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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 slight stop.

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, Weight

Height: 71-76 cm Bitches 66-71 cm
Weight: Dogs 45-68 kg Bitches 41-59 kg

Health Problems

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.

Living Conditions

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 boundary.


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..

Life Expectancy

About 12-15 years

Litter Size
5-10 puppies


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. .




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