Anatolian Shepherd Dog

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a serious workhorse. This ancient breed is no frills and all kinds of practical. While they can make great companions, they’ll always have their jobs on their mind. Sleek, yet massive, these are true protectors. Read on to learn more about the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

Description of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog

These dogs are muscular, yet agile. There’s no mistaking them as rulers of the roost.

This breed is as old as the Babylonians, who employed them as goat and sheep herders and protectors. In America, they first appeared before WWII, but did not gain traction until the 1970s. Interestingly, they became popular to deter, but not kill, endangered wolf populations. These protectors are fierce, but generally non-violent.

The Anatolian does not have a scruffy coat, but it is well-suited to keeping them warm during the cold Turkish winters. Their thick undercoat hides under either a long or short top layer. They come in many colors and patterns, including biscuit, white, blue fawn, brindle, and liver.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog generally stands between 27 and 29 inches tall. However, they can weigh between 80 and 150 pounds! Females tend to fall at the lower end of the spectrum.

Unfortunately, these dogs have relatively short life expectancies. Most Anatolians live between 11 and 13 years.

Protective Ability

This breed is born as a protector. Today, many still have a protective instinct and a surprisingly scary bark. They are not strictly guard dogs, but would definitely dissuade all but the most intrepid intruder.

Most Anatolian serve as efficient deterrents rather than violent instigators. They will happily patrol the yard for hours.

Of course, early socialization is important to ensure a well-adjusted adult.


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog still has his drive to work, so he takes training sessions seriously. Most individuals make dedicated pupils. Because they are so smart, it is important to make sure that they do not become bored. They enjoy feeling productive. Training sessions should be short and job oriented.

That being said, the Anatolian can also be strong willed. They were bred to be independent and able to make decisions on their own. Today, this is both a blessing and a curse. Consistent, positive reinforcement is the best bet for these dogs. Make learning fun!

Energy Level

These dogs are more alert than anything else. Big and bulky, they would often rather slowly patrol the yard that sprint full out. The Anatolian takes his job seriously, and does not simply want to laze around.

Still, the Anatolian is quite agile, and blessed with sufficient endurance. He may simply decide not to show those characteristics.

What Living with an Anatolian Shepherd Dog is Like

Living with the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is like living with a workhorse. They love having a job and will find one if you don’t adequately provide.

These dogs tend to be serious and less playful than many dogs. They are loving and fiercely loyal towards their own kids, but may not be the best playmates.

This breed isn’t a good choice for families that cannot absolutely commit to providing these dogs with enough socialization. The Anatolian is powerful, and his care should not be taken lightly.

Care of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog

These hardy dogs can live in a variety of environments and families. However, owning a working dog is a big commitment.

Environmental Needs

The Anatolian is an efficient mountain dog. They were bred for harsh conditions, and can do quite well in even extreme environments. Indeed, summers in Turkey are boiling while winters can be frigid. Always provide adequate water and shade.

Exercise Needs

As a working dog, the Anatolian still requires adequate exercise. However, they are not high energy. It is best to have a large yard where they can stroll about and stretch their legs. A daily walk will help keep their muscle tone and avoid unnecessary health problems.

Shedding and Grooming

These dogs do shed a lot. Regular brushing can help eliminate excess hair and reduce the amount that ends up around the house. This is particularly true during specific shedding seasons when the undercoat falls out.

Otherwise, this is a rugged wash and wear breed.

Ideal Home Environment

This breed is best suited for owners that appreciate their loyalty and regal attitude. These dogs make lovely companions, but are not overly playful and jovial.

Anatolians are large and alert, not high energy. They should not be paired with athletic owners looking for running companions.

It is important to socialize these powerful dogs from a young age. Owners should not underestimate the importance of obedience training, either.

Health Concerns

This breed is generally quite healthy, despite a short lifespan. Eye and ear problems are most common.

Tooth and gum disease can also be an issue. Be sure to discuss dental care regularly with your vet, so that you can come up with a routine for home.

Behavior Problems

This breed can become aggressive if not properly socialized. However, they would rather deter than become physical. Responsible owners that take socialization seriously should have no trouble.

The Anatolian is also a powerful jumper. They need a tall and secure fence to remain safe and contained.