Bite Force Battle: Kangal Dogs vs. Pitbulls – Who Reigns Supreme?

Fascinating, ancient, and positively enormous, the Turkish Kangal Shepherd Dog is one the world’s most unique breeds and the dog with the world’s strongest bite force. More than twice as strong as the average Pitbull, the Kangal may have been bred for fearsome strength but these giant dogs have incredible intuitive gentleness that makes them fabulous livestock guardian dogs. (Keep reading, we included a chart that lists out which dogs have the strongest bite force, by breed.)

Kangal Dog

If you’ve never heard of the Kangal, you’re not alone, but we’re about to teach you everything there is to know about this king among working dogs. Also called the Kangal Dog, the Kangal Shepherd, and the Turkish Shepherd Dog, the official name is Kangal Shepherd Dog (Turkish: Kangal Çoban Köpeği). 

Meet 5 Kangal Dogs from Instagram

Are you ready to meet the Turkish Kangal? If you’re lucky, you might meet one in person someday, but for now, the pictures will have to do! 

1. Coco

Kangal Dog
Source: @Coco_The_Kangal

Beautiful Miss Coco is a Manchester, UK-based Kangal Dog whose impressive size doesn’t stop her from being just the cutest pup ever! As you can see, she has totally mastered the puppy dog eyes. Just two years old, Coco has finally reached her full size, which is huge as you can see by her compared to her dad sitting right behind her. 


2. Zimba & Nala

Kangal Dog
Source: @Kangal.Sweden

Meet Zimba (right) and Nala (left), two beautiful Kangals living in Sweden on a sheep farm where they get to live the dream of livestock guardian dogs! As you can see, these two dogs are typical Kangals who are always alert and work well as a team—they’re each looking in different directions, keeping an eye on the whole field. 


3. Aslan

Kangal Dog
Source: @AslanKangalDog

Take a look at how these two dogs compare in size. On the left we have Aslan, a gorgeous Kangal Shepherd, and on the right we have a full-grown Doberman Pinscher. See how Aslan towers over the Doberman? These truly are enormous dogs. 


4. Beau

Kangal Dog
Source: @Beautifull_Beau_Kangal

Meet Beau, a five-year-old Kangal from the Netherlands with a sweet temperament and loving personality! More social than often expected of the breed, Beau is a snuggly girl who absolutely loves her humans. 


5. Yeris

Kangal Dog

Source: @Kangal_Yerish

This Kangal is living its ancestral dream in the Turkish mountains amongst a herd of cows and his #1 best friend—his human! An experienced livestock guardian, Yeris is now helping to train a new generation of guard dogs. 

Turkish Kangal Dog Basic Info

The Turkish Kangal Dog is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, and the breed is extremely uncommon in the United States. The Kangal Dog Club of America recognizes less than ten reputable breeders in the US, and the vast majority of these dogs and their breeders can be found in Europe. 

Similarly, breed standards for the Kangal dog have been established by several European kennel clubs including the United Kennel Club, the Fédéracion Cynologique Internationale, and the Turkish Dog Federation. 

Originating in what is now modern-day Turkey, both the upper echelon and everyday livestock herders were breeding dogs as livestock guardians, which later became the Kangal. Used primarily as guard dogs for flocks of sheep and goats, the Kangal spent centuries living among these animals and keeping them safe from native predators like bears, wolves, and even jackals. 

In the last century or so, the number of purebred Kangals has dwindled as the descendants of livestock herders have migrated to more urban areas. Nevertheless, the Kangal Shepherd remains an important symbol of Turkish pride and has avid fans intent on preserving the breed around the world. 

Kangal Dog Temperament

Kangal Dog

Livestock guardian dogs like the Kangal are independent, intelligent, even-tempered dogs who form strong bonds with their “flocks” and begin to show strong territorial traits even as puppies. Though some may be affectionate, most Kangal dogs prefer to be slightly away from their humans and will maintain an alert and watchful demeanor when not sleeping. Often wary of strangers and reactive towards strange dogs, Kangals are not a social breed beyond the limits of their immediate families. 

Strong and confident, Kangals are quick to react when they perceive a threat, and do best when they can be given an environment where they are primarily with their family and no one else. Some may be more social if kept as pets from a young age, and puppies raised with humans can make good family pets in the right conditions. Sensitive and gentle with their families, Kangal dogs are often calm and quiet companions. 

This said, the Kangal is not your average dog breed, and certainly not a breed that typically thrives indoors or without the enrichment needed by working breeds. 

Kangal Dog Size

The Kangal dog is a large breed that typically stands 27–33 inches tall and weighs 90–145 pounds

Kangal Dog Health

Kangal dogs are resilient and hearty and rarely develop serious health issues. Of course, all dogs can become sick during their lifetime, and there are a few concerns to be aware of if you own this breed. 

  • Joint issues (e.g. hip & elbow dysplasia) 
  • Eye infections
  • Ear infections
  • Bloat

Where To Find a Kangal Dog for Sale

Kangal Dog

Remember that the Kangal Shepherd is not an appropriate house pet for most people. If you have experience with working dog breeds and livestock guardian dogs and have your heart set on a Kangal, we recommend going with one of the reputable breeders approved by the Kangal Dog Club of America

Believe it or not, there are also plenty of livestock guardian dogs in need of rescue. To learn more about adopting a Kangal dog, check out the Kangal Dog Rescue Project.

Kangal Dog Bite Force Compared

Pitbull-type dogs—American Pitbull Terriers, American Bullies, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, etc.—are often wrongly assumed to have the strongest bite force of any dog breed, but this is an urban myth perpetuated by unfair stereotyping. In truth, the Kangal Shepherd Dog takes the crown for the strongest maximum bite force, measuring an impressive 743 pounds per square inch! 

To give you a point of reference, the bite force of the average human is around 150–200 pounds per square inch

But, can the Kangal Dog crush bones? The simple answer is yes, but all dog breeds can crush bones if they are small enough. However, Kangals can handle larger bones than most dogs, and can easily chomp through whole prey. 

Let’s take a look at a few other dog breeds and their bite force relative to that of the Kangal. 

Dog BreedMaximum Bite Force (PSI)
Kangal Shepherd Dog743 PSI
Anatolian Shepherd Dog700 PSI
Cane Corso700 PSI
Bullmastiff550 PSI
American Pitbull Terrier330 PSI
Rottweiler328 PSI
Staffordshire Bull Terrier328 PSI
Siberian Husky320 PSI
Doberman Pinscher305 PSI
Standard Poodle300 PSI
German Shepherd291 PSI
Great Dane238 PSI
French Bulldog230 PSI
Beagle200 PSI
Belgian Malinois195 PSI
Golden Retriever190 PSI
Pembroke Welsh Corgi150 PSI
Chihuahua120 PSI

Turkish Kangal Dog FAQ

Kangal Dog

Have more questions about the Kangal dog? Changes are good that other people are asking the same questions as you. Here are our answers to the most common questions about the Kangal. 

Do Kangal dogs shed?

Yes. Kangal dogs have a double coat that sheds moderately year-round with two or more periods of heavier shedding following the seasons. Regular brushing and baths can help control some shedding, but Kangal dogs will always drop at least some fur. 

How long do Kangal dogs live?

Kangal dogs are relatively long-lived among large breeds and have an average lifespan of around 12–15 years.

What is the average Kangal dog price?

For a purebred Kangal puppy from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay between $1,500–$4,000. 

Anatolian Shepherd vs Kangal, what’s the difference?

Often mistaken for one another, the Anatolian Shepherd and the Kangal are two separate breeds that look alike and do the same job. Both large, cream-colored livestock guardian breeds with black masks from the region of Turkey, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog and the Turkish Shepherd Dog are similar but not the same. 

Key differences between these two breeds include:

Size: Anatolian Shepherds are smaller than Kangals, maxing out at around 29-inches tall and a few pounds lighter. 

Temperament: Both breeds are independent, but Kangals are more open to human affection than the Anatolian Shepherd. 

Coats: Anatolian Shepherds have longer, thicker coats than Kangals.

Lifespan: Kangal Dogs live longer than Anatolian Shepherds by around 2–4 years.

Let’s look at a side-by-side of these two breeds. Can you spot the difference? 

Kangal (left—source: @Loki.Kangal) Anatolian Shepherd (right—source: @R.HavenLife)


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