Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Akbash vs. Great Pyrenees: The Differences (With Pictures)

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

Akbash vs Great Pyrenees

If you’re interested in a beautiful, large, and powerful dog, both the Akbash and the Great Pyrenees could be just what you’re looking for. They’re both extremely loving and protective breeds, but they also both have stubborn streaks and aren’t the best for first-time dog owners.

But while these two breeds are similar in so many ways, they’re also completely different dog breeds! In fact, only one has formal recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC), although both have recognition from various clubs around the world.

But what sets these two breeds apart from each other, and what else do you need to know about them? We’ve answered those questions and more for you below.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 3

Visual Differences

Akbash vs Great Pyrenees side by side
Image Credit: (L) bektasaydogan, Shutterstock | (R) everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

At a Glance

  • Average height (adult): 28–34 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 90–120 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Low
  • Family-friendly: No
  • Other pet-friendly: Rarely
  • Trainability: Stubborn, intelligent, and curious
Great Pyrenees
  • Average height (adult): 25–32 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 85–100 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Sometimes
  • Other pet-friendly: Sometimes
  • Trainability: Loving and intelligent but stubborn


Akbash Overview

The Akbash is a beautiful large breed that originally comes from Turkey, and while many dog breeds around the world recognize the breed, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is not one of them.

The Akbash can have either a medium or long coat, a lean body, and white fur. They’re beautiful dogs. They tend to stand a bit larger than a Great Pyrenees, but because of their leaner build, they actually weigh a bit less.

The Akbash is a livestock-guarding breed, which can lead to some protective and possessive traits you need to work through.

akbash dog standing outdoors
Image Credit: bektasaydogan, Shutterstock

Personality / Character

As a known livestock-guarding breed, the Akbash naturally wants to protect its family members, which can be problematic if you don’t socialize them early and often. The Akbash is a highly suspicious dog with strangers, and they’re also fiercely independent and stubborn.

They can also be extremely vocal to let you know something is going on, but it can be problematic if you live in close quarters with other people. They’re far from pack dogs and do better on their own, and their guarding nature makes them very protective of children.

But while these dogs can have challenging personalities, they’re also extremely loving, loyal, and intelligent, and because of this, they can be great service dogs.


While you certainly can’t keep an Akbash cooped up all the time, compared to many other high-energy breeds, the Akbash is relatively low energy. We recommend getting them out and moving for at least one hour each day, but many times, you can meet their needs with even less time outside.

However, because the Akbash is a larger dog breed, the only way to really meet all their energy needs is to get them outside. We recommend having a fenced-in yard to make it a bit easier, but if you don’t mind taking them for long walks each day, it’s certainly possible to meet their daily energy needs without this.

akbash dog
Image Credit: bektasaydogan, Shutterstock


The Akbash is an incredibly stubborn and independent dog. This can make training a nightmare, but with consistency and positive reinforcement, it’s certainly possible. Aim for one or two training sessions each day, and each training session should last between 10 and 15 minutes.

Stay positive and you should be able to train an Akbash to complete many tasks because they really are an intelligent dog breed.

Suitable For:

While the Akbash is a beautiful dog breed and can make a great pup, the truth is that they’re among the more challenging dog breeds to own. They can be notoriously stubborn, and without consistent and proper socialization, they don’t always get along the best with smaller kids and other pets.

Because of this and their large size, we really only recommend them for experienced dog owners with fenced-in yards that give the Akbash plenty of space to roam.

Divider 1-Dog bone- New

Great Pyrenees Overview

As big and muscular dogs, the Great Pyrenees can be more than a little intimidating at first glance, but the more you get to know them, the more you start to realize how they’re big softies at heart. Sure, they can stand as high as 32 inches and weigh more than 100 pounds, but they really just want love and attention.

Just like the Akbash, Great Pyrenees are guard dogs at heart, so they can be extremely protective. And because of their large size, they need a lot of socialization if you have kids or other dogs in your home.

They’re white dogs, but they can have markings of gray or tan that add to their overall appearance.

two great pyrenees dog in the garden
Image Credit: Danita Delimont, Shutterstock

Personality / Character

As a natural guard dog, the Great Pyrenees is extremely protective and loving of its family members, which can be a great feature but also a bit problematic in the wrong circumstances. Early socialization and training can help with this quite a bit.

However, the Great Pyrenees is a stubborn breed that likes to get their own way, especially if they want you to cuddle up with them all the time. Overall, the Great Pyrenees is typically a very mellow dog, but when they need to move quickly, they can be incredibly agile and powerful.


The Great Pyrenees is a larger dog that requires about an hour of exercise each day to meet all their exercise needs. Once you meet these needs, the Great Pyrenees will spend the rest of their time happily lounging and sleeping.

You can meet their exercise needs by walking them, but because of their larger size, it’s not really possible to do this indoors. You can either take them for longer walks or have an outdoor area where they can run around.

close up great pyrenees dog at the beach
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock


The Great Pyrenees is a great family dog, but they have a strong stubborn streak. You can overcome this with consistency, proper training, and positive reinforcement though. Aim for one or two training sessions a day and keep the training sessions short.

Stick solely with positive reinforcement since a Great Pyrenees loves attention, making both positive reinforcement and ignoring negative behavior extremely powerful tools.

Suitable For:

The Great Pyrenees is a great family dog, but because of their larger size and stubborn streak, they’re not the best choice for first-time dog owners. But if you’re an experienced owner with enough space and time for them, they’re loving, loyal, and protective pets.

Divider-Dog Paw and Bone- New

Which Breed Is Right for You?

Both the Akbash and the Great Pyrenees are similar dogs in quite a few ways, and there’s really no right or wrong choice between the two breeds. However, they both can be a bit challenging to own, so ensure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you bring one home.

However, since the two breeds are so similar, which breed is right for you really comes down to personal preference. Find the one you like more, track down a great breeder, and then bring home your dream pup!

Featured Image Credit: (L) bektasaydogan, Shutterstock | (R) Susie Prentice, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database