal Dog makes an excellent companion but is by no means a lap dog. Its independent nature is not akin to sitting at its master’s feet, except when it suits the dog to do so. The Kangal is not suited to suburbia and small back gardens; they need space to work off their energy.
It is vitally important, however, that the Kangal is socialized, regardless of whether it is to be a companion or working dog. Basic obedience training is a necessity; the owner must establish that he is in control, not the dog. The Kangal resents anyone who shows aggression to it or to its owners. The Kangal should be familiarized with stock and other household pets at an early age, it will then live happily and reliably with them. Faults are undue aggression and shyness.
Kangal Dog is an active working breed used to guard sheep and livestock. Steady and bold without undue aggression, independent, hardy, very trainable. The Kangal Dog is primarily a sheep-guard. There are many predators in Turkey, the wolf being the greatest threat to the flocks. The shepherds crop their dogs’ ears and give them large, iron spiked collars for protection against the wolves when defending their flocks from attack.”