- Size: Large
- Life Expectancy: 13 years
- Average Weight: 120 pounds (54kg)
- Average Height: 28 inches (71cm)
- Grooming: Easy
- Shedding: Heavy
- Exercise: Demanding
- Training: Easy
- Color: Any Color
- Country of Origin: Turkey
- Personality: Protective, Loyal and Independent
Anatolian Shepherds originated in Turkey over 6000 years ago. They were bred to help the shepherds protect their lifestock from predators. These dogs blended into the lifestock being a similar size and color and were camouflaged from the predators. They have excellent hearing and sight but are not herding dogs. Anatolian Shepherds came to America in the 1950s and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1996.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a large, powerful, sturdy breed of dog. They are similar to the Kuvasz and the Great Pyrenees except more agile and lean. They are most commonly found in fawn with a black mask, but any colors are acceptable. They have two coat lengths, either short or long with longer hair around the neck and tail. Their pendant ears are triangular shaped with a rounded tip. It is common for the ears to be cropped short in Turkey. Anatolian Shepherds have long tails that hang low when relaxed with the end curved upwards. When alert they carry their tails high over their backs. Anatolian Shepherds are hardy dogs that were bred to handle the harsh conditions of very hot summers and the very cold winters of Turkey. There muscular bodies are well designed for speed and endurance.
This breed is very protective and has natural guarding instincts. They are extremely loving and loyal to their families but are wary of strangers. Anatolian Shepherds are good with children but do need to be watched in case they think of the children as their “flock” that needs to be protected. They are independent and brave but are not aggressive. With correct training their guarding instincts shouldnt give any problems, but these dogs are not for beginners as they can be problematic if they see themselves as the leader of the household. This can lead to them becoming dominant and possessive which can be dangerous with such a large breed. They do need socializing with other dogs from a young age to stop them from being dominant towards other dogs.
Anatolian Shepherds are intelligent and are typically easy to train. They need an experienced owner to take on a firm leadership role to avoid these dogs becoming overly protective or dominant. Training needs to start from puppyhood as it is more difficult once these dogs are full size. Anatolian Shepherds are slow to mature and don’t reach adulthood until about 4 years old.
They need plenty of exercise and should have a large yard to run around in as well as daily walks or runs. Guarding livestock is what they enjoy doing best, so a rural or farm setting is where they are most suited.
The Anatolian Shepherd can have either a short or long coat. The short coat is about 1 inch in length and the longer coat is about 4 inches. They shed heavily twice a year and do need plenty of brushing during these times, otherwise their grooming needs are minimal throughout the rest of the year.