Anatolian Shepherd

Type: Guardian Dog

Height: Females: 26 - 31 inches; Males: 29 - 32 inches.

Weight: Females: 80 - 130 lbs.; Males: 110 - 141 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 15 years. This breed is long lived for how large it is.

Litter Size: 5 - 10 puppies.

Country of Origin: Turkey/Asia Minor

Activity: High

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: Very High. They are suspicious of strangers and a guard-dog by nature.

Description: The Anatolian Shepherd is known for their large, strong frame and their courage. Steady and bold but never aggressive, they should be loyal, independent and hardy. The Anatolian Shepherd has a large head; broad muzzle; dark nose; and almond shaped, brown eyes. Anatolian Shepherds at one time were used to hunt wolves but today in the United States they are used as hunters, sheepdogs, and in the military. Similar in looks to the Great Pyrenees, the Anatolian Shepherd has tighter frame and are more agile. They are large dogs, reaching up to 30 inches. They come in colors of solid cream to fawn and often have a black mask and ears. They have medium sized drop ears, a furry rectangular body and almond shaped eyes. The Anatolian Shepherd is keen on protection and guarding, and acts as if that is their main job. They are intelligent and easygoing, yet very stern about their job. They are rather protective and thus do not usually like strangers. The Anatolian Shepherd is a big guard in which owners stress, "This is not a gentle giant."

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Other Names: Coban Kopegi (Shepherd's Dog), Karabash Dog, Kara bas, Kangal Dog

Colors: All colors, but most desired is solid cream to fawn with black mask and ears. There are some tricolors, brindles and black and whites. All colors are acceptable and they sometimes have a dark mask.

Coat: Double coated with a short or rough, dense coat, ranging from 1 to 4 inches in length and they have a thick under coat.

Temperament: Anatolian Shepherds are laid back, easygoing, intelligent, reliable, and very serious when it comes to guard duty. They are very devoted to family and suspicious of strangers. They do not do well around strangers, and are protective. The Anatolian is territorial and reserved, but affectionate with friends and family. They are independent, watchful and calm. The Anatolian is always on alert. Loyal and trainable, the Anatolian does not like small spaces to live in. They have a natural affinity for keeping themselves clean. They are gentle and playful with children and family. This breed is not a "gentle giant", and they should be properly introduced to any kind of stranger. An owner should post a sign for delivery people to not enter an Anatolian's space.

With Children: Yes, they are very loving toward their family's children, but other children should be properly introduced. They should be supervised with children.

With Pets: Yes, but only if raised with them. Otherwise, this breed is very protective and won't hesitate to eliminate anything deemed threatening.

Special Skills: Sheepdog and protector for cattle herds.

Care and Training: The Anatolian Shepherd needs weekly brushing and daily exercise like a good long walk or brisk run on a leash or a large area to run free. They have a natural tendency to clean themselves. Mental stimulation to prevent boredom is necessary. Puppies need to be trained early or they are very wary of strangers as adults.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. Although loyal, they can be very independent minded, thus needing training from puppyhood. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Fenced yard, leash, socialization and training.

Living Environment: Anatolian Shepherds will happily live indoors, but will do better in an outdoor environment. They are not recommended as an apartment dog, as they need a home with a large backyard. The owner of an Anatolian Shepherd needs to be strong and exert dominance over them. The best owner for this breed would be a dog-experienced, dominant owner giving consistent and firm training and socialization, living in a rural or suburban environment.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, sensitivity to anesthesia, and hypothyroidism.

History: The Anatolian Shepherd is an ancient guardian breed that probably descended from Roman war dogs and came to Turkey more then 4,000 years ago. They have existed on the plateaus of Turkey across from Afghanistan for years. At first they were used as hunters for big game, being lions and horses even. In Turkey they proved to be amazing defenders of livestock against even the toughest of foes, such as wolves and bears. They were used primarily as sheep and livestock guards after this. The Anatolian Shepherd accompanied the nomadic shepherds and became widespread over a large geographical region, accounting for the Anatolian's great variation in size, coat type, and color. Some believe there are different types within the species and assign them names based on their region. The Anatolian would always find a high patch of ground to keep watch from, then strike when they saw a threat. This breed was at first believed to receive a spiked collar after they had killed a wolf, but in fact, the spiked collars were used for protection. One owner remarked that they simply got the spiked collar for their dog, and instantly all other dogs did not dare go near his dog. Respect was shown for the spiked-collared Anatolian. They were not brought to America until the 1950s and were not accepted into the AKC Miscellaneous Class until 1996. Soon afterward they became members of the Working Group.

First Registered by the AKC: 1999

AKC Group: Working

Class: Working

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 2), KC (GB), UKC