The Anatolian Shepherd is a guardian dog that is similar to the Kuvasz and Great Pyrenees. They have an agile and slender body and are a large dog. They have thin muscles, which while strong, allow them to move freely and easily. They are very fast dogs and also very agile. They are often trained as racing and hunting dogs.
The Anatolian Shepherd is usually black in color, but can be lighter variations of brown with a rectangular muzzle and short, wide, round skull. The lips are black with a slight droop which reveal the scissor bite teeth. They have triangular ears that are 4 to 6 inches in length and usually cropped. They have deep set eyes which are usually gold or brown in color and almond in shape.
The thick muscular neck is one of the distinguishing characteristics of this breed. They have a strong chest and lean body. The tail will curl over the back when it is alert. The Anatolian Shepherd has a short coat that is rough in texture.
The coat of the Anatolian Shepherd is anywhere from fawn to black in color. They can be spotted with white. The length is a medium to medium long and it is generally smooth and quite clean.
The Anatolian Shepherd comes from Asia Minor where it was used as a herd dog. It has always been an outdoors dog that can live well in cold or warm weather situations. The name comes from the region where it is native, the Anatolian Plateau. Some Anatolian Shepherds were used as combat dogs and for hunting. They have always been used as fighting dogs. Some of the Anatolian Shepherds are form the Sivas-Kangal region, but this isolated area produces a distinct group of this breed.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a loyal dog which is why it is often used as a companion dog. It is intelligent and easy to train. They pick up new skills quickly, but need an owner who is not afraid to be authoritive with them. They have a calm nature with a personality that is brave, watchful and self assured. They are rarely aggressive, but may react to strangers. They can be very affectionate with their family and often become quite possessive. They will watch out for their family and property. They usually are smart enough to tell the difference between a good and bad stranger.
The Anatolian Shepherd may at times be dominant and stubborn. They may often need motivation to follow through on a command. Early training is important because they can become quite large and easily over power an owner who is not in control. They are sensitive and do not respond well to harsh handling. Affection and praise works much better for this breed.
They have a natural tendency to chase, so this is something to watch for and correct as early as possible. They are usually good with other dogs, but can become rather bossy and demanding with them.
The Anatolian Shepherd’s biggest health issue is their low immune system. It can take quite some time for them to develop a good, strong immune system. They can also fall victim to common canine problems like hip dyplasia. Other concerns include sensitivity to anesthesia, eyelid entropion and hypothyroidism.
The main part of grooming an Anatolian Shepherd is regular brushing. Other than that grooming is not too demanding. They can shed heavy, but with a good brushing schedule this can be minimized. The coat can be maintained by brushing and rubbing it down with a glove. They should also be checked regularly for ticks since they will send a large amount of time outdoors.
Anatolian Shepherds require plenty of exercise. They need to be able to run unrestricted. Walks are not going to be enough to satisfy their exercise needs, but a daily walk or two is a great way for them to bond with their owner. They need to be kept in a fenced in area, though. They will seem to have a never ending supply of energy, so they will need to be outside as much as possible. If they do not get enough exercise they will become purposefully destructive and restless. A game of fetch is perfect for this breed and is a great way to exercise with them.
Anatolian Shepherds are very good at training. The natural instincts to protect and guard can be well formed with obedience training. They learn very fast and adapt quite well to training methods. They need a lot of space even during training, but should be taught the importance of boundaries. Early training should include bonding periods which can be as simple as letting the dog follow you around. Training can be frustrating since this dog likes to move quickly and has an independent nature. They will earn fast when they make a mistake and rarely need harsh correcting.