The Anatolian Shepherd breed can be a very loving and protective family dog, which can do well with energetic families that have a large area for them to play. However, due to their large and powerful stature coupled with their independent nature, it is not a breed for first-time owners. Obedience training, exercise and socialization are very important. This is a historically hard working dog, and they still strongly show these traits.
A Working History
The ancestry of the Anatolian Shepherd dates back thousands of years, but the breed made its debut in the United States directly after the end of World War II. There it was involved in a project to measure various breed’s suitability to work on American sheep pastures.
To this day the Anatolian Shepherd is still used as a flock guardian. Helping ranchers needing to control the population of endangered local wolves. Their ability to intimidate potential predators rather than fight them was perfect for the job.
Anatolian Shepherd Size
The Anatolian Shepherd is a giant size breed. They measure in at around 29 inches if male or around 27 inches if female. The breed is also very heavyset due to their size and muscularity.
Males usually weigh in at 110-150lb. Females hit numbers between 80-120lb.
The breed classically has a mastiff-like face, with a dark strong muzzle and medium-sized intelligent dark brown eyes. They sport medium-sized ears set high up in the skull that droop to the sides of the face. And have a long tail that is curled when relaxed and held high when alert.
Their coat is usually short, cream and rather low maintenance. They still need brushing, but no more than once a week to stay on top of shed hairs.
Natural Temperament Traits
Bred to be a very effective guardian of flocks, the Anatolian Shepherd is a very territorial and protective breed. It is in their nature to be wary and reserved with strangers.
This leads many to worry that they could prove to be aggressive with strangers or other dogs. However, as long as the dog is socialized from a young age this should not be an issue.
With close members of the family, the Anatolian Shepherd can be known as a gentle giant. If they have been trained correctly, they will show kindness and loyalty to those it holds dear. But they have been known to treat family as members of a flock that needs protection.
Socialization is essential if you want to keep one as a pet. Make sure you have lots of visitors in puppyhood.
Health Issues of the Anatolian Shepherd
Both Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia are known to occur within the breed. These are developmental disorders where the joints do not form correctly as the puppy grows, leading to painful arthritis at even a young age. Bloat, ear infections and eye problems are other common issues.
You can avoid several of these ailments through buying a puppy from health tested parents. Ask to see evidence of good hip and elbow scores, as well as clear eye tests.
Training and Exercise
The Anatolian Shepherd is an energetic breed. A fair amount of exercise will be necessary to keep them happy and stop undesirable traits from forming.
They thrive with a huge backyard, and several walks or active training sessions a day. Although they are independent they still respond well to positive training methods when properly rewarded.
As they are large dogs, a spacious home is important. Lots of room both indoors and out.
The Anatolian Shepherd is incredibly loyal to their family, and will likely treat them as members of the flock they like to protect. Provided they have been trained well, this can mean they are very gentle for their size with family members.
Despite this, it is not recommended to house this dog in a family with very young children. As the Anatolian Shepherd is a huge, muscular dog it can be very easy for them to accidentally knock over a toddler or scare a child.
Anatolian Shepherds will also usually treat other animals within the home as part of the flock. However, if they are particularly small animals it can be easy for accidental injury to occur.
Anatolian Shepherd Puppies
Look for breeders with a lot of positive feedback from happy customers. If they are trusted by well-known societies or organizations, this can be a big plus.
It’s very important to inquire about the health of both the puppy itself and the parents. A good breeder will be forthcoming with this information.
It’s important to also physically check the health of both the puppy and its parents for yourself.
Make sure you meet both parents. They won’t be warm to you, but should seem unconcerned by your presence. There should however be an obvious bond between them and their owner.