With origins in central Asia, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog's ancestors lived in Anatolia, a central part of Turkey. Strong, rugged, and very independent, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog’s principal job was to protect livestock. Attuned to peril through its highly sensitive visual and auditory faculties, this powerful, yet agile, animal will chase predators down with exceptional speed, as well as total abandon, throwing caution to the wind. Today, as a family guard dog, this breed may be calm and reserved around strangers, but will be a brutal protector in the face of danger with your safety as its top priority.
Possibly more than 6000 years ago, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog was used by Turkish shepherds to protect their sheep from predators. Known in Turkey as the "Coban Kopeg," which translates to "shepherd dog," the generally harsh climate was easily tolerated by the hardy and adaptive Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Independent, yet loyal, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is no "glamour breed" or show dog, and never was. Instead, this dog has always been focused on its work and nothing else. The breed is closely related to the Kangal dog, also of Turkey, with some believing that the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is actually a slightly different "version" of the Kangal dog. Most experts, however, believe that the Turkish Kangal dog is a separate breed from the original "generic" Turkish shepherd dog, the genetic root of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. While both dogs lived in the isolated Sivas-Kangal region, dog authorities do not accept that there was any intermixing of the two breeds. In addition, the export of Kangal dogs from Turkey was at first highly controlled, until the Kangal Dog Club of America worked to ease import restrictions. The Anatolian Shepherd was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995, and has become a relatively popular pet in the United States. Currently, there are about 3000 Anatolian Shepherd Dogs registered in the United States alone.
Strong and imposing, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog looks exactly like the massive guard dog it is, meant to protect above all else. Its ominous appearance is no accident. This breed has been developed to provide safety, with no other role needed. Even though the Anatolian Shepherd Dog finds pleasure in family affection, this animal is a force to be reckoned with. There is a saying that three Anatolian Shepherd Dogs can take on a pack of wolves, injure two or three of them, and send the rest of them packing.
Rugged and intimidating, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a much more streamlined version of the Great Pyrenees and the Kuvasz . The large, strong head is in proportion to the rest of the body, but is slightly rounded. The black muzzle can be rectangular in shape, with lips hanging down slightly but devoid of an excessive dewlap. Left natural, the Anatolian Shepherd's ears are pendulous, although they can be cropped short. Eyes are medium-sized and brown. The tail is long, the back is muscular, as are the legs which are somewhat relatively short. The coat is longer around the tail and thick neck, and will vary in length depending on the season. There are two coat types: medium and medium long. The coat color is usually fawn with a black mask, although anything is acceptable including brindle, white, and pinto.
In adulthood, the Anatolian Shepherd stands between 26 and 30 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 90 and 150 pounds.
With excellent sight and hearing, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog guards its flock, whether animal or human, with precision, dedication and magnificent valor. Loyal, alert and capable, this athletic animal will be brave and unwavering regardless of the trouble at hand. Rather than exhibiting aggression, the Anatolian Shepherd’s calm but intense nature simply keeps it focused on the job. With the right owner, the Anatolian Shepherd will be very easy to train, since its instinct is to follow the pack leader. However, because the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is also independent, it may choose not to listen to you. This is a breed that often works alone as protector of the flock, which means you will need to compensate for that by being an especially strong owner who doesn't take "no" for an answer. You have to understand canine instinct and know how to be "top dog" without being aggressive. Strong and assertive but calm management will rule the day.
Importantly, experts state that this breed's protection instincts are inborn. Further training for this is not needed. Instead, what is needed for this proud, courageous, incredibly confident and focused dog is an owner who understands the strong personality of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, to be able to control it with calm, assertive leadership. Assuming you’ve mastered the knack of leading this dog, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog may be aloof with strangers but will settle in and do whatever you ask when you introduce new friends – as long as you introduce them. This dog will refuse to accept strangers without your introduction. This is a breed that matures slowly, reaching full adulthood after as long as four years. It is essential that you begin training your puppy as soon as you bring it home, and throughout its young life, so that you are its indisputable leader. Your reward will be a friendly, perhaps somewhat aloof dog around strangers, but a calm and assertive pet with no inclinations toward destruction.
Finally, it's also important to note that if you're going to get an Anatolian Shepherd Dog as a flock guard, you may decide that you should not make it a family pet (or get a second Anatolian guard dog for that purpose). Once this type of dog is the "family pet," its ferocity in guarding the flock may be greatly compromised and a second, “unspoiled” dog may be warranted for that job.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog can have eyelid entropion and hypothyroidism, but the biggest concern you'll probably have with this breed is a sensitivity to anesthesia. Due to its lengthy maturing process, it may have a weaker immune system than other breeds. Parvovirus vaccination is especially important for this reason, so you should consult your vet about this as soon as possible, either before you bring your puppy home or as soon as possible after. This breed has a relatively long life span of 12 to 15 years.
This dog’s fur coat needs very little grooming, except during its twice-yearly, copious shedding seasons when a thorough brushing out once or twice a day will be needed. For the rest of the year when shedding is minimal, an occasional brushing will be sufficient.
AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.
Retrieved July 15, 2013.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog (Coban Kopegi) (Karabas) (Perro de pastor de Anatolia)
(Anatolischer Hirtenhund) (Chien de berger d'Anatolie).
Retrieved July 15, 2013.
Anatolian Shepherd Guide.
Retrieved July 15, 2013.
Retrieved July 15, 2013.
Group Classification: Flock Guard
Country of Origin: N/A
Date of Origin: N/A
Shedding: Heavy Shed
Body Size: N/A
Weight M: 100-150 pounds
Height M: 28-30 inches
Weight F: 90-130 pounds
Height F: 26-28 inches
Litter Size: 5-10 puppies with the average being 7 puppies
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Tan, White, Light Brown, Sable
Anatolian Shepherds are generally not well suited for apartment life since they need a lot of activity and exercise to. Their best fit is in a large, secure, fenced-in yard. They need a lot of fresh air and exercise to stay healthy, and will become easily bored and destructive if they are kept indoors.