NPR logo

The Kangal: A Turkish Shepherd's Best Friend

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5403518/5403605" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
The Kangal: A Turkish Shepherd's Best Friend

World

The Kangal: A Turkish Shepherd's Best Friend

The Kangal: A Turkish Shepherd's Best Friend

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5403518/5403605" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A large white sheep dog from the cold mountains of Anatolia is a national symbol in Turkey. The Kangal is considered such an important cultural heritage that the Turkish government funds efforts to protect the breed.

One of the myths about the big beast with the menacing bark is that it sprang from the union of a dog and a lion. Not true, of course. But adults can easily weigh around 140 pounds, and they were bred to fight wolves. Now they're so closely protected that to export a Kangal, you need a permit from the Turkish military.

Kangal breeder Abdurahman Sisman wrestles with dogs at his farm. Ivan Watson, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Ivan Watson, NPR

Kangal breeder Abdurahman Sisman wrestles with dogs at his farm.

Ivan Watson, NPR