Anatolian Shepherd

July 31, 2020 // 6 minute read

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Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are large-sized dogs originally used for hunting lions and horses. These are giant dog breeds known to have descended from the oldest canine bloodlines, and they stand at the height of 27 inches. They feature a coat that comes in colors of cream to fawn with a black mask and ears.

With their huge size, they may not be an excellent fit for families with little children as they may cause accidents. But with the right owner, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are fine and loyal companion dogs. They are the best fit for experienced dog owners who are willing to take the challenge and responsibility.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupWorking
Breed SizeLarge to Giant
Height29 inches (male); 27 inches (female)
Weight110-150 pounds (male); 80-120 pounds (female)
Lifespan11-13 years

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Anatolian Shepherd Dog History

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs originated from Anatolia about 6000 years ago. The place is located in the central part of Turkey, and it is believed that even up to this day, the dogs are considered to be a pride of this place.

According to the story, wandering tribes from Central Asia brought some Mastiff-type dogs to Turkey. These dogs were then crossed with sighthound breeds from the Southern regions resulting in a quick-moving, long-legged, and aloof dog.

The region of Anatolia is described to be a high plateau of plains and rolling. The climate is harsh, and so is the terrain. Because of this, locals are dependent on their flocks of sheep and goats.

The Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, or known as the Coban Kopegi (shepherd dog) before, stayed with the flock all night and day. Their quick movements serve well in reaching a scattered flock from one end to another. And their powerful and robust bodies enable them to tackle any predators.

After World War II, in the 1950s. Anatolian Dogs were imported to the US. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the dog was introduced. It was also around this time when the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America was formed.

It took several years later, and the American Kennel Club finally recognized the dog breed in 1995. Now, these dogs rank 90th as the most popular dog breed in the US.

Many of these dogs still work as guard dogs in ranches until today. Some are also used as service dogs or therapy dogs. But, after a long day of work, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are great family companions.


The American Kennel Club describes the Anatolian Shepherd Dogs as loyal, independent, and reserved dogs. They are not playful dogs that you can ask to play fetch. Instead, they are very serious and are happier if they have work to do.

They are generally calm, quiet, and dignified dogs. Despite their intimidating size, Anatolian dogs don’t attack unless challenged. They can be very protective of their own families, but they can be very affectionate too.

They are aloof to strangers or anyone outside their family. They may not also be great dogs for families with little children. However, they can be patient with other pets who are submissive to him.

Socialization is essential for this dog breed to make them more well-rounded. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs tend to decide on their own who they consider a friend or not. If they are not socialized or accustomed to new people or animals, they can be hard to manage.

Training may come as a challenge if you’re not experienced. It will help if you show him that you’re the leader between the both of you. Consistent and firm leadership is the key to make them obedient.

Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are large dogs that need a high-quality and well-balanced diet. They require a lot of protein and carbohydrates to support their energy needs daily. These dogs can go on a vegetarian diet, but they can also thrive on animal meat for their protein source. Fats can be derived from fish sources like tuna and salmon. But the amount should not go beyond 5% a day. If you give them commercial foods, choose the premium quality ones with high protein content. Check the label and make sure that it doesn’t contain fillers and additives. These have very low nutritional content and may cause harm to your dogs.
  • Grooming: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs have long coats shed seasonally. An excellent weekly brushing should make their coats look healthy. This will also help remove dirt, loose hair, and ensure that no tangles or mats will form. During the shedding season, you might need to brush more often than usual. But baths can occasionally be given or if your dog gets too dirty from his activities. The ears should be cleaned regularly to avoid ear infection. Nails should be kept short always to prevent pain and discomfort to your dogs.
  • Exercise: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs don’t require strenuous exercise. But they do need to be given something to do to be happy and healthy. Yard time or daily long walks should suffice. Just make sure to keep them on a leash or that you have a tall and secured fence to make sure they don’t wander off away. This will also prevent them from chasing anything small that they see.
  • Health: Like many large dog breeds, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are prone to bone or joint diseases. Examples of these are hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. This is why it’s essential to keep these dogs exercised. Other common health conditions common to the breed are demodectic mange, hypothyroidism, and entropion. It’s best if you start researching these diseases, so you know the symptoms. Observe your dog’s behavior daily, and if you notice any changes, then it’s time to take them for a check-up.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs is 11-13 years.

Famous Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

  • Butch: The leader dog from the movie “Cats and Dogs”

Fun Facts about Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

  • Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, as their name implies, came from Anatolia – a region in Turkey.
  • They are ancient dogs whose history can be traced back to 2000 BC.
  • They are used to guard a flock of sheep and goats from large predators.
  • They remained in Turkey for thousands of years and were not exposed to the outside world until the 20th century.
  • They came to the US in the late 1930s for a Secret Government Program – to determine the best sheepdog.
  • They saved Cheetahs from extinction. They did this by guarding sheep who were hunted by cheetahs, and because of this, they were usually hunted down by wolves.


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