A photo of a sheep expressing appreciation to a dog for saving its entire herd from a wolf attack has gone popular on social media recently. But, hey, what dog breed is capable of such feats?
Wolves, the biggest canine species, are the top predators in their natural environments, whether in Eurasia or North America. They feed on most mammals without hesitation since they have no natural antagonists, and cattle is no exception. They do, however, have some internal foes.
In the Caucasus Mountains in 2019, a brave shepherd dog defended his flock from a band of wolves. A sheep was spotted embracing their hero after the dog scared the wolves away, and the photo of the sweet incident has since gone viral. But what kind of dog is it, and how much do we know about it?
A Kangal is the dog in the photo above. It’s understandable if you’ve never heard of this dog breed; it originates in Turkey and is largely found in Central Asia. Due to Turkey’s restrictions on Kangal exports in order to maintain the breed’s bloodline, they are extremely rare in the United States.
They are commonly employed to safeguard and guard herds that graze freely in rough mountainous environments where wolves and other predators are frequent. A Kangal has a special bond with its flock since it not only herds the animals but also lives among them. As a result, the cattle understand the value of the dog’s protection. This might explain why the sheep in the image is so concerned about their protector.
These working dogs may reach a height of 85 centimeters (33 inches) and a weight of 65 kg (143 lbs). Kangals have a strong physique with remarkable agility and speed, making them particularly successful against predators despite their size. They also have the record for the most powerful biting force among dogs, with an average bite force of 743 PSI (pounds per square inch). Pit bulls, on the other hand, have a biting force of 235 PSI, while grizzly bears have a bite force of 975 PSI.
Because they live in such a harsh environment, the Kangal has developed extraordinary features over many generations. They are incredibly bold and strong-willed, with a battling spirit to match. Even if it means risking their lives, they will defend their flocks.
Kangals have elastic skin on specific portions of their bodies, which may absorb the strength of particular bites, lessening discomfort and providing them a key edge during battles. Also, the spiked collars shown on the dogs in some of the photographs aren’t there by accident. Wolves and other wild creatures that kill livestock frequently bite the necks of dogs, and spiked collars can protect dogs from predators.
On the other hand, when these dogs are not on duty, they are quite quiet and have a predictable disposition. They are friendly and compassionate to the humans they trust, and they are naturally gentle with youngsters. Because the Kangal believes the people it lives with to be part of its pack, their instincts will instruct them not to be aggressive or unfriendly in our presence.
As a result, these Turkish shepherd dogs are extremely loyal and dedicated to their owners, as well as protective of their possessions. Kangals, when properly educated, can recognize when to calm down, threaten an opponent, or fight a predator, which is a unique trait.
These creatures, however, are not for everyone. They are frequently owned by those who live in risky places where wolves and bears pose a serious threat to them and their cattle. As a result, the Kangal has developed in order to serve as a livestock guardian. Not a dog who can be pent up indoors or just left outside in an empty yard. They might grow bored and nervous if they don’t get enough exercise and have their abilities put to use, which can lead to destructive behavior and excessive barking.
These strong-willed and independent canines may become gentle guardians that love their ‘flock’ beyond all else in the correct hands and surroundings.
However, because this distinctive breed is not your typical large dog, their owners must be mindful of their special demands.