The Turkish Boz Shepherd originates from the mountainous Southern Turkey area. Bred to be a herding dog, the Turkish Boz Shepherd is a super amiable, hardworking, and low prey drive breed, bred to be able to withstand both the extreme heat and cold of the Northern Urfa Mountains.
This is not a breed officially recognized by the AKC, but they are still amazing dogs. Turkish Boz Shepherds, often shorted to either the “Boz Shepherd” or simply the “Boz,” are known for being incredibly loyal and loving with their families. They are also a particularly good breed to consider if you have kids, as they make incredible family dogs.
- The Turkish Boz Shepherd evolved mostly naturally, rather than through selective breeding
- This breed is thought to be one of the oldest in the world
- The word “Boz” means “big strong fighting man”
This breed’s history goes back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest breeds in the world. They are closely related to breeds in the area like the Akbash, the Kangal or its AKC-recognized counterpart the Anatolian Shepherd.
Unlike many other breeds, the Turkish Boz Shepherd’s breeding was mostly influenced by natural forces rather than through specific breeding programs. Living in the rugged Northern Urfa Mountains in Turkey, Turkish Boz Shepherd’s needed to have a natural resilience against weather of all types.
The Turkish Boz Shepherd was primarily used as a livestock guardian. These dogs protected livestock from predators. The Bozoklar, a nomadic group of people native to the area, kept their livestock safe with the help of these large, loyal dogs.
However, as the areas in which these dogs lived became more populated, the need for large livestock guardian dogs or LGDs began to diminish. In turn, the number of Turkish Boz Shepherd began to reduce as well. However, today a Turkish man named Akin Tulubas keeps his commitment to ensuring that the Turkish Boz Shepherd and its history do not go forgotten.
Appearance and Vital Stats
The Turkish Boz Shepherd is a large, imposing-looking breed. Sturdily built, this is a dog that finds all types of terrain easy to navigate.
Dog Breed Group
The breed is very closely related to the AKC-recognized Anatolian Shepherd, which comes from the same area and was also used primarily as a livestock guardian dog.
Most LGDs belong to the Working Group. Dogs that are part of this breed group tend to be built for strength, stamina, and intelligence. The Turkish Boz Shepherd is lacking in none of these traits.
This is a large breed. In general, male Turkish Boz Shepherds will measure 28 to 35 inches tall and will weigh 120 to 190 pounds. Female Turkish Boz Shepherds will measure 26 to 33 inches tall and weigh 100 to 170 pounds.
Turkish Boz Shepherds tend to live for about 10 to 15 years. Because they are the result of natural forces, they tend to be healthier than dogs that have been selectively bred. This means that, although they are quite large, they tend to live longer than many other large breeds.
Coat and Colors
Your Boz will have a short to medium-length coat that is in general quite dense. However, the density and length of the coat can change depending on the season. In warmer seasons, the coat will grow in shorter and less thick. Conversely, during colder months the breed’s coat will be thicker and longer to help keep him warm.
Twice a year, during the change of seasons, the Turkish Boz Shepherd will shed quite heavily. During this time, instead of a weekly brushing, you will likely have to brush him daily.
Boz Shepherds can have coats in a variety of colors. They can have coats that are fawn, cream, red, gray, and white.
The Turkish Boz’s Shepherd’s tail is long with a slight upwards curl at the end. When relaxed, the dog will carry his tail down by his hocks. However, when he becomes alert or excited, the tail will be carried over the back.
Turkish Boz Shepherds have v-shaped ears that are low-set and carried flat against the head. The ears are naturally long, but it is traditional to crop them. Turkish Boz Shepherds that are being used for guarding are encouraged to have their ears cropped for the dog’s safety.
Born to be a guardian, the Turkish Boz Shepherd’s nature is naturally a protective one. This is a breed that is always alert and constantly aware of everything going on around him. You’ll always feel safe with your Turkish Boz Shepherd around, especially considering his imposing stature and size.
But this breed is not a naturally aggressive one. While he won’t hesitate to protect those he loved, he is also in general a very calm and gentle breed. The Turkish Boz Shepherd is also incredibly affectionate. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more loving breed than this one.
Because of his sensitive nature, the Boz Shepherd requires lots of praise and positive reinforcement while training. You can expect the training process to go quickly, as the Turkish Boz Shepherd’s history as a guardian dog requires him to be very intelligent. It won’t take long for these dogs to understand new concepts, and using a gentle hand while training makes it a breeze.
While many large breeds can live comfortably in apartments, this is not recommended for the Boz Shepherd. These massive dogs may find an apartment’s living quarters too cramped. As LGDs dogs, they’ll also appreciate lots of space to run around in.
If you’re thinking of adopting a Turkish Boz Shepherd, then a large fenced-in yard or field where he can run around is required for these dogs.
Children and Other Pets
The Turkish Boz Shepherd is an incredibly friendly and loving breed. They will attach themselves tightly to your family and will get along well with everyone in it, young and old. Because of their livestock guardian dog history, Turkish Boz Shepherds will naturally try to protect children.
While this breed may be large, you won’t have to fear too much about him hurting your kids. The Turkish Boz Shepherd is very aware of his size and will know to be gentle when playing. He is also an incredibly patient dog, making him great for younger kids.
That said, you should still never leave your dog unsupervised with your children. Always teach your kids how to properly approach a dog. The Turkish Boz Shepherd may be patient, but he won’t appreciate excessive yanking on his fur or limbs.
If properly socialized, the Boz Shepherd can get along well with other dogs and animals of all types. If you get your Boz as a puppy, it’s important to socialize him as early on in his life as possible.
The Turkish Boz Shepherd is a large breed and will require a large amount of food to maintain his health and weight. You should expect to feed your Turkish Boz Shepherd about four cups of food per day.
It’s a good idea to split his food up into multiple meals. This will prevent your dog from overeating and becoming overweight.
During the majority of the year, the Turkish Boz Shepherd will require minimal grooming. Aim to brush him about once a week to pull out any dead hairs and keep his coat healthy.
During the change of season, however, your Boz will shed a huge amount of fur as he prepares for warmer or colder months. During these periods, you are going to have to be very diligent about grooming him. A pin brush, deshedder, and slicker brush will all help get rid of dead hairs before they litter the floor of your home.
Make sure you also trim your dog’s nails regularly. About once a week should do. Nails that are left to grow for too long can be very uncomfortable for your dog and impede his ability to walk properly.
The Boz Shepherd requires surprisingly little exercise. This is a very relaxed breed, and they have very calm natures.
However, you should still make sure to exercise your Turkish Boz Shepherd regularly. This will help keep him in shape and prevent obesity. Try to take him for at least a 30-minute or so brisk walk every day.
Having a large, fenced-in yard is important for your Turkish Boz Shepherd, as this gives him another opportunity to get in some exercise. He’ll be more than happy to roam wherever he’s allowed to be.
Because they evolved more naturally than many other breeds, the Boz tends to be much healthier and heartier. However, they can still be prone to certain illnesses.
This is a condition that commonly affects large breeds like the Turkish Boz Shepherd. Hip Dysplasia occurs when the joints in the hip don’t align properly. This results in the bones grinding together instead of sliding smoothly into place like they should.
If your dog begins limping or favoring one leg, your vet will check him for other signs of hip dysplasia. If the condition is mild, then a management plan may be put into place. If it is more severe, then corrective surgery may be required.
Turkish Boz Shepherds can sometimes be affected by Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. This condition is a necrosis of the head of the femur, meaning that the bone begins to deteriorate. It is not known what exactly causes the illness.
If left untreated, the dog’s hip will begin to collapse, and he may develop arthritis in the affected joint.
Gastric dilatation volvulus, or “bloat,” tends to most affected deep-chested dogs like the Turkish Boz Shepherd. The condition occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with a substance like gas or fluid that makes it expand, applying pressure to the dog’s other organs. The stomach may also twist.
Signs of bloat include restlessness, pacing, drooling, or a sensitive or painful abdomen. Bloat can be fatal to dogs, and it is an emergency. If you believe your dog may be experiencing bloat, you should call your veterinarian right away.
The Anatolian Shepherd comes from the same area that the Turkish Boz Shepherd does. They are very similar in size and appearance, although slightly smaller. Still, they are a large breed and share the same coloration as the Turkish Boz Shepherd.
Like the Turkish Boz Shepherd, the Anatolian Shepherd has a rich history as a livestock guardian dog. Bas-relief carvings dating all the way back to around 2000 B.C. show depictions of similar-looking dogs.
The Anatolian Shepherd tends to be a pretty independent dog. He’ll be reserved around strangers and is naturally extremely vigilant. He makes for a great watchdog, but at the same time can get along great with kids given proper socialization and supervision.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
These large, fluffy dogs come from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe. Like the Boz, they were primarily used as livestock guardian dogs, and proved to be formidable foes to potential predators trying to reach the herd they cared for.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs have many names, including the Caucasian Sheepdog, Caucasian Ovcharka, and the Kawkasy Owstcharka. There are two different types of Caucasian Shepherd Dogs. The first is the larger, more thickly-coated Mountain type, and the second is the smaller and finer-coated Steppe type.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is bred as a protector, and takes his job seriously. But these brave, fearless dogs also have a tender, kind side that experienced owner will appreciate.
Central Asian Shepherd Dog
Slightly smaller than the Turkish Boz Shepherd, Central Asian Shepherd Dogs have a similar history. They were not formed through selective breeding, but rather were a result of their environment and climate.
These dogs are no joke. If you are thinking of adopting a Central Asian Shepherd Dog, then you are going to have to put in the work to keep his protective nature in check.
Although they may not be suitable for first-time dog owners, Central Asian Shepherd Dogs make wonderful companions to capable owners.