The Anatolian Shepherd is a livestock guardian breed from Turkey. He still has strong working instincts, but he can be a family companion or show dog as well. He is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Working Group. He is a giant breed, weighing 80 to 150 pounds.
The Anatolian Shepherd has many good qualities, but he is not the easiest dog to live with. If you want the calm, confident dog that is the Anatolian at his best, be prepared to do your due diligence to find him, and put in plenty of effort training and socializing him once you bring him home.
The Anatolian is quiet, watchful and protective of his family, including other pets. He is suspicious of strangers and can be aggressive toward dogs he doesn’t know. Anatolians bark loudly at anything or anyone that appears to be suspect, and will act to protect their people and property.
Begin training as soon as you bring your Anatolian Shepherd puppy home, while he is still at a manageable size. That 20-pound puppy will quickly grow much larger. A nothing-in-life-is-free program, requiring puppies to “work” for everything they get by performing a command before receiving meals, toys, treats or play, works well with this breed. It’s always a good idea to take an Anatolian Shepherd to puppy kindergarten followed by basic obedience class, especially if you are working with a trainer who understands the Anatolian Shepherd mindset.
Early, frequent socialization is essential to prevent an Anatolian Shepherd from becoming overly suspicious or fearful of anything new or different. Purchase an Anatolian Shepherd puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensures that they are exposed to many different household sights and sounds, as well as people, before they go off to their new homes. Continue socializing your Anatolian Shepherd throughout his life by taking him to puppy kindergarten class, visits to friends and neighbors, and outings to local shops and businesses. This is the only way he can learn to be discriminating, recognizing what is normal and what is truly a threat.
The Anatolian Shepherd needs daily exercise in the form of a long walk or the opportunity to run in a safe, traffic-free area. A dog park is not a good choice, though, since he may be aggressive toward dogs he doesn’t know. He is best suited to a home with a large yard surrounded by a solid fence that is at least five or six feet high. This is a territorial breed, and he must learn his boundaries. Do not rely on an underground electronic fence to keep him contained. The shock it provides is nothing to this tough dog, and he won’t let it deter him from leaving the yard.
Like any dog, Anatolian Shepherd puppies are inveterate chewers and because of their size can do a whole lot of damage. Don’t give them the run of the house until they’ve reached trustworthy maturity. And keep your Anatolian Shepherd puppy busy with training, play and socialization experiences. A bored Anatolian Shepherd is a destructive Anatolian Shepherd.
The Anatolian Shepherd can live outdoors, but he should spend plenty of time with his family. Chaining an Anatolian Shepherd out in the yard and giving him little or no attention is not only cruel, it can also lead to aggression and destructive behavior.
The Anatolian Shepherd has a fawn-colored double coat that sheds. Brush him at least once a week to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Clean the ears and trim the nails as needed, and bathe the Anatolian on the rare occasions that he’s dirty.
Other Quick Facts:
Once you’ve earned an Anatolian’s loyalty, he will guard you and whatever you have on your property with his life.
In Namibia, Anatolians guard livestock from cheetahs, protecting the livestock from predation and the cheetahs from being shot by angry farmers.
The Anatolian’s double coat sheds heavily. Some people have given up the dogs to rescue groups because of it.
All color patterns and markings are acceptable, including white, fawn, brindle, or fawn with a black mask. Often, his coloration or markings echo that of the livestock he is guarding to help him blend in.