Found throughout North-Eastern Turkey, this breed is named after the Kars province, where it is most common. Considered by many to be just another variant of the Caucasian Ovcharka, the Kars Dog is believed by most Turks to be the ancestor of the European mountain breeds. It should be noted that Kars was the capital of Armenia in the 10th century A.D. and this breed is closely related to the ancient Gampr and the Sarplaninac, as well as to certain strains of Sylvans, Azerbaijan Shepherds, Tushetian Nagazis and Circassian Sheepdogs, but also old Persian Sheepdogs, Turkish Mastiffs, Yoruk Sheepdogs and Kangals. This rugged Molosser is still being bred today by shepherds for its working abilities and not visual standards, just like it has been for centuries, resulting in a great variety of sizes, colours and coat types. However, the most common and popular Kars type is almost identical to the Nagazi variant of the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. Turkish dogs are said to be very healthy and there are some reports of European C.O. breeders buying Kars puppies to improve their bloodlines.
Heavy and intimidating, the Kars Dog is extremely aggressive and territorial, best suited for rural environment, although it it can make an agreeable companion for experienced owners if provided with proper socialization and training. Devoted to its master and very protective of its flock, this breed is highly valued by the shepherds of Eastern Turkey, where it's still being used for the work it was bred to do, as well as an occasional fighting dog. This is a strong, well-boned and powerful Molosser, with a large head, wide chest and broad shoulders. The ears are usually cropped, but many dogs can be seen unaltered.
Even though there are a few variants and coat lengths, the most valued dogs are the tall, long-coated bear-type dogs, coming in various colourings, both solid and piebald, with the wolf-grey specimens being preferred. The average height is around 28 inches, although smaller, as well as much taller dogs exist.
Also known as:
Kars Dog, Ardahan Sheepdog, Kackar Mastiff, Kars Kopegi, Turkish Caucasian Sheepdog, Kars Caucasian Dog