- Activity Level: moderate
- Grooming Level: moderate
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Large
- Average Lifespan: 11-13 years
- Prey Drive: moderate
- Watchdog: aware
- Registered?: aca, akc
Anatolian Shepherd Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Anatolian Shepherd originated in Asia Minor, also known as Anatolia. This region refers specifically to the peninsula containing the Asian portion of modern-day Turkey. Their ancestors date back over 6,000 years to the Bronze Age of early civilization.
This makes today’s Anatolian Shepherd a descendent of some of the oldest known canine bloodlines, at least of the domesticated lines. Anatolian Shepherds were developed to protect and guard flocks of sheep and goats in harsh weather conditions year-round.
They came to the United States just before World War II as part of a project run by the Department of Agriculture to determine the best sheepdogs. The war slowed things down regarding the project, but the Anatolian Shepherd started to make way with U.S. ranchers in 1950s postwar America.
By the 1970s, the breed took hold in the United States and started soaring in popularity as a valuable livestock protector. The AKC recognized the Anatolian Shepherd as a member of the Working Group in 1996. Anatolian Shepherds can still be found working as ranch dogs today and guarding flocks and herds of all types of animals. They have even been known to protect ostriches!
Anatolian Shepherds are natural protectors and guardians. They are extremely independent dogs as they were bred to make their own decisions and act accordingly while protecting a flock. They can be strong-willed and are naturally suspicious of strangers due to their guardian background, so socialization is important.
Although they take their work seriously, they are loving and loyal to their families. They tend to be calm and patient, even around children, and tend to be affectionate and friendly towards members of their family. As protectors, they tend to do well with children and other animals who are part of the family. Overall, they are hardworking dogs that are smart, responsive, and devoted to their family.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a moderately adaptable dog breed. Their size, need for a job, and moderate activity requirements tend to make them a better fit for homes with securely fenced-in yards.
Their dense double coat makes them a great fit for moderate or cooler climates. They can be sensitive to heat, so you’ll want to keep an eye on them during the summer and know the symptoms of heat stroke in dogs.
Because the Anatolian Shepherd is territorial and has an urge to wander and chase, they should only be let off-leash in securely fenced areas. Like Siberian Huskies, they can also be talented escape artists, so it’s important the fence is tall and strong and the gate is securely locked.
Overall, Anatolian Shepherds are healthy dogs. As with any dog breed, there are some health conditions to be aware of, such as entropion and sensitivity to anesthesia. Hip and elbow dysplasia is not common in the breed as most breeders screen their stock. So, don’t be afraid to ask the breeder about the history of the parents and to see any relevant health clearances.
Although Anatolian Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs, they are also independently-minded. They were bred to work independently and make their own decisions, so they can be difficult to train when it comes to basic commands as they might choose to simply not respond.
Because of this, they tend to be a better fit for more experienced dog owners. Early and ongoing socialization and training are essential for this dog breed as they are so independent and obedience training is a must.
The Anatolian Shepherd has a double coat. The undercoat is dense and thick to insulate them and protect them from the elements. Although some Anatolian Shepherds may have a longer outer coat, most of them have a short outer coat. This dog breed will shed moderately year-round and will shed heavily twice a year as they lose their undercoat.
Weekly brushing and a bath as needed are sufficient to keep this dog’s coat healthy. You will likely want to increase to daily brushing during their heavier shedding sessions as this will help keep your dog much more comfortable as they shed their undercoat. Plus, it’ll help keep loose fur contained to your brush instead of all over your house!
In addition to coat care, you will also need to care for your Anatolian Shepherd’s nails, ears, and teeth. It’s important to trim your dog’s nails regularly in order to keep them from growing too long and causing discomfort or pain. Monthly nail trimming is usually sufficient to keep your dog’s nails a good length, but they may need to be trimmed more often if they are not wearing down as much naturally.
Your dog’s ears can trap dirt, moisture, and debris, which can lead to ear infections. This is particularly true for dogs with floppy ears. By checking their ears weekly and carefully cleaning them as needed, you can help prevent ear infections or, at least, catch them early and get to the vet before an issue becomes serious.
It’s also essential to implement good dental care for dogs like brushing your dog’s teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day. Dental diseases like gum disease and tooth decay are one of the most prevalent health issues in dogs, but they are also preventable with good dental care. By properly caring for your dog’s teeth, you can help prevent these painful dental diseases and help your dog live a longer, healthier, and happier life.
Although the Anatolian Shepherd is a working dog, they only require a moderate amount of exercise to be happy and healthy. Some time to run or extra activity in addition to their daily walks will be plenty of activity for this dog breed. Just make sure they are only let off-leash to run in a secure area as they will wander off and may choose not to listen when you try to call them back to you.
A fully-grown Anatolian Shepherd usually stands 27-29 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 80-150 pounds. Females tend to stand around 27 inches tall and weigh 80-120 pounds. Males tend to be a little larger as they tend to stand around 29 inches tall and weigh 110-150 pounds.
An Anatolian Shepherd generally lives 11-13 years.
In addition to being a reliable working dog, the Anatolian Shepherd has also made a few Hollywood appearances as well. This dog breed has made notable appearances in the following movies: “Friends With Benefits”, Kate and Leopold”, “Cats and Dogs”, and more.