Descended from the ancient Sage Kooche and working dogs of Central Asia and Persia, the Yoruk Kopegi is believed to be the oldest Molosser in Turkey, probably introduced to the area by the nomadic Turkmen tribes. With close ties to the Turkmen Alabai, Armenian Gampr, Kurdish Sheepdog, Kyrgizian Sheepdog, Persian Sheepdog, Kars Dog and others, this hard worker is most commonly employed as a livestock guardian and property watchdog. The Yoruk Shepherd Dog is closely associated with the south-western regions of Turkey, where the traditionally nomadic Yuruk people finally settled and established their villages.
Unlike most recognized breeds, the Yoruk Shepherd Dog doesn't conform to strict appearance standards and continues to exist in a variety of types, from smaller and lighter specimens to the taller and more massive Kangal-like dogs, as well as the long-coated Anatolian variety of Caucasian Ovcharkas from Kars. This is chiefly due to the practice of breeding for working abilities only, completely disregarding physical appearance. However, this in no way implies that the Yuruk dogs are not pure. It simply means that the breed allows for a wide variety of types, while retaining the most important features that unify them all under the Yoruk Shepherd Dog name.
Like many old nations around the world, the Yuruks also believe that the purity of a breed is measured by the dog's personality, temperament and working ability, not its looks. And the Yoruk Kopegi is a perfect example of a remarkably uniform Molosser in terms of behaviour and working qualities, while showing many appearance variations within the breed. Some of these types differ only slightly from each other, whereas others have even been recognized as separate breeds, as is the case with the popular Akbash, which is simply a white variety of the Yoruk Shepherd Dog. Although there has been a mutual influence between the Yoruk Dogs and Kangals over the years, there are still some noticeable separations, such as the head-type, difference in ear size and bone structure. Like the Sivas Kangal, Kurdish Shepherd, Akbash and other common dogs of Turkey, the Yoruk Kopegi was instrumental in the development of a popular Western creation, known as the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.
Very fast and agile, the Yuruk Dog is an impressive working breed, valued for its resilience and stamina. This is an intelligent and trainable Moloss, completely devoted to its master, while cautious and reserved around strangers. Generally even-tempered, the Yoruk Shepherd Dog is able to differentiate between false and true threats, to which it reacts swiftly and with great power, making it a reliable guard dog. Early socialization and proper training will ensure that its naturally confrontational attitude towards strange dogs is kept under control. Depending on the regional preferences, ears and tails can be either cropped or left unaltered.
The Yuruk Kopegi comes in a few coat types, from smooth and shorthaired dogs to those whose coats are over 4 inches in length. All colours are allowed, including the uniform white "Akbash" colouring. Size can vary depending on the type, but the average height is around 27 inches.