Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

Anatolian Shepaes Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is one of the most independent breeds. Classified as a giant breed, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog originated in Turkey, where they were bred as livestock guardians. Owners should not take the Anatolians’ protective nature lightly. The Anatolian Shepherd Dogs react aggressively to unfamiliar dogs and suspiciously toward strangers. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are livestock guardians, meaning they protect and watch over flocks of defenseless animals and keep predators away. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs continue to serve as protectors of livestock in Turkey even today, while they are also fierce protectors of property and people to whom they are loyal. Anatolian Shepherd dogs are known by many names, including Coban Kopegi, Karabash Dog, Karabas, Kangal Dog, Kham Kepiji Dogs, and Scandinavian Nygaard Dogs. The dogs of this breed have inborn skills to survive on their own. Anatolians frequently have to find food by hunting small animals like gophers. Their instinct is to take care of themselves and the flock without needing instruction. They typically see themselves as working alongside humans as equal partners.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

Known for their rugged, imposing appearance, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are flock guardians of ancient lineage. Intelligent, territorial, protective, patient, and fiercely loyal, these muscular canines have earned their reputation as exceptional working guard dogs. These giant flock protectors weigh up to 150 pounds, and their heights at the withers are between 27 and 29 inches. The Kangal Dogs are powerful and muscled but nimble on their feet and capable of surviving the harsh terrain of their homeland, Turkey, and predators. The ancestors of the Anatolians include some of the earliest known domestic-canine bloodlines going back to the Bronze Age of 6,000 years ago. Anatolians are devoted, intelligent, adaptable, and responsive. They will fiercely protect their livestock flock, children, smaller dogs, and even other small family pets like cats. Anatolian Shepherds are loving and calm but also demanding and dominating, hence the need for Anatolian owners to be strong leaders.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Characteristics

Height

Male 29 – 32 inches

Female 28 – 31 inches

Weight 

Male 110 – 145 pounds

Female 88 – 122 pounds

Relationship with family

Loyal, loving, and devoted

Relationship with children 

Older children friendly

Relationship with other dogs

Aggressive with unfamiliar dogs

Shedding Level

High – Seasonal

Drooling Level

Considerable around mealtimes

Coat Type

Double coat, thick 

Coat Color

Biscuit, White, Brindle, Liver, Blue, Fawn, Red. Sometimes a black face mask and black ears

Coat Length

2 types- Short 1 inch long, and some areas rough 4 inches long

Grooming Frequency

Brushing twice per week, more during seasonal shedding

Smelly

Average

Barking frequency

High

Relationship with Strangers

Suspicious and wary 

Playfulness Level

Average

Affectionate

Average but not demonstrative

Adaptability Level

Average

Intelligence Level

High

Trainability Level

Difficult due to independence

Energy and Activity Levels

Moderate 

Exercise needs

30 minutes per day

Mental stimulation requirements

High

Protective of territory and family

High

Guard dog ability

Excellent

Lifespan

10 to 13 Years

What are the Physical Traits of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a solid and muscular dog with a thick, loose coat and a black nose on a large head. The Anatolian’s thick coat has a rough feel and forms a thick collar around the dog’s neck.  

Physical Trait

Description

Size

Giant 

Weight Range

Male between 110 and 145 pounds

Females Between 88 and 122 pounds

Height at the withers

Males between 29 and 32 inches

Females between 28 and 31 inches

Body

Powerful body with a thick, muscular neck. Deep chest. Belly well tucked up. Chest well-down. Ribs well sprung.

Head

Strong and broad. Slightly domed skull. Slight stop.

Muzzle

Black lips with a muzzle slightly shorter than the skull. Black lips

Ears

Medium size, drop, triangular with rounded tips

Eyes

Small. Golden to brown color depending on coat color

Legs

Long, lean

Tail

Long, carried low, and slightly curled

Exercise Need

30 minutes  

Coat

Double coat – thick undercoat in the winter. CoarseTop

Hair

Outer coat 2 types, short 1 inch and rough, 4 inches long in

Fringes on the back of the legs and around the neck

Coat colors

The coat may be any color. Most common are white cream, “sesame,” and white with large colored spots that do not cover more than 30% of the body.

Litter size and frequency

Average 5 to 10 puppies once per year

Life Expectancy

12 to 14 years

The Anatolian Shepherd is known as one of the fastest dog breeds, and they have been measured at 31 mph. These dogs are also happy to go for long walks or join a family member on daily jogs.

What are the Social Behaviors and Nature of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

While most people think of Anatolians as outdoor dogs, mainly interested in protecting their flock, nothing could be further from the truth. Anatolians have adjusted to being companion dogs, and they love their people. However, special consideration is necessary to ensure ample space inside and outside the house. Access to a securely fenced yard will do, but owners should not lose sight of the Karabas Dog’s intelligence and height when designing the fence for the backyard. Anatolians are good-natured, low-maintenance hounds, and their social traits are listed below.

Anatolian Social Traits

Breed Information

Relationship with family

Along with guarding their flocks, Anatolians have always been protectors of their owners and guardians of their property. But, whereas most dog breeds understand their roles as companions to their humans, the Karabas Dog will see its owner in a very different light. Unlike other guard dogs who see their families as their pack members, Anatolian Shepherd dogs see their owners and families as their flocks to be protected at all times.

Relationship with strangers

Anatolians are wary and suspicious of strangers. They typically take their cues from their owners, ready to go into protective mode if necessary. Once they are satisfied there’s no threat, they might warm up to strangers.

Relationship with other dogs

Despite the Turkish Anatolian Shepherd Dog’s innate pack tendencies, it sees unfamiliar dogs as predators threatening their flocks. However, they might accept the presence of other family dogs, as long as they don’t challenge Anatolian’s status as Alpha Dog. However, proper socialization or growing up together might bring a cease-fire between the family’s dogs.

Relationship with older people

The sheer size of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs makes them unsuitable for older people, especially if the older people are frail. Even if the living conditions are spacious, senior people might not be strong enough to maintain control while taking these giant dogs for walks. 

Relationship with children

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs make good companions for older children who can maintain control of this large breed and have learned how to treat pets respectfully. Because the breed is so big and formidable, they are not suited to households with small children. Although they may allow the kids in their family to pull their ears and play rough, parents should be aware that their Anatolian is very protective and might not be as patient with other children. 

Adaptability level

Anatolians are not adaptable to apartments or homes without backyards. They are adaptable to hot and cold weather as they were bred to live in the harsh environments of Turkey. However, the Anatolian Shepherd was bred for adaptability and problem solving without human interference. This can make having the Karabas Dog as a companion dog a challenge. 

When well trained and socialized, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are calm and loving companions who are vigilant protectors of their families. 

What are the Personality Traits of an Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The heritage of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog often involved guarding flocks at night and sleeping during the daytime, making some of them nocturnal. However, even when you think your Karabas Dog is fast asleep, he won’t miss a thing. The slightest thing will alarm and arouse your Anatolian, triggering its protective instincts.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Personality Traits

Breed Information

Trainability Level

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are fiercely intelligent, and they prefer to do things their way, making it really challenging for the trainer. Karabas Dogs typically master basic commands without problems. Still, it takes a firm, consistent person for the more complicated rules because this is where the Anatolian will challenge the trainer for Alpha status. 

If the trainer cannot achieve that status in the eyes of the Anatolian, the dog will make life a constant challenge in the home. Hence the need to start the training from the first day the puppy arrives home.

Barking Level

The nature of the Anatolian Shepherd’s work as a flock protector involves a lot of barking. They suspect animals and people that are unknown to them. If they sense something suspicious, they will bark. They bark to warn their flock of imminent danger in the field and chase away the predator.

At home, they bark to warn their owners of potential threats. Their barks are loud and sound like roars, typically scaring away threats. Although they will proceed to violence if necessary, their massive size and roaring bark are usually enough to avoid aggressive actions.

Energy Level

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog breed needs regular exercise. The ideal is for them to run free in large fenced-in yards, or better still, on a farm out in the country. 

However, taking long walks with their humans will provide exercise and, at the same time, strengthen the bond between them. They are happiest if they have a flock to protect, livestock or their human families.

Mental Stimulation Needs

Exercise and movement are vital to ensure an Anatolian Shepherd Dog remains flexible and mobile, maintains a healthy weight and has a low risk of developing medical problems throughout his life. However, mental and neurological stimulation is essential for optimal functioning for intelligent dogs like Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.

Mental stimulation is anything that enriches, activates, and stimulates the Anatolian Shepherd’s mind. Mental stimulation could include using toys, puzzles, and other interactive toys, and games like scenting games involving hiding treats to be sniffed out. However, children should avoid playing challenging games like tug-of-war and chase with a dog as large as an Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

Temperament

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are independent, take-charge canines who require owners as more strong-willed than they are. Anatolian Shepherds will quickly establish themselves as Alpha canines and become challenging to manage if given the opportunity.

Adaptability

Anatolians are adaptable to hot and cold weather as they were bred to live in the harsh environments of Turkey. However, they are not adaptable to apartments or homes without backyards.

The Anatolian Shepherd was bred for adaptability and problem solving without human interference, and this can make having the Karabas Dog as a companion dog a challenge.

Playfulness

Although the Anatolian Shepherd dog is not the most playful canine, they love playing with the children in their household if they were raised together. Otherwise, they will need proper socialization before children are safe. However, children must be supervised when playing with this huge dog, even with the most playful Karabas Dog.

Protectiveness

Protectiveness must be the most well-known personality trait of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Whether they are with their flock of sheep or humans, protecting them will always be the Anatolian Shepherd’s top priority.

Danger Level

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are loving and gentle to the animals and people in their circle, yet, anything or anyone they deem threatening might fall victim to this massive dog’s aggression. If provoked, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog may become a very dangerous dog.  

Attack Possibility

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is not prone to attack because it uses its massive, muscular body and roaring bark to warn anyone posing a threat. In most cases, that is enough to prevent unfortunate attacks.

However, the Anatolian might attack to protect its flock or family from harm or be subjected to maltreatment and pain. One situation that makes a good case for an Anatolian Shepherd to attack is chaining it to a pole in the backyard.

Level of Aggression

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are typically steady and bold, free of aggression. As they mature, they become increasingly assertive and make their own decisions about whether and when aggression is warranted.

Level of Compassion

The lead author of a study at Johns Hopkins University in the US published an article in Springer’s Journal of Learning & Behavior describing how canines like the Anatolian Shepherd and other calm and steady dogs show empathy if their owner is in distress. 

The study also showed that dogs who remain calm in stressful situations show empathy and compassion and take immediate steps to ease the distress of their owners.

What is the General Information about Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

Anatolian Shepherds are first and foremost guardians. They are hard-working dogs whose function is to guard their flock; that flock may be anything from a person or family to livestock such as horses, ostriches, llamas, goats, sheep, or even chickens. The Anatolian is a loyal guard and can be fiercely possessive and protective of his family, territory, and stock. 

The Anatolian is a slow-maturing breed, and the newly acquired puppy is not an instant livestock defender. Puppies need to learn the rules and develop enough confidence and size to protect themselves before being reliable guardians. The Anatolian seems to adore kids and think of them as their own. Of course, children need to learn how to behave respectfully when around any animal and should be supervised when they are in the company of any dog

The Anatolian tends not to encourage play with unfamiliar dogs, even other Anatolians, although well-socialized Karaba’s Dogs may be more outgoing. They can be superb house dogs, but they are enormous and shed profusely. Furthermore, they may be like bulls in China shops and knock things down with their large tails.

What is the Average Lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The average lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is Based on a study by the Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, an online questionnaire was utilized to examine the link between the age and health of the dog, and owner and dog demographics in a cross-sectional Hungarian sample. Analysis of the responses indicated that:

  • Pure breed dogs suffer from health problems at a younger age and may die at an earlier age than mixed breeds. 
  • The oldest dog group (>12 years) consisted of fewer pure breeds than mixed breeds.
  • On average, the mixed breeds sample was older than the pure breed sample.
  • Pure breed old dogs were classified more frequently as unhealthy.
  • Pure breed old dogs less often had a “normal” body condition score.
  • Pure breed old dogs more often receive medication and supplements. 
  • Pure breed old dogs were more often male, neutered, suffered health problems (such as sensory, joint, and or tooth problems)
  • Pure breed old dogs received less activity/interaction/training with the owner and were more likely to have experienced one or more traumatic events.

Below is a list of average lifespans of 10 Shephard-type dog breeds as per the World Life Expectancy website.

Breed

Average Lifespan

1. Akbash Dog

10 – 13 years

2. German Shepherd Dog

10 – 13 years

3. Belgian Shepherd Dog

10 – 13 years

4. Rough Collie

12 – 14 years

5. Great Pyrenees Dog

12 – 14 years

6. Belgian Malinois Dog 

12 – 14 years

7. Anatolian Shepherd Dog 

10 – 15 years

8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi 

12 – 15 years

9. Shetland Sheepdog 

12 – 15 years

10. Australian Shepherd 

12 – 15 years

How to Feed an Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

Surprisingly, Anatolians do not eat a lot, they tend to be easy to care for, and adult Anatolians will eat from 40 to 60 pounds of premium quality dog kibble per month. It would be best to feed an adult once or twice a day and measured servings are better than free feeding. The all-you-can-eat method can lead to an overweight Anatolian Shepherd.

Generally, this breed requires about four to six cups of good quality dry dog food each day over two feedings. It is not set in stone because your Anatolian’s life stage, overall health, activity level, and more play a role in the number of cups of kibble your Karabas Dog should eat per day. Talk to your veterinarian about the optimal diet and quantity of food for your Anatolian Shepherd. Below are suggestions of high-quality food for Anatolian Shepherd puppies, adults, and seniors.

  • Food for Anatolian Puppies
    • Canned Food Option: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Wet Dog Food, ideal for your growing pup, this irresistibly tasty wet food is made using only the finest natural grain and gluten-free ingredients. It starts with high-quality protein from tender pieces of beef, packed with fruits and veggies, then enhanced with vitamins and minerals. This high-protein puppy food is formulated with DHA to support brain, eye, and cognitive development. This high-protein puppy food is made with wholesome ingredients that do not contain grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
    • Dry Kibble Option: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a protein-rich kibble that helps support healthy muscle and bone growth. It starts with delicious chicken as the first ingredient to help fuel your Anatolian puppy, plus it contains DHA to support cognitive development. But the goodness doesn’t stop there because this recipe also includes vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, along with antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits.
  • Food for Adult Anatolians
    • Freeze-Dried Topper Option: Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters Bare Freeze-Dried Turkey. This raw, grain-free dog food mixer or topper is formulated using only premium, all-natural ingredients. It features tasty freeze-dried raw turkey that’s rich in nutrients and flavor. This raw dog food is ideal for a food topper or mixed into an Anatolian Shepherd’s food. It is crafted without any wheat gluten, corn, soy, meat by-products or artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
    • Freeze-Dried Kibble Option: The power of raw food with Wellness CORE RawRev Original Turkey & Chicken with Freeze-Dried Turkey. This grain-free, raw dry food for dogs is thoughtfully prepared with pure protein and natural enzymes to promote whole-body health. It is crafted using advanced natural nutrition to help support lean body mass, muscle tone, and a healthy coat and skin.
  • Food for Anatolian Seniors 
    • Canned Food Option: Nature’s Recipe Easy-To-Digest Lamb, Rice & Barley Recipe Homestyle Ground is made to give your adult dog a complete and balanced diet or use it as a topper. Fiber from rice and barley supports gastrointestinal health while meeting your dog’s unique nutritional needs.
    • Dried Kibble Option: Nature’s Recipe Mature Dry Dog Food Lamb & Rice Recipe. As your adult dog ages and settles into senior life, his nutritional needs will change. Recipes for aged Anatolian Shepherds are loaded with calcium for bone support, quality protein and fatty acids for brain function, and fiber for optimal digestion.

What are the Nutritional Needs of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The nutritional needs of an Anatolian include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for Anatolians are listed below:

  • Protein: Anatolians need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids they contain that are essential for Anatolian health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein also provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Anatolian’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adult and senior Anatolians need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Anatolian sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids that promotes proper eye and brain development in Anatolian puppies. DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of Anatolians.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine, a micronutrient that aids heart health and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for an Anatolian’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Anatolians.

How Much Should an Anatolian Shepherd Puppy Eat?

An Anatolian should be fed premium puppy food for the first year as a puppy. Some breeders will use puppy food for the first 18 months and then switch to good adult food. It is best to keep the dog reasonably lean to prevent overstressing of developing joints and bones. The way a puppy is fed plays a crucial role in the Anatolian Sheperd’s overall health throughout its life. Some considerations are listed below.

  • A puppy may gain 80 to 100 pounds between 8 weeks and one year of age and should feed accordingly. 
  • A young pup needs to be fed small amounts of food at least two to three times a day.
  • Anatolians should be fed according to a schedule because getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • Anatolians with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar are the exceptions because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • No growth supplements should be fed to puppies, as this can cause nutritional imbalances and skeletal or joint problems.
  • Some breeders feel that dog parents should put giant breed puppies on adult food as soon as possible. More recent studies show that a good premium puppy food will have the necessary nutrients needed for a puppy. 
  • Adult kibble can cause vitamin and mineral imbalances when fed to rapidly growing puppies.
  • Anatolian puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. 
  • Raise Puppies on a diet designed for large-breed puppies.
  • Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

Anatolian puppies should eat a healthy, balanced diet because of the intense exercise they need every day. Anatolians tend to become overweight as they get older, so it’s essential to monitor how much food they consume from when they are puppies. 

What are the Common Health Problems of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

Anatolians are a healthy breed, but 6-monthly veterinarian checkups remain essential. 

The amount of time Anatolians spend outdoors increases their risk of heartworm, and preventative care is crucial. Anatolians are predisposed to several health problems, some of which are listed below.

  • Anatolians can be sensitive to anesthesia, which may be of concern if some veterinary procedures are performed.
  • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Anatolian puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Foxhound grows and becomes heavier. Although it could start in puppyhood, it usually only becomes evident in adult dogs, making annual medical examinations crucial.
  • Entropion is a hereditary condition in Anatolian Shepherds where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea (surface of the eyeball).
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion – often known as ‘bloat.’ This life-threatening disorder happens when an Anatolian’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention.

Anatolian owners are recommended to have the following three health tests done:

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. PRA Optigen DNA Test
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation

The Anatolian Shepherd’s immunity often takes longer to develop than many other breeds. Therefore you should talk to your vet about giving young Anatolians extra vaccinations against Parvo-virus.

What are the Exercise Needs of an Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

Although the Anatolian Shepherd Dog appears laid back, they often have to move into action in the blink of an eye. Therefore, they need exercise to be ready for any action required. Like any large or giant breed dog, exercise is crucial to maintain agility. Guarding their animal or human flock does not need Anatolians to run around all day. Their primary duty is to sit or lie where they can see their flocks and any potential predators. So even if they seem lazy, they still need exercise. Running and playing in a large, securely fenced backyard contributes to their overall exercise requirements. 

In addition to yard play, active, healthy Anatolians should walk for about 30 minutes or one hour, and it is OK for senior dogs to take a long rest on the couch after the walk. However, younger adult Anatolians can run five to six miles on a leash with jogging companions. However, an Anatolian can be an equally good hiking companion, ready to hike a distance of five to 10 miles. Anatolian Shepherd Dog owners must note that their canine companions will not keep up with so much exercise if they do not eat a nutritious, balanced diet. 

What is the Shedding Level of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

Anatolian Shepherds shed small amounts right through the year. However, they will do what some call “blow out their coats,” the term used for seasonal shedding in volumes twice a year. Depending on the weather, it happens twice a year, usually in the spring or summer and in the fall or early winter. During “blowing the coat,” Anatolians shed large tufts of hair.

Anatolian owners need to brush out those tufts of hair to prevent hot spots and fungal infections between the tufts of undercoat hair and the dog’s skin. Some Karabas owners advise bathing the dog in warm water to loosen the clumps of hair, making it easier to remove. Also, females tend to blow out their coats after a heat cycle.

How to Train an Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

Training an Anatolian Shepherd Dog typically presents a load of challenges. This is because Karabas Dogs are born independent thinkers who like to make their own decisions regardless of whether their owners like it or not. Training Anatolians should start in early puppyhood. The idea is for Anatolian Dog owners to establish themselves at the alpha status as early as possible before the puppy starts challenging authority. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are hardwired not to listen to commands or be very slow responders to orders. They consider each command and decide whether or not they will respond. Anatolian owners will never know whether their canine companions will even pay attention to simple commands like “come,” “sit,” or “down.”

Only consistently, firm owners or trainers can expect some level of success with obedience training. There is no telling how long training will take with Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, and owners can expect it to be a work in progress for as long as the Karabas lives. Fortunately, there is nothing anybody can teach a Karabas Dog about protecting and guarding their animal and human flocks. One thing is for sure, Anatolians should never be taken for walks without a leash and a strong person on the other end of the leash; otherwise, the dog might be the one taking the human for a walk.

Is an Anatolian Shepherd Dog a Good Guard Dog?

Anatolian Shepherds are exceptional watchdogs and guard dogs. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are highly protective of their people, themselves, and territory. Anatolians were bred to be livestock guardian dogs; however, not every dog is well suited to that job. Rescue centers report that more than half of the Anatolians they receive are given up because they did not work out as working dogs. However, they will make perfect companion dogs with innate protection traits. Even if they did not make it as flock guards, their intimidating size and loud bark would put off most intruders, and they’ll become aggressive to protect their families if it comes to that.

A program in Namibia underscores the value of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog’s guarding skills. Mitigating human-wildlife conflict is one of the foremost challenges facing conservation organizations in Africa. In Namibia, 90% of the cheetah population is found outside protected areas, and the risk of conflict with farmers is high. Farmers killed cheetahs to protect their small livestock, causing the cheetah numbers to dwindle. However, over the past 25 years, a Cheetah Conservation Fund program has supplied farmers with Anatolian Shepherds as livestock guarding dogs, keeping livestock and cheetahs alive.

Where to Buy or Adopt Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

Our lives have become very much “online,” and one field that has almost entirely become internet-based is finding puppies. Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware.” Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. 

Many reputable breeders have websites, and those who can tell who’s good and who’s not can find the ideal Anatolian Shepherd puppy companion for their home.

So how can you tell reliable and reputable breeders and rescue clubs or centers from unreliable ones? Red flags include those who have multiple litters available at a time, or litters of various breeds, giving the buyer a choice of any breed. Another red flag is the option to pay online by credit card. Please don’t fall for online “breeders” who offer discount coupons for buyers who take more than one puppy.

Here’s the best way to find a healthy, responsibly bred Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Safe online sources that will put you in touch with reputable breeders or rescue centers are listed below:

  • Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International, Inc. Based in Readville, MA – Worldwide
  • National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network, based in Higley, AZ –  USA
  • AKC Marketplace – American Kennel Club Subsidiary – International
  • Canada Anatolian Shepherd Dog Rescue Group – Canada
  • Adopt-a-Pet.com. We’re all about getting homeless pets into homes. Over 21,000 animal shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their homeless pets to millions of adopters a month on this website.

The cost to buy an Anatolian Shepherd varies greatly. It depends on many factors such as the breeders’ location, reputation, litter size, the lineage of the puppy, breed popularity (supply and demand), training, socialization efforts, breed lines, and much more. You can expect to pay about $700 to $1,500 for a puppy from a breeder, but depending on the criteria mentioned, your purebred, papered Anatolian Shepherd Dog puppy may cost between $1,700 and $5,000.00. The cost to adopt an Anatolian Shepherd is around $300 to cover caring for the dog before adoption.

What is the Anatolian Shepherd Dogs’ History?

Artifacts dating back to 2000 B.C. describe a dog in the Anatolian region that fits the description of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog: large and robust with a heavy head. The “Book of Job,” set in Turkey and dating back to 1800 B.C., describes these large dogs living among the flocks. Even though the Anatolian Shepherd Dog has likely been around for thousands of years, the Turks never exported them until the 20th century because they considered them so valuable. 

It wasn’t until the 1950s that American ranchers started importing Anatolians, but they remained virtually unheard of in the U.S. and worldwide until the 1970s. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs didn’t gain popularity in America until the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973. The ESA posed a problem: How do we control livestock predators that are now protected species and cannot be killed? The solution was to use livestock guardian dogs like the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, which can easily deter predators from attacking flocks simply by being present.

How to Name an Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a massive size dog originating from Turkey. New Anatolian owners are advised to take their time and consider various things when choosing a name for their tiny fluff ball that could grow to be over 30 inches high and weigh almost 150 pounds. Most importantly, the name itself matters to the humans in the dog’s life, but only the unique sound of its name matters to the canine companion.

There might be a specific inspiration like history, a movie, nature, the dog’s origin, its size, or even the night sky to help you choose a name, but please, follow these building blocks. 

Anatolians respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling. You may want to wait a while to study your new pup’s personality before naming him. Look at some of the names for Anatolian Shepherds from inspirations below.

  • Turkey Inspiration:

Honor your Anatolian Shepherd Dog’s homeland, Turkey. Boy name options for Safe Keepers include Mohafiz or Veli (Both mean Guardian) or Beci (Guard).

Options for girls include Ceren (Gazelle), Görkem (Splendor) or Kralice (Queen). 

  • Physical appearance inspiration:

Let your Anatolian’s eventual size inspire you. Go Turkish with boy names like Azma (Powerful) or Batu (Strong), or use English names like Colossus or Harley to honor your male dog’s size.

Girls can be named for their beauty with Diba (Light Brown Silk), Hesna (Beautiful Woman), with Daisy (White Flower), or Barbados (a white sheep breed with black legs) as English options. Long names could confuse, but Eagle Eye seems appropriate, or maybe Hawk Eye. 

  • Movie inspiration: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs also make good actors. Appearances include the 2001 “Cats and Dogs” where “Butch,” the Anatolian Shepherd, stars with “Lou” the Beagle. The 2001 “Kate and Leopold” and 2011 “Friends With Benefits” featured un-named Anatolians who appeared to show their beauty. However, in 2010, Butch was back in the follow-up movie “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.” Why not pay homage to “Butch” by calling your male Anatolian after him?

Practice calling your Anatolian by the various options, using a regular voice for talking and using a song voice for calling, even if you have to add an “o,” “y,” or “ee” to single-syllable names. Your goal should be to “compose” a sound that your Anatolian will recognize from far.

What are the Different Types of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

The Anatolian shepherd is inherently a flock dog, a highly-skilled protector of sheep or other livestock. A sturdy dog bred to endure long periods outdoors, and the Anatolian has a reserved constitution and an eagle eye for wild predators. The Turkish Mountain Dog, the modern-day Turkish Anatolian, is speculated to be the result of cross-breeding as herders arrived with their flock.

Because of their exceptional hearing and vision, Farmers put these large, rugged dogs to work guarding the livestock against predators like cheetahs, wolves, bears, and jackals. However, each group of arriving herders brought their own dogs along, and the cross-breeding in different areas of Turkey provided various Anatolian-type shepherd dogs with minor variances. The list of some of those Anatolian Shepherd variants is listed below.

  • Boz
  • Kars
  • Kangals
  • Karadeniz
  • Akbashes
  • Aksaray Malakli

Not all these breeds were exported to other parts of the world, but the Kangal Shepherd Dog and the Anatolian Shepherd Dogs have become well-known guarding dogs worldwide

Check now How Big Do Anatolian Shepherd Dogs Get?

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

Although Anatolian is quite rare in the U.S., you can find several similar breeds across Europe. Some breed similarities are listed below.

  1. Great Pyrenees: There are few similarities between the Anatolian and the Great Pyrenees, except they are both large dogs. Although both their coats can be white, both breeds can have shades of cream and biscuit tints in their coats. The Pyrenees and the Anatolian dogs both have long-haired coats with moderate shedding and grooming needs. Both breeds work at protecting livestock from predators.
  2. Polish Tatra Anatolian: The Anatolian Sheep Dog and the Polish Tatra Anatolian are large dogs with ancient origins. The Polish Tatra is always white, while the Anatolian’s coat might include shades of cream. Both require moderate grooming, and both breeds are protectors of livestock and property.
  3. Hungarian Kuvasz: You’ll find some similarities when comparing the Anatolian and the Hungarian Kuvasz. Both breeds are large, and although their heights agree, the Turkish dog is heavier. Both breeds have white coats with similar shedding and grooming levels. They have the same litter sizes, and both breeds are independent and able to make their own decisions as they work as guardians of livestock.
  4. Slovak Cuvac: This Slovakian Anatolian and the Anatolian share similar weights and heights. Both breeds have white coats and require moderate maintenance and grooming. Both breeds have no fear of bears and wolves as they protect their flocks from these predators.

Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.