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Anatolian Shepherd

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A Dignified Guardian

Agile, devoted, easygoing

Anatolian Shepherds are loyal, athletic, and strong, giant dogs. These watchdogs are calm and gentle with children. Most are wary of strangers and can be overprotective if not properly socialized at an early age. Anatolians make great companions for active individuals, farmers, and families with older children. While these dogs aren’t very playful, they have a lot of energy and must have a way to let it out every day—they’re large dogs with a tendency to wander, so a tall fence and supervision while they’re outside is important. 

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:27-32 in. Weight:80-150 lb Lifespan:10-13 years

Size
5

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
2

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
1

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Anatolian Shepherds are large dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they will get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts.

Grooming: Made for harsh weather, this coat SHEDS! A grooming rake will be a good investment. Rake and/or brush her coat at least weekly.

Dental: Anatolian Shepherds generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Care

    Routine Care: Anatolian Shepherds are large dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they will get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts.

    Grooming: Made for harsh weather, this coat SHEDS! A grooming rake will be a good investment. Rake and/or brush her coat at least weekly.

    Dental: Anatolian Shepherds generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    Anatolian Shepherds have several thousand generations of ancestors that fought bears to protect the flock, and they're determined to protect their family!

    Positive Traits:

    • Large, strong, and athletic

    • Bold, steady, and fearless

    • Formidable guard dog; highly territorial

    • Loyal and easygoing with the people they know

    Negative Traits:

    • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly

    • Coat sheds heavily and needs to be brushed regularly

    • Takes up a lot of room due to their massive size

    • Does not easily make friends with strangers

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Anatolian Shepherd to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Anatolian Shepherd will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Anatolian Shepherd you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues an Anatolian Shepherd could encounter:


  • History

    After guarding flocks of sheep against large predators like bears and jackals on the Central Turkish hillsides for the last 6,000 years, the Anatolian Shepherd has developed into a very large and muscular dog with a commanding presence. Turks often call them the Karabash (Turkish for "black head") Dog, to distinguish them from another famous Turkish livestock guardian, the Akbash, ("white head") Dog. 

    Temperature extremes are not a problem for this hardy working dog, but they do need a large outdoor enclosure to romp and play. Common problems include bloat and arthritis. Early detection is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Anatolian Shepherd shows signs of the following:

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Lameness with or without swelling

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

Select Another Breed

    To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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