Aksaray Malaklisi, the Anatolian mastiff

This article is also available in: Italiano

Considered by many to be the “big brother of the Kangal”, the Aksaray Malaklisi is the largest of the Anatolian sheepdogs, so much so that Evliya Çelebi nicknamed him “Lion of Anatolia”

History of Aksaray

The Aksaray Malaklisi, better known as Aksaray, shares its origins with Kangal, probably the most famous and identifying dog of Anatolia. According to these sources, all Anatolian shepherd dogs derive from the most ancient Mesopotamian dogs, probably already used in ancient Nineveh, which would have united first with Roman molossers and then with the shepherd dogs brought by the Turkish peoples in their migrations.

Aksaray Malaklisi

Like the Kangal, the Aksaray is one of the most protectors of the Anatolian flocks, but it differs from him above all for the tonnage. Unlike the dog’s Sivas, the Malaklisi has a really impressive tonnage and not very different from that of the British mastiff, so much so that the great Turkish traveler, Evliya Çelebi, nicknamed him “Leone d’Anatolia “; unfortunately this characteristic has led some infamous breeders to use it as a fighting dog, increasing aggression and muscle mass. Unfortunately, unlike the Kangal, to date the breed is not officially recognized by any canine association and this made it more complicated to identify a precise standard for Aksaray Malaklisi.


The height at the withers should be around 74-81 cm for males and 70-79 cm for females, with the former weighing from 65 to 90 kg and the latter from 50 to 65 kg. The nature is that of a shepherd dog accustomed to harsh climates and to constantly face potential enemies: maximum distrust for everyone but total and absolute trust in the master, light of their world.

Aksaray Malaklisi

Like most herding dogs, Aksaray Malaklisi are also used to spending a long time alone and this has sharpened their intelligence, which will allow them to manage many situations in complete autonomy; of course it is essential, to make this breed better enjoy, to have large open spaces where it can let off steam and precise training, so that you can really fully enjoy its presence. To date there shouldn’t be any breeding in Italy but in general, not being a registered breed, it is not easy to find any.

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