Anatolian Shepherd

"Turkish Delight"

Photo of Anatolian Shepherd


For centuries, Turkish shepherds have bred dogs to aid them in guarding their far-flung livestock. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog has the same background and function as other Turkish flock guards; some believe the dogs to be different styles of the same breed. At one time, these dogs were also used in battle and to help hunt big game.


Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are calm in the house and on outings unless the dog believes “his” property or people are in danger. Once the owner makes an introduction, the dog is accepting, but not effusive with those outside the family. Care must be taken when children are present because of the strong protective instincts. A wrestling match between children or a push/shove confrontation could be perceived as a threat, particularly if one of the “opponents” is a visitor. If this occurs, a fence might not be strong enough or high enough to contain this canine bodyguard.


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog litter may have examples of many different colors: fawn, brindle, white, black, or tricolor, all with a dark muzzle. Hair is short, ears are hanging, and the tail is long. When the dog is at attention, the tail is often curled.


Early socialization is required, particularly with those the dog will meet frequently: veterinarian, family members, neighbors. These large dogs are strong-bodied and strong-willed. Training is a must to maintain dominance, yet harsh methods will be met with dig-in-the-nails obstinacy. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs cannot be pushed into anything, but when they have respect for a person, they'll cooperate. The breed is not suited for competitive obedience. He is most content when he has a job, particularly if it includes livestock. Domestic and farm animals are accepted as their “flock” and part of their duties. If another strays onto the property, however, it will be regarded as an intruder. If owners have no hogs, cattle, sheep, or horses to guard, the dog needs to be given chores. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs can compete in weight-pulling competitions, but are willing to haul loads around your property – saving the owner's back and making the dog work for his supper. Having the dog wear a backpack to accompany you to the mailbox or to help you unload shopping bags can fulfill the job description.

Grooming & Care

The basic care is all that's needed: brushing, nail trimming, and cleaning ears and teeth. A seasonal heavy shed occurs. Because the breed rarely exhibits pain, dogs must be checked regularly for physical injuries or illnesses.

Health Concerns

Elbow and hip dysplasia can occur in this large breed, so it's wise to ask about certification of parents. Occasional eye problems and hypothyroidism appear in Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.

Famous Anatolian Shepherd

Butch from "Cats & Dogs"; Bart from "Kate and Leopold."

Ideal Owner
Activity Level Moderate
Schedule Full-time (but no overtime)
Personal Style Easygoing and casual, Confident
Training Style Firm, Patient, Positive
Home Fenced yard or access to one
Children Older kids
Experience Definitely preferred
Quick Facts
Size Giant
Grooming Easy to care for - brush weekly
Exercise Moderate - needs to walk or play every day
Training Fast learner, Needs daily practice
Temperment Alert, Territorial, Intelligent
Challenges Very assertive, needs a confident and consistent owner
Height 27 to 29 inches
Weight 80 to 150 pounds
Life 10 to 15 years
Home Alone Fine as a trained adult
With Kids Protective
With Strangers Wary
Availability Rare and may have a waiting list

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