The Anatolian Shepherd is large and powerful and is commonly used as a guardian dog. It has very similar traits as the Kuvasz and Great Pyrenees, but is more agile and tends to have a slender body type. The muscles on this dog are thin but supple, giving it freedom of movement and efficient hunting and racing skills. The Anatolian Shepherd is consequently capable of great speed and endurance, and can be trained to become a racing or hunting dog as well.
The blunt profile of this dog is often black, and the rectangular muzzle is considerably shorter than the skull. The skull is wide and round, and may have a slight stop. The lips are usually black-edged and will hang down slightly below the upper lip. Triangular ears are black with small rounded tips. The deep-set eyes of the Anatolian Shepherd are generally gold or brown in color and are quite small, wide set and almond shaped. They have an intelligent expression.
A notable characteristic of the Anatolian Shepherd is its thick, muscular neck. The Anatolian Shepherd's body is lean, powerful, muscular, and often has an arch in the back. The front legs are generally set straight and well apart. When the dog is alert, the tail is usually curled over the back and can hang with a slightly upward curl for the hocks. The Anatolian Shepherd's coat Is generally short or rough, and will be black or fawn in color. Other common colors include pinto, brindle, and white. The two basic coat types are medium or medium-long lengths, and the coat is usually longer around the collar and tail.
Historically, these dogs have lived outdoors their entire lives. The dog may be suited to stay outside for the majority of the time, but can also be bought indoors in open spaces. It is a good idea to keep valuables and fragile items out of the way when these dogs are in the area since the dogs are fairly large
Anatolian Shepherd Dog Temperament
The Anatolian Shepherd is very loyal and is commonly used as a guardian dog. Highly intelligent and easy to train, these dogs are very quick at picking up new skills and are generally not a suitable fit for beginners. These dogs need an owner who is a natural leader and can control and guide the dog to appropriate behaviors as needed. These dogs are naturally calm, brave, watchful, independent, and self-assured; they are not aggressive, but can be suspicious of strangers. They are often very affectionate with their own family, but strangers will need to be introduced to them formally in order to be accepted.
Since the Anatolian Shepherd is naturally guarded, they can also become very possessive. In a home or property setting, this allows them to keep careful watch on the grounds and will ensure that the family or property owner knows when a stranger is in the area. The dogs are fairly friendly with people in general, unless they have suspicion to be otherwise. The dog is demanding of itself, and can sometimes be dominant or stubborn.
When training, it is important to begin as early as possible and use motivational training methods on a consistent basis. A loving approach fares well with these dogs and they are more likely to correct their behaviors in a safe, secure, and loving environment. A fully grown dog can become too strong to be corrected and may not listen to the owner's requests. These dogs are very sensitive to reprimands but they are always eager to receive affection. They are patient and protective of their owners, children, and loyal to their families. They are natural protectors and do not require extra protection training. They can get along with many types of animals but tend to take a dominant role with other dogs.
Obedience training at a young age is very important for these dogs, since they will generally follow the patterns of behavior they learn in the earliest years. They can become a pleasant and docile companion with simple steps and strategies in the young ears. They are naturally reserved with strangers, but can learn to warm up to new people fairly easily. They do have an obstinate personality at times, so it is important for owners to learn how to overcome challenges throughout their growth. Exposure to small animals at a young age will help these dogs overcome their natural chasing instinct.
Socialization is important to these dogs and they tend to mature slowly. They reach full adulthood at just four years old, and many are trained to become flock guards. This often means that they live their entire lives with a flock, and may become under-socialized as a result. These dogs are best suited to guard, not herd, livestock. They can often be found patrolling a particular area and making sure they have careful watch over their territory.
This breed requires little grooming. The coat needs thorough brushing-out during the twice a year shedding season. You can get away with little attention the rest of the year. The Anatolian Shepherd is a seasonal, heavy shedder.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a native to Asia Minor, and is a natural sheep herder and protector of animals. It is commonly found to be a shepherd's companion, and has historically lived outside year round. Native to the Anatolian Plateau, the dog fares well in every season whether it is from exceptionally hot summers to very dry and bitter cold winters. The ancestors of this dog were often used as combat dogs or for hunting. They became particularly valuable for many battles with wolves, and some were raised to be fight dogs. These dogs do not tend to fatigue easily, and can maintain their strength, form, and mental alertness even during bad weather. They are closely related to the Kangal Dog, and have often been coined a Turkish shepherd.
Many are from the Sivas-Kangal region, and the isolated conditions there have often resulted in a distinct breed. The truly Turkish Kangal Dogs continue to be working shepherds but exports of these dos has not become forbidden. The Kangal Dog Club of America works with various traders to ease import restrictions as these are considered to be a very important contribution to the genetic pool in the United States and other parts of the western world.
Anatolian Shepherd dogs have natural instincts to learn how to guard and protect their territory, and rarely need formal obedience training to learn these skills. These dogs are adaptive and learn very quickly, and they will take direction from you with minimal reprimanding. They need to have plenty of space to move around, and giving them access to a kennel will help them to distinguish their boundaries.
Puppies can follow you around as you do chores and take part in activities as they can bond well during this time. The dog will need to be reprimanded on occasion but will quickly learn from its mistakes. Frustrations may arise due to this dog's natural independence and ability to move quickly. The dogs are observant, intelligent, but can also become manipulative if they are distrustful of their owners. Since they are large in stature, it can become difficult to chase them down. However, once they learn their boundaries and rules, they become very strong and protective owners.
Prone to hypothyroidism or to eyelid entropion. Hip dysplasia does occur, but is not as common as some other large breeds. They are sensitive to anesthesia. The Anatolian Shepherd's immunity often takes longer to develop than with many other breeds and therefore you should talk to your vet about giving young Anatolians extra vaccinations against parvo-virus.