Anatolian Shepherd

Breed Rating

family friendly:
Dog friendly:
Watch/guard dog:
Affection / Dependance:
Exercise needed:
Space needed:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:

Breed Attributes


Breed group: Working    Type: Pure Breed    Talent: , ,


Size: Large     Weight: 80-150 lbs     Fur length: Short    Ears: Flappy    Fur type: Straight    Fur Color: Brown & White, Light Brown / Golden, White / Cream


Life Expectancy: About 12 – 15 years    Rarity: Common    Availability: Hard to find    Climate: Good for every climate.

Breed Details


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a breed developed from Turkish 'guard' dogs called chomar kopegi in Turkish. While no one in Turkey breeds this group of dogs as a pure breed, Westerners fell in love with the various large, aloof dogs found throughout Turkey, from the Erzerum-Kars region near the Caucasus Mountains near Russia, where the dogs are most probably related to the ovcharka type dogs to the white 'Akbash' dogs found west of Ankara and near the historic site of Gordion, where the real King Midas lived, and on into the Kurdish areas where the 'Gammal' dog is found, and more recently as more publicity appeared outside of Turkey, the Sivas-Kangal Dog which is often called the 'National dog of Turkey' and is from the Sivas region of Turkey.

The first 'Anatolian' dogs were brought into the U.S. as 'souvenir' dogs. Lt. Ballard, then a young Navy lieutenant, imported the first pair of dogs to the U.S. in the 1970s when he returned home from a tour of duty in Turkey. His male was a long coated pinto and the female a cream with a darker mask. Subsequently, other young military families brought back dogs and a club was formed which included all these Turkish born dogs of various backgrounds and giving them the official name, Anatolian Shepherds. The first interview with the then Lt. Ballard and photos of his dogs and first puppies are found in the book "The Uncommon Dog Breeds by Kathryn Braund" and makes good reading for those interested in Anatolian roots.

In time, the name Anatolian Shepherd became adopted by owners of similar kinds of imports they had taken from Turkey to their home countries such as the U.K. and Germany. In time, as these first dogs were bred and their numbers increased and additional importations were made of other Turkish dogs, breed clubs in the U.S. and Europe recognized the Anatolian Shepherd. Today there is international interest in this dog whose roots trace into the ancient history of what was once Asia Minor.

Today the breed is known for its protective instincts and some lines are used as livestock guarding dogs as well as family guardians. For information on other native Turkish dog breeds see Catalburun (a scent hound), Turkish Tazi (a saluki-like native sighthound), the Akbash Dog, the Kangal or Sivas-Kangal Dog, and the Kars Dog. Of these last three, only the Kangal Dog has the honor of having actually been bred and kept pure by the Turkish government in several different facilities to provide livestock protection for local shepherds.


Most common are solid cream, pure white to fawn with black mask.


The Anatolian Shepherd coat is short to rough with approximately one to four inches in length.


Possessive and protective fully devoted to their family, but suspicious of strangers who should be formally introduced, the Anatolian Shepherd is calm, reliable, and intelligent. Independent, proud and self-assured the Anatolian Shepherd was developed to make appropriate judgments concerning their charges and needs stimulation to prevent listlessness.


This breed may be subject to hip dysplasia (but is not as common as some other large breeds), eyelid entropies, hypothyroidism, they are also sensitive to anesthesia and highly susceptible to fleas, ticks, and fly bites. The Anatolian Shepherd requires usually little grooming, except during the twice a year shedding season where the coat needs daily thorough brushing-out. They do not eat much for their size, a low-protein, lamb and rice diet will do best.


It is very important to begin training and socializing them while they are still young. Although quick to learn and easy to train it can be stubborn and dominant, so is not a dog for beginners. The Anatolian Shepherd requires a natural leader who will train him with patience, consistency and loving approach. Due to they're great versatility the Anatolian Shepherd dog breed has been known for centuries to perform well as a guard, combat and a search and rescue dog.


The Anatolian Shepherds is not a house pet, so is not recommended for city dwelling life. This large, rugged, and powerful dog needs a lot of exercise and a home with a large securely fenced yard, but this dog does better in a rural farm setting.

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