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.

For ages, the Anatolian Shepherds have been used as Livestock Guardian Dogs. So, if you are considering getting an Anatolian Shepherd for your farm or ranch and looking for a comprehensive breed guide, 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.

History and Introduction

The Anatolian Shepherd is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world as 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 79th most popular dog breed in the US 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.

Features of the Anatolian Shepherd

The Anatolian Shepherd dog is big, bold, and beautiful. Here are a few common features:

  • 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 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.


The Anatolian Shepherd is a highly intelligent and independent dog that considers itself the alpha male. Since they are herding or livestock guardian 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.

Living with an Anatolian Shepherd

Owing to their large, beast-like size, the Anatolian Shepherds are naturally more suitable for ranches and farms. If you are planning to get one as a home companion, they are recommended for families living in big houses, with a secured and fenced backyard. It is much harder 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 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.

Most breeders sell trained Anatolian Sheperds to farms and ranches because it is not easy to train them to guard your livestock.

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.

If you are planning to feed raw to your dog, it’s crucial to get an opinion from your vet or the breeder you have got the puppy from.


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 a 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. It is also recommended to get a puppy/trained dog from a well-reputed and responsible breeder to avoid any genetic health issues in dogs.

Wrapping it up

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of strength, intelligence, and unwavering loyalty. With its rich history as a guardian of livestock and a cherished companion, the Anatolian’s noble qualities continue to captivate the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. Whether serving as a vigilant protector or a devoted family member, this breed’s remarkable attributes shine through.

Recommended read – English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Info