Anatolian Shepherd Guide

Working Dog Breeds

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The Anatolian is built tough to do a tough job. It is a large, powerful, rugged dog, having both great agility and endurance. It has good bone and a large head. Its gait is powerful, smooth and fluid. Its coat consists of a thick undercoat and an outer coat that ranges from short (about 1 inch) to rough (about 4 inches), slightly longer around the neck and mane. Its expression is intelligent, and the general impression it gives is one of a bold yet calm protector.

This is a serious dog, devoted to its family and its duty as family protector. At the same time, it is laid back-and easygoing, never on the lookout for trouble. It is suspicious of strangers and is territorial. It is good with children, but it may not be playful enough to satisfy children's desires. As a serious watchdog, it tends to bark a lot when its suspicions are aroused.

AKC RANKING 123

FAMILY livestock dog, mastiff, flock guard

AREA OF ORIGIN Turkey

DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times

ORIGINAL FUNCTION flock guard

TODAY'S FUNCTION flock guard, security

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 29 Weight: 110-150

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 27 Weight: 80-120

OTHER NAME coban kopegi, karabash dog, kara bas, Kangal dog

Energy level Low energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance High tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The Anatolian shepherd needs a chance to exercise every day, either with a long walk or brisk run. It can live outside in temperate to cool climates. Coat care is minimal, consisting only of a weekly brushing to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: entropion
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: hip, (eye)
• Life span: 10 – 13 years
• Note: sensitive to anesthesia
The Anatolian shepherd is an ancient guardian breed with a long working history. Its roots probably lie in the Tibetan mastiff and Roman Mollosian war dogs that came to Turkey more than 4,000 years ago. Here Anatolian shepherds proved invaluable as staunch defenders of livestock against formidable predators, including wolves and bears. They accompanied the nomadic shepherds and became widespread over a large geographical region, accounting for the Anatolian's great variation in size, coat type and color. Several traits that remained constant throughout the breed, however, are loyalty, independence and hardiness. The name shepherd is a misnomer because the breed was never used as a herder. Its Turkish name, koban copek, means "shepherd's dog." The first of the breed did not come to America until the 1950s, where although it proved itself as an effective livestock guard against coyotes and other predators, it remained unknown to most dog fanciers. Only in the late 1970s and 1980s did the Anatolian shepherd begin to be more widely appreciated, still valued for its utilitarian, rather than cosmetic, attributes. Pet owners desiring a loyal and effective guardian began to acquire the breed. In 1996, the Anatolian shepherd was accepted in the AKC miscellaneous class; Anatolian fanciers are adamant about retaining the dog's working instincts above all else. Upon official recognition as a regular breed, the Anatolian shepherd will be in the working group.