All about Anatolian Shepherd – Breed Characteristics and Features

The Anatolian Shepherds may seem like big, fussy beasts but in reality, they are among the sweetest and most loyal dogs. While they may appear to be intimidating, they are absolute goofballs around children and everyone else. What is amazing, however, is how reliable and dependent this dog breed is.

If you have planned to get an Anatolian Shepherd puppy, you are in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find everything about Anatolian Shepherd dogs including history, features, temperament, grooming, training, health-related concerns, and much more.

So if you are curious to know more about them, keep reading.

Related: German Shepherd

History and Introduction to Anatolian Shepherd

The Anatolian Shepherd is one of the oldest dog breeds to have walked the planet. You might be surprised to find out that these dogs have been around for over 6000 years.

These giant dogs are believed to have descended from ancient Mesopotamian dogs, as well as, the Akbash and Kangal breeds, and both of these breeds are from Turkey.

The breed gets its name from the region of Anatolia, located in modern-day Turkey. Since these dogs were bred as working dogs, they have historically guarded livestock and are powerful enough to fend off large animals like wolves.

Today, the Anatolian Shepherd is the 90th most popular dog breed in the world and a much-loved animal across the world. It was officially recognized as a pure breed by the American Kennel Club in 1999 and has remained a favorite amongst dog owners in the United States ever since.


The Anatolian Shepherd dog is big, bold, and beautiful. Here are a few common features to help you spot this dog breed.

  • This dog breed is powerful and tall, measuring up to an astonishing height of 32 inches.
  • They have a rugged and masculine appearance and can weigh up to 70kg.
  • They have dense but soft double coats that come in several different colors such as white cream, sesame, and piebald.
  • Additionally, they have layers of thick hair around their necks which makes them look bulkier than they actually are.
  • Their shoulders are broad and robust whereas their legs are long and agile making them fast runners.
  • The Anatolian Shepherd has a high-set tail that naturally curls upwards.
  • Their eyes are almond-shaped, usually brown to light amber with black rims surrounding them.
  • Whereas their ears are small and floppy, usually a darker color than their overall body


The Anatolian Shepherd is a highly intelligent and independent creature that considers itself the alpha male. Since they are herding dogs by nature, they have fast reflexes and the ability to make decisions on their own.

Some people believe that Anatolian Shepherds are not affectionate creatures and therefore do not make good pets. However, that is not true, the Anatolian shepherd merely shows their love in different ways than most dogs. While it is true that these dogs do not enjoy cuddling nor stick to their owners like Velcro, they do show their love by protecting and guarding their owners.

By nature, these dogs are fierce and dominant making them very good guard dogs. In fact, they are very swift to act when they see a stranger lurking around and will easily scare unwanted people off.

With its family, the Anatolian Shepherd is calm and comforting, however, it is much reserved around anyone else.

Read: Shih Poo Temperament and Behavior

Living with

Owing to their large, beast-like size, the Anatolian Shepherds are naturally more suitable for big houses, with a secured and fenced backyard. It is much harder but not impossible for them to adjust to apartment life.

While they are usually calm dogs, they do sometimes bark to express their displeasure and prefer being by themselves. However, while around children, they are very gentle and overprotective. They love to amuse children and will play around with them ensuring that no one gets hurt.

While Anatolian Shepherds are good housemates, they do tend to bark and howl very loudly which can be a bit of a problem for you and your neighbors.


You would think given the Anatolian Shepherd’s humungous size that it requires a lot of exercise but it is totally different. Walking them for one hour about two times a day is more than enough for them. They don’t enjoy games either, they are quite dull in that department and prefer napping when not needed around the house.

However, they require considerably more effort when it comes to their socialization. These pups need to be exposed to people and other pets from an early age so that they can be sociable and comfortable around people.

If proper care is not taken of their socialization needs through early exposure activities these dogs can grow up to be stubborn and destructive.

Grooming and Care

The Anatolian Shepherds are naturally clean dogs so apart from brushing their fur every few days and bathing them four to five times a year there is not much to worry about. However, they are very heavy shedders so you will probably need to vacuum a lot more often.

Additionally, like all dogs, they require their nails to be frequently trimmed and their teeth regularly brushed. Dog owners also need to clean their ears every now and then using soft cotton balls to avoid infections.


While it is best to consult a vet or nutritionist (or ask the breeder if you have gotten your puppy from the breeder) before designing a feeding schedule for your dog most Anatolian Shepherds require no more than three cups of kibble a day. It is best not to feed them human food as it can lead to obesity.


The Anatolian Shepherds are generally very healthy dogs however they do suffer from some common health complications. They often end up with an elbow and/or hip dysplasia which is a dislocation of the bones and very painful disease. They can also develop Entropion which is an abnormality of the eyelid that may lead to permanent loss of vision.

So, as responsible dog owners, you should frequently visit the vet and get your dogs a full checkup.

Wrapping it up

Did you know that the Anatolian Shepherd is a bit of a movie star? These pups have indeed been in many Hollywood feature films such as “Cats & Dogs” and “Kate and Leopold”.

All in all, though, they are quite lovely dogs and will bring you and your family great happiness and joy!

Recommended read – English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Info