Country of Origin: Turkey
Breed Category: Utility
Average Size: 70-75 cm
Average Weight: 45-65 kg
Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: High
The Anatolian Shepherd is a large breed of dog native to Turkey. This ancient dog is thought to have ancestors that occupied modern day Turkey as many as 6,000 years ago. Its ancestors include the ancient Akbash and Kangal dogs, though other European and Asian breeds may have also contributed to its development.
The strength and size of this breed make it a natural guard dog and for thousands of years it has protected livestock from threats of all kinds, including bears, wolves and large cats. This breed is not a herding dog, but it is a true working dog in the sense that it successfully protects flocks of sheep, cattle, goat and other animals from harm. It also forms a close and loyal bond with farmhands and shepherds, making this breed a remarkable companion.
The substantial size of the Anatolian Shepherd is its signature trait. Males are generally larger than females and can easily exceed the average size of 70-75 cm in height and 45-65 kg in weight. The curly tale is very thick and long, hanging low and often seen wagging when the breed is in a playful mood.
There are no restrictions on the colouring of the Anatolian Shepherd’s coat, though it is most commonly tan and white. It often has black colouring around its nose, eyes and ears. This breed sheds a considerable amount, which is another reason it may be better suited for spending a great deal of time outdoors. Regular brushing will help remove dead hair and reduce the overall shedding, which is heaviest during warm months.
The Anatolian Shepherd’s coat is medium in length, but the fur is thick and tough, so the dog will adjust well to different weather. The fur is particularly thick around its neck, which adds protection in case it engages in a fight while protecting its flocks.
The Anatolian Shepherd has a long history of working autonomously in its role as a guarder of livestock. For this reason, a traditional working dog of this breed can be difficult to train. It requires a natural leader in its owner. Without this, the Anatolian Shepherd will assume the position of leader of its pack, even with humans. This is not a breed for beginners or those with little knowledge of working breeds. The Anatolian Shepherd has the potential to be a wonderful, devoted companion with the right training.
This athletic and focused breed needs a substantial amount of exercise. It has historically had free roam over a property, so ample room to run and play are strongly recommended. The Anatolian Shepherd is not meant for flat life, but it can adjust to a smaller home if its exercise needs are otherwise met. This breed loves to roam and inspect its property, so care should be taken to ensure it does not become lost.
Even if it is not working with livestock, this brave breed is likely to assume the role of a guard dog. It has phenomenal hearing and eyesight and will inherently recognise danger. It will be instinctively protective of its family, with whom it forms a close bond. With thorough socialisation, the Anatolian Shepherd will behave cordially with cats and other household animals.
The Anatolian Shepherd has a long and healthy history. The breed may be prone to genetic problems, including hip dysplasia and vision impairments, but this can be minimised with proper breeding.
The average lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd is 12-14 years, which is considerably longer than most breeds of its massive size.