Triple R Ridge Akbash Dogs

Triple R Ridge is now home to Akbash Livestock Guardian Dogs. Our Akbash Dogs are UKC Registered. We are members of the ADAA (Akbash Dog Association of America) - Visit ADAA Website. Triple R Ridge also participates in the BB - BetterBred.


Our Female Akbash: Patteran Kaan's Kimber (Kimber)
Sire: Demir Akbas Kaan Of Patteran
Dam: Sheepfields TM Lunar Eclipse

Our Male: KG Ranch Sam II Ruger (Ruger)
Sire: CH Sam II Of Campbell Hansmire
Dam: Patteran Jest's Magnolia

General Akbash Dog Info

Guardian Dog Group
The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dogs ability to perform its traditional work.

The Akbash Dog is a white livestock guardian breed native to the plains and mountains of western Turkey. While the origins of the breed are obscure, it is known to be an ancient pure breed. The Akbash Dog is the Turkish counterpart of the other white guardian breeds found around the northern Mediterranean Basin. However, only the Akbash Dog possesses its unique combination of Mastiff and gazehound characteristics.

In Turkey, Akbash Dogs are owned and bred by villagers and shepherds to protect their sheep from wolves and other predators. Recognition of these great white guardians as a distinct breed resulted from fieldwork done by Americans David and Judy Nelson who studied the dogs in Turkey beginning in the 1970s. The Nelsons have imported over 40 Akbash Dogs to the United States. These dogs became the foundation stock for the breed in the United States and Canada. In 1980, the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced Akbash Dogs to its Predator Control Program where the dogs performed successfully.

The United Kennel Club recognized the Akbash Dog on January 1, 1998.

The white Akbash Dog is a long-legged, lean, muscular dog of imposing size and strength, great courage, and stamina, with an alert, regal bearing. The Akbash Dog is slightly longer in proportion than tall, has a wedge-shaped head with pendant ears, and a long tail, usually carried in a curl over the back when the dog is moving or excited. The Akbash Dog represents a very rare and special mixture of Mastiff and gazehound characteristics that are important to maintain. The gazehound influence is apparent in the breeds long legs, deep chest, arched loin, shallow lower jaw, tucked up flank, speed, and agility, while the Mastiffs contributions can be seen in the breeds height, weight, broader head, and overall impression of power. When judging this breed, preference should be given to Akbash Dogs who exhibit a perfect balance between the two types.

Gender differences can be striking in this breed. Typically the dog is proportionately taller and heavier than the female. The bitch appears feminine in comparison to the dog. There is no difference in the ability of males or females to perform as guardians.

The breed is presented in a completely natural condition and should be evaluated equally for correct conformation, temperament, gait, and structural soundness. Honorable scars or other evidences of injury resulting from working in the field are not to be penalized.

The essential characteristics of the Akbash Dog are those that enable it to perform successfully as a livestock guardian. Akbash Dogs have the size, strength, and courage to challenge large predators and the speed and agility to chase fleet predators. Their temperament is calm, quiet, and steady. They are independent and capable of correctly responding to changing circumstances without human direction.

The Akbash Dog is also highly suitable as a home companion or estate guardian. The Akbash Dog is loyal, gentle, and quietly affectionate with its own family, including children and family pets, but remains aloof and suspicious toward strangers. It is also by nature watchful of other dogs and may, on its own territory, react aggressively to intruding dogs. Although independent in nature, the Akbash Dog responds well to basic training. Properly socialized and trained, the Akbash Dog is an ideal family pet and home guardian.

Although its protective, guarding instincts are demonstrated at a young age, the breed matures slowly, both physically and temperamentally, with individuals requiring two to three years to reach their prime. Females tend to mature faster than males.

In both sexes, the wedge-shaped head is proportionate to the size and build of the individual specimen. The male head is proportionally larger than the female head. Viewed from above, the head tapers gradually toward the tip of the nose forming a blunt wedge shape. Viewed from the side, the length of muzzle is approximately one-half the length of the head, measured from occiput to nose. The head is free of wrinkles.

The skull is large, slightly domed, and broad between the ears. The skull is longer than broad and tapers gradually toward the muzzle. The stop is slightly to moderately defined. The cheeks are flat and smooth.

Faults: Skull too flat; skull too narrow.

Viewed from the side, the topline of the muzzle is straight and roughly parallel to the top of the skull. The muzzle is broad where it joins the skull and tapers gradually toward the nose, forming a blunt wedge shape. The jaws are strong but the lower jaw is relatively shallow. Lips are black or dark brown, flews are tight, and whiskers are white.

Faults: Snipey muzzle.
Disqualification: Complete lack of pigmentation on lips.

The Akbash Dog has a complete set of large, evenly spaced, white teeth. A scissors bite is preferred, but a level bite is acceptable. Broken teeth resulting from field work are not to be penalized.

Serious Faults: Over or undershot bite; more than two teeth missing

Nose color may be either solid dark brown or solid black, with both colors being equally acceptable. Dogs displaying a slight seasonal fading of nose pigment should not be penalized. The skin pigmentation of the muzzle around the nose may be gray, spotted, or absent but preference should be given to the stronger pigmentation. In profile, the nose is on the same line as the top of the muzzle and extends somewhat beyond the lower jaw.

Serious Fault: Butterfly nose.
Disqualification: Complete lack of pigmentation on nose.

The eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and set well apart. Eye color may range from golden brown to dark brown, with darker color preferred. Expression is intelligent, alert, and kindly. Eye rims are tight and solidly colored either black or dark brown. Eyelashes are white.

Serious Faults: Very pale yellow eyes; loose eye rims.
Disqualifications: Blue eyes; complete lack of pigmentation on eye rims.

The ears are pendant, V-shaped, and slightly rounded at the tips. The ears are set rather high and lie flat to the skull. When alert, the ears are carried slightly higher; when the dog is disturbed, the ears are pulled back. When pulled toward the eye, the ear should extend at least to the outer edge of the eye and no farther than to the inner corner of the eye. In Turkey, the majority of Akbash Dogs have their ears cropped as puppies. Cropped ears on a dog imported from Turkey should not be penalized, but cropped ears on a domestic-bred dog are a disqualification.

Faults: Ears set too high or too low; ears too large or too small.
Disqualification: Cropped ears on a domestic-bred dog.

The neck is muscular, medium-long to long, arched at the crest, with little or no dewlap. A dog with some dewlap should not be penalized.

Fault: Excessive dewlap.

The shoulders are well muscled as expected in a working dog. The shoulder blade and upper arm are well angulated and nearly equal in length.

The forearm is long, straight, and well boned in proportion to the overall build of the dog. The front legs are set moderately well apart with elbows close to sides. The strong pasterns are slightly sloping when viewed from the side. When viewed from the front, legs should be parallel with each other and perpendicular to the ground.

Faults: Bowed front legs; feet that turn in or out.

The chest is deep and moderately wide. The ribs are well sprung from the spine and then flatten to form a deep body extending almost to the elbows. The length of the ribs decreases fairly quickly from the lowest point of the chest toward the loin. The topline inclines very slightly downward from well-developed withers to a strong back with a slight but definite arch over the loin, which blends into a long, well-muscled, sloping croup. The flank is well tucked up giving evidence of the gazehound influence in the breed.

Fault: Barrel chest.

The hindquarters are powerful. Although more heavily muscled, the bone and angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters.

The upper thigh is both deep, from front to back, and long. Stifles are well bent; hocks are well let down. The long hind legs contribute to the graceful arch of the loin and the speed and agility of the breed. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to each other; from the side, they should be slightly forward of the perpendicular when the dog is in a natural but alert position.

Faults: Cow hocks; sickle hocks.

Two types of feet appear in this breed: cat feet and hare feet. Both are acceptable; the cat foot is preferred. Regardless of shape, the feet are large and strong with well-arched toes. The pads are thick, hard, elastic, and may be either light or dark. Nails are gray, brown, or white and should be presented blunt. Dewclaws may be absent, single, or double and may be removed.

Faults: Splayed feet.

The tail is uncut, thick at the base, and tapering to the tip. The tail is set low at the base of the croup. When the dog is relaxed, the tail is carried low, just reaching to the hock, with the bottom third of the tail frequently forming a hook. When the dog is moving or excited, the tail is usually carried in a curl over the back. The height and degree of curl depends on the degree of excitement and confidence. The tail may be slightly to heavily feathered in proportion to the coat length of the dog.

Faults: Docked or short tail; tail carried between the legs, which would indicate shyness or cowardliness.

The Akbash Dog has a double coat consisting of longer, coarse, outer guard hairs and dense undercoat made up of soft, fine hair. Thickness of the undercoat varies significantly with the climate and exposure of the dog to weather. The Akbash Dog normally sheds its undercoat annually. There are two equally acceptable coat lengths. No preference is given to either type. In both types of coat, the hair on the muzzle, ears, and paws is shorter than the body coat.

The body hair is short to medium in length and lies flat giving a sleek, racy appearance to the dog. There is a slight ruff. There may be a slight feathering on the forelegs, thighs, and tail.

The body coat on the long-coated Akbash Dog is distinctly longer than on the medium-coated dog. The hair is often slightly wavy, but is never curled or matted. The long-coated Akbash Dog with full undercoat appears heavier than the medium-coated dog. There is a distinct ruff and profuse feathering on the forelegs, thighs, and tail. During the summer or in warm climates, the long-coated Akbash Dog appears significantly sleeker without the heavily developed undercoat.

The Akbash Dog is always white. Light biscuit or gray shading around the ears or in the undercoat should never be penalized as long as the dogs overall appearance is white. Gray or silver-blue skin pigmentation, either solid or in spots, is desirable but not required provided the individual dog shows ample black or dark brown pigmentation on the eye rims, nose, and lips.

Disqualifications: Any overall color other than white; defined spots on the outer coat; black whiskers; black eyelashes; albinism.

For this flock-guarding breed, size, soundness, and the ability to move with speed and agility are equally important. Desirable height at maturity, measured at the withers, ranges from 30 to 34 inches for males and 28 to 32 inches for females. Weight should be in proportion to the height, giving a well-muscled, lean appearance without being too light or too heavy. The average weight for a male Akbash Dog in good condition is 120 pounds; for a female, 90 pounds.

Fault: Obese, soft condition.
Severe Fault: Dog or bitch varying more than one inch in height from the parameters above.

The gait of the Akbash Dog is easy, free, and elastic. The feet travel close to the ground. From the front or rear, the legs do not travel parallel to each other but rather close together at the ground. As speed increases, the legs gradually angle more inward until the pads are almost single tracking. Viewed from the side, the hind legs reach far under, meeting or even passing the imprints of the front legs. Unless the dog is excited, the head is carried rather low at the level of the shoulders. When alert, the Akbash Dog moves with determination and purpose toward the object of interest.

(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness, marked shyness, or cowardliness.
Cropped ears on a domestic-bred dog.
Complete lack of pigmentation on the nose, eye rims, or lips.
Blue eyes.
Any overall color other than white.
Defined spots on the outer coat.
Black whiskers.
Black eyelashes.

History of the ADAA -- (Visit ADAA Website)


The ADAA began as the American affiliate of the ADAI, the Akbash Dog Association International. They were established in 1978 by David and Judy Nelson with the purpose of registering and recording the pedigrees of Akbash Dogs exported and being bred outside of Turkey. The Nelsons had developed tremendous admiration for the breed when they lived in one of the sheep raising regions of Turkey, the region that was home to Akbash Dogs like the one pictured here. Due to their efforts, the USDA became aware of the breed and by 1980 had included it in their livestock guard dog research project. With the increasing interest in the breed, the American organization quickly became more important that the original ADAI. By the mid-1980s, the ADAA had taken the role of the ADAI and began registering all Akbash Dogs, whether in the U.S. or other countries.

The First Akbash Dogs in the U.S.
The first Akbash Dog arrived from Turkey to the U.S. in 1978. Cybele White Bird (pictured) came to the U.S. with her owners, David and Judy Nelson, who had become fascinated with the graceful white guardians during their extended stay with the diplomatic corps in Turkey. Combining travel and photography, they spent time recording the breed, as well as other native dog breeds of Turkey. Observation and then the breeding of "test" litters in Turkey convinced them that this white dog was a regional breed that had developed unique, consistently inherited behavior, disposition, and appearance.

Once they were convinced that the Akbash Dog was the counterpart to the other white livestock protection breeds, such as those found in Greece, Italy, Poland, Hungary, and France, they were determined to introduce it to the livestock producers in North America. Cybele (whose call name was Sheila) was brought to the U.S. carrying pups.

The First Breed Club
In 1979, those pups became the foundation of the breed and the beginning of the Akbash Dog Association International and the Akbash Dog Association of America, the ADAI's North American affiliate. However, continued importation led to an increasing population of Turkish Akbash Dogs in North America, most from unrelated lines. Care was taken to import dogs from different villages while maintaining the purity of the breed. At that time, unlike today, the transport of dogs by car from village to village or yayla to yayla was unheard of. Bloodlines spread only as far as dogs traveled with their flocks.

Livestock Guardian!
In the early 1980s pure Akbash Dogs imported by the founders of the ADAA were purchased by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and used in the livestock guard dog project. While there was no recognition of the breed by any kennel club, such as the American Kennel Club or Canadian Kennel Club, it was becoming widely recognized by livestock producers as an excellent guardian -- one with unique traits and relatively predictable behaviors. In other words, while some Westerners, primarily Americans, Germans, and Brits, dog breeders claimed that all "shepherd's" dogs in Turkey were the same breed (Anatolian Shepherds), experience with Akbash Dogs led livestock producers to recognize the Akbash Dog as a unique, separate breed. Akbash Dogs proved to be aggressive against predators such as coyote and even bear and cougar yet trustworthy with livestock. While not typically friendly to strange humans, they were not as people aggressive as some of the other guarding dog breeds. While some of the more common breeds were notorious for leaving their stock, particularly in the heat of the day, the Akbash Dog demonstrated a real ability to bond with sheep and other species. This meant that "traveling" or "wandering" away from the flock or herd was not usually a problem. A trait that set the breed off from some other livestock guardians was its innate dislike of stray dogs and that immediately made Akbash Dogs popular with producers of livestock that was susceptible to injury from intruding dogs.

Continued Breed Development
The population of Akbash Dogs in the U.S. and Canada grew. Being stationed overseas once again did not stop the Nelsons work for the breed. Imagine the entourage of the Nelson family, Mr., Mrs., and 3 children and a number of adult Akbash Dogs in giant crates arriving at the airport on their way to Belgium. (This was before commercially made giant shipping crates.) This stint allowed for more European exposure and resulted in importations being made for new owners in Belgium and Germany. In addition, visits were made between Belgium and the U.K.

Additional imports continued to be made by the Nelsons, who were able to return to Turkey and continue their observation and breed Akbash Dogs there. Many of those imports into North America went directly to western sheep producers; others went into small farm or semi-rural homes. Some dogs were family companions. Placing dogs in both working and companion homes was valuable in the development and evaluation of the dogs. This two-fold approach to the breed helped ensure the tractable disposition of the dogs toward their owners and families and yet maintain the protective and independent instincts of the Akbash Dog. In fact, many of the dogs placed on range or with producers never produced pups. Unfortunately for the breed, range dogs had a high attrition rate. In addition, their main function was protection not reproduction. Thus, a special debt is owed to the owners who bred their Akbash Dogs, maintained pedigree records through the ADAA, and served as a source of livestock guardians for livestock producers.

Dog Club Politics as Usual
While the breed was extraordinary, the club which was responsible for its registry was not. While the Nelsons were in Belgium, a move was initiated primarily by two breeders to remove the Nelsons from their positions in the club. That failing, in 1987, those on the ADAA membership list received a letter inviting them to join a "new" club, WADA - the Working Akbash Dog Association. On the heels of the first notice, a second notice went out to the same group of people -- whether they had indicated interest in the new organization or not. This time the ADAA members were invited to join ADI - an apparent reinvention of the short-lived WADA.

Accompanying their invitation to join was a short letter and questionaire which asked people to measure their dogs and send their heights in. The letter explained the new club's desire to reevaluate the sizes given in the original breed standard. This new association felt the Akbash Dog should have lower minimum heights (not the 28" for females and 30" for males that were cited as the desired minimums in the ADAI/ADAA standards).

The ADI found supporters and, like the ADAA, began registering their own dogs, using the original ADAA dogs as their foundation. As ADAA registered dogs were re-registered by their owners or by buyers, kennel names or even entire names were sometimes changed, leading to confusion for those today who are researching pedigrees from this era. While the new club itself became the victim of dissent and splintered into new groups, an ADI group still exists and registers dogs from UKC foundation dogs (Akbash Dogs that trace to the original ADAA/ADAI foundation) and otherwise unpapered working dogs, primarily in Canada. The general policy of the ADAA and UKC is to accept ADI dogs as pure Akbash Dogs eligible for registration with UKC, which many now have.

Turkish Recognition of U.S. Successes
All of the North American interest in the Akbash Dog and its reputation as a livestock guardian did not go unnoticed in Turkey, and in 1996 experts on the breed in the U.S. were invited to participate at the First International Symposium on Turkish Shepherd Dogs at Selcuk University in Konya, Turkey. Among those presenters were David Nelson, ADAA founder; Dr. Jeff Green, one of the USDA biologists who worked on the initial livestock guard dog project and who had maintained his interest in the field after the project ended; and Tamara Taylor, a livestock producer from Texas who with her husband had used both Akbash and imported Turkish Kangal Dogs for livestock protection since the mid-1980s. While the emphasis of the Symposium was on the Sivas-Kangal or Kangal Dog, the audience was extremely receptive to information about the success of the Akbash Dog in North America.

ADAA & the United Kennel Club
In 1997, as a direct result of the Symposium and a summary letter written by Dr. Tekinsen stating the Turkish position on their native dog breeds, the United Kennel Club contacted the ADAA with the purpose of recognizing the Akbash Dog and opening studbooks for the breed. In 1998 that was accomplished and the ADAA became the provisional national breed club for the Akbash Dog. Until that time, the ADAA had maintained pedigree records on all import dogs and their offspring, issuing registration certificates. Now the United Kennel Club, the second largest dog registry in the world, would be responsible for maintaining those records as well as additional information such as DNA test results.

What UKC Means for the Breed
The ADAA welcomed recognition by the UKC because, unlike many registries or kennel clubs, the UKC is primarily a "working dog" registry. Founded in 1898, the United Kennel Club began by registering "non-European" breeds, working and hunting breeds that had been developed in North America.

The UKC was the first kennel club in the world to endorse DNA testing. It likewise takes a pragmatic view of breeding and understands the importance of genetic diversity and maintaining both physical health and working ability. To that end, it works in partnership with the ADAA to encourage the importation and registration of pure Akbash Dogs, something which no other kennel club in the world does currently.

Another Real Benefit
Breeders and owners have welcomed the move to UKC registry because UKC provides a permanent, professional "home" for this breed -- in contrast to registry by individual breed clubs which can fall prey to personality conflicts and club politics "as usual."

Non-ADAA Registered Akbash Dogs
Likewise, many dogs that might be registered with other breed clubs, such as ADI (Akbash Dogs International), typically qualify for UKC registration. In fact, ADAA has adopted a philosophy of trusting ADI registry records and assuming that ADI registered dogs qualify for UKC registration as pure Turkish Akbash Dogs.

The Akbash Dog Association of America serves as the spokesman for the Akbash Dog breed and its owners. The UKC gives its national breed clubs a great deal of authority in what should or should not be allowed in the registration and exhibition of a breed.

UKC emphasis on "the total dog," responsible dog ownership, and its ban on the use of professional handlers in trials or shows makes it an ideal registry for working breeds and for breed clubs whose goals are to maintain the working abilities of their dogs and provide an acceptable venue for the exhibition of the breed by their owners and their families. As of 2007, the United Kennel Club is the only national and international kennel club in the world to recognize and register the Turkish Akbash Dog.