Anatolian Shepherd Dog
The Anatolian Shepherd dog is native to Asia Minor, particularly
Turkey. It protects flocks and serves as a shepherd's companion.
On the high Anatolian Plateau, summers are hot and very dry and
winters are cold.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is able to live outside all year round.
For centuries the ancestors of the Anatolian Shepherd dog were used
as a combat dog in war and for hunting. The breed was particularly
valued for the victorious battles it could fight with wolves. The
Turks would use a spiked collar to protect the dogs’ neck
from getting bitten by predators that attacked their charges.
As a sheepdog, it was bothered by neither fatigue nor bad weather.
Today it is still used as a sheep dog as well as a guard dog. The
Anatolian Shepherd dog is very closely related to the Kangal Dog.
The isolated historical conditions of the Sivas-Kangal region has
resulted in the development of the Kangal Dog as a distinct breed,
which has been declared the National Dog of Turkey and a national
treasure. The true Turkish Kangal Dogs are first and foremost still
primarily working shepherds. The export of pure Kangal Dogs from
Turkey has been controlled and now is virtually forbidden.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a large, rugged and powerful livestock
guardian. He is very similar to the Great Pyrenees and the Kuvasz
but is more slender and agile. The head is in good proportion with
the rest of the body, large and strong, slightly rounded, with a
The muzzle is often black and is rectangular in shape. The lips
are black and hang down slightly, dewlap should not be excessive.
The upper lip should not hang down lower than the bottom jaw's lower
edge. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite, but a level bite
is acceptable according to the written standard. The triangular,
pendant ears should be set on no higher than the plane of the head.
They should be V-shaped with a rounded tip and are often black.
In Turkey, the ears are often cropped very short. The eyes are
medium size, set apart, almond shaped and dark brown to light amber
in colour. Eye rims are black in all dogs except those of the liver
colour, where they are brown with a brown nose. The neck is thick,
slightly arched, powerful, and muscular, and has a slight dewlap.
The top line will appear level when the dog is in motion and will
be slightly rounded at the loin. The chest is deep and reaches to
the elbows. The back is powerful, muscular and level, short relative
to the leg length. The front legs should reach out smoothly with
no obvious pounding and are straight and set well apart.
The tail is set rather high. It should be long and reaching to
the hocks. When relaxed, it is carried low with the end curled upwards.
When alert, the tail is carried high, making a "wheel."
Both low and wheel carriage are acceptable, when gaiting. The "Wheel"
carriage is preferred in the show ring. The tail will not necessarily
uncurl totally. The short or rough double coat is generally fawn
with a black mask, though all colour patterns and markings are equally
acceptable including pinto, white and brindle. Coat is longer around
the collar and the tail. The length will vary depending on the dog’s
lineage and the season. There are two basic coat types: medium length
and medium long.
The Anatolian Shepherd dog is a flock guardian, although not a
herding dog, with a superior sense of sight and hearing. They are
calm independent brave dogs who are usually not aggressive. The
Anatolian Shepherd dog is loyal, intelligent and alert being capable
of great speed and endurance. However, the breed is not suitable
for those who are inexperienced as they need firm but fair leadership.
They tend to bark at night if they are living indoors, a trait which
needs addressing form a young age. Since the Anatolian Shepherd
dog is a born flock guard they will be very watchful and can become
possessive if not kept in their rightful place with in their pack.
If they see themselves above the family they may act affectionately
with them but very suspicious of strangers causing behavioural problems.
This is an issue that is particularly worrisome after the dog reaches
adulthood. This is why it is very important that the dog sees the
people it lives with as its leaders. Being a flock guard they will
always have an instinct to protect and this cannot be bred out of
them or changed though training. The Anatolian Shepherd will still
be possessive with the home and property not allowing anyone in
if the owner is not home, unless they have had frequent contact
with that person. Friends of the family will be welcomed. This proud
dog is demanding of itself, and can be stubborn and dominant if
they see themselves as a leader of the home.
When training the Anatolian Shepherd dog the best results are achieved
by motivational training methods with a determined, firm, confident,
consistent and loving approach as the dog is sensitive to reprimands
and eager to receive affection. This is not a dog for the passive
owner or an owner who does not consistently affirm that he is pack
leader. It is very important to begin training as early as possible,
because a fully grown dog may be too strong and too big to be corrected
by the average person. This breed is patient and protective with
children of the family, but may accidentally knock them down. Children
should always be supervised and properly introduced. The Anatolian
Shepherd dog is extremely confident and therefore does not require
any additional protection training. It already has very strong protection
instincts which will get stronger as it matures. These instincts
will peek at around one and a half years of age.
This breed will generally get along with other animals provided
they have been introduced to them when they are still young. They
can be rather dominant towards other dogs and it is important to
socialize them while they are still young. These dogs mature slowly,
reaching full adulthood at around four years. Dogs that are going
to work as flock guards should not be family pets or they will prefer
the family over the animals they are supposed to be guarding. They
need to be socialized with any people coming into the field so it
is possible for them to receive veterinary care and any necessary
grooming, but should live their entire life with the flock and not
be brought inside the home. This socialization should take place
while the dog is a puppy. Anatolians will walk the border of their
territory every night, then find a high place to lay to watch over
their charges. Every few hours they will get up and walk around
their flock again just to make sure all is safe. If they detect
danger they will give off a deep warning bark. If that does not
scare away the threat they will deepen their bark making themselves
sound more serious and alerting the flock to gather behind them.
If the danger persists and approaches the flock the Anatolian will
attack, but this is always saved as a last resort. Extensive early
socialization, obedience training and consistent dominant leadership
are very important when owning an Anatolian Shepherd dog.
Height: 71-76 cm Bitches 66-71 cm
Weight: Dogs 45-68 kg Bitches 41-59 kg
The Anatolian Shepherd dog is prone to hypothyroidism or to eyelid
entropion. Hip dysplasia does occur, but is not as common as some
other large breeds. They are sensitive to anesthesia. The Anatolian
Shepherd's immunity often takes longer to develop than with many
other breeds and therefore you should talk to your vet about giving
young Anatolians any necessary extra vaccinations.
Anatolian Shepherd dogs are not suitable for small dwellings or
to live in flats. They are relatively inactive indoors and will
do best with a garden. This breed is very suspicious of strangers,
and it is therefore necessary to provide a secure, fenced property
This breed needs a lot of exercise. They do best when they can
run freely in open country side and also have at least a garden
at home. Anatolian Shepherd dog does best when it has a job to do
or better still a flock to protect..
About 12-15 years
This breed requires little grooming most of the time although the
coat needs thorough brushing-out during the twice yearly moult when
much hair is shed. .