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Anatolian Shepherd Dog: Info, Pictures, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Height: 80 – 150 pounds
Weight: 12-24 pounds
Lifespan: 11 – 13 years
Colors: White, Liver, Red Fawn, Blue Fawn, Gray Fawn, Brindle, Fawn
Suitable for: Families looking for a protector, House with a yard, Rural
Temperament: Loyal, Intelligent, Patient, Independent, Protective, Gets along with other pets

One of the oldest dogs descending from a bloodline that goes back 6,000 years, the Anatolian Shepherd is an independent, smart, and calm dog that is fiercely protective of its entire household. They are a part of the Working Group as they were bred to watch over and protect livestock, namely sheep and goat herds, in Ancient Turkey.

These are large dogs with muscled bodies and strong heads. They have a double coat with a thick undercoat and an outer layer of short fur. The Anatolian comes in a variety of colors, but the most commonly observed is light fawn or cream color with black or dark brown muzzles and ears.

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Anatolian Shepherd Puppies



The Anatolian Shepherd is a mellow but athletic dog that needs moderate exercise and is a healthy, robust breed. They are very intelligent but are highly independent dogs that might be a challenge to train. Their inherently protective nature, combined with their wariness of strangers, requires rigorous socialization while they are puppies. Under no circumstances should these dogs be trained as guard dogs as this is an instinct they already possess.

The Anatolian Shepherd is a great choice for people living in rural areas that can offer their dog plenty of space to run around in. They are quite energetic so they will need regular exercise and mental stimulation to avoid boredom.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Anatolian Shepherd

1. The Anatolian Shepherd barks. A lot.

They were bred to guard livestock, so barking is instinctive for these Shepherd dogs. They will bark to warn of anyone approaching the house or when they feel the need to protect their family.

2. The Anatolian Shepherd is highly independent.

As already mentioned, this breed comes from an extremely ancient line of dogs that know how to take care of themselves. This instinct has carried on into the modern Anatolian Shepherd. Like most dogs, they shouldn’t be left on their own for long periods, but they can spend time on their own without resorting to destructive behavior like many other dogs.

3. The Anatolian Shepherd protects cheetahs in Namibia.

Namibia began a conservation program for cheetahs in 1994 because of a sharp decline in the cheetah population. This was due to ranchers exterminating cheetahs to help protect their livestock, so the Cheetah Conservation Fund introduced dogs to help the ranchers guard their animals. The Anatolian has reduced the loss of livestock by 80 to 100 percent, which has helped the cheetah population with this non-lethal method of protecting herds.

fawn anatolian shepherd puppy
Image Credit: Peakpx

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Anatolian Shepherd 🧠

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Anatolian Shepherd makes an amazing family dog. One of the most loyal and devoted dogs, they are exceedingly protective and patient and can be trusted with children and other pets within the household. They will ardently guard everyone in their family (even including cats or other dogs), but they are somewhat reserved dogs, and while they do play, they are not as energetic and playful as other breeds.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

If the Anatolian is raised and socialized with other pets, they get along well and will act as protectors with all animals in the family.

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Things to Know When Owning an Anatolian Shepherd:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Anatolian Shepherds are working dogs and should be fed the same diet as most large breeds. They aren’t prone to overeating, so feeding them a high-quality dog food two or three times a day should be sufficient. Check with your dog’s veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s health and diet.

Exercise 🐕

The Anatolian Shepherd does require a moderate amount of exercise, which can be accomplished with one or two long walks a day. They will also do well in a fenced backyard, but the fence should be sturdy and tall enough to contain them as they are known to jump fences to chase anything that draws their attention. This also means they should be leashed at all times while out for a walk.

Training 🦮

Training the Anatolian Shepherd can be a challenge as they have a distinct independent streak and will need an owner who is confident, strong and can act as the alpha. This breed is a dominant but easygoing dog that will think it is in charge unless shown otherwise. They are intelligent dogs and will pick up training quickly as long as you are consistent.

Grooming ✂️

The Anatolian Shepherd is easy to groom. While they have a double coat, they only require brushing about once a week, particularly since they do shed. They don’t tend to have a noticeable doggy odor, so you should only give them a bath when necessary (not usually more than once a month) with an appropriate dog shampoo.

Routine grooming habits should include cleaning their earsbrushing their teeth, and trimming their nails.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Minor Conditions
  • The Anatolian Shepherd might be prone to entropion (abnormal eyelids). Your vet will run eye tests to check for this condition.
Serious Conditions
  • The Anatolian Shepherd is a healthy breed but is susceptible to hip dysplasia and bloat, but neither of these health issues is common in the Anatolian. Another condition that you should be aware of is the Anatolian is sensitive to anesthesia and could have an adverse reaction to it. Your vet should be made aware of this possibility before any medical procedures.As part of any physical exam, your vet will check your dog’s hips to rule out any issues.

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Male vs. Female

One difference between male and female dogs is in height and weight, with the female dog usually smaller and lighter than the male. The female Anatolian might be 27 inches in height, and the male could go up to 29 inches. The female might weight around 80 to 120 pounds, and the male comes in higher at 110 to 150 pounds.

Another obvious difference is if you decide to have your dog undergo surgery if you don’t want to use your dog for breeding purposes. The recovery time and price of spaying your female is slightly higher than it is for the male dog. However, having your dog spayed or neutered will help prevent health problems in the future, and your dog may be less aggressive and not as likely to wander off.

There is also the belief that there are inherent personality differences between males and females, such as the female dog is more affectionate and less aggressive than the male. However, there are debates on this topic. Overall, what will truly determine your dog’s temperament and personality will be how your dog was raised and socialized as a puppy.

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Final Thoughts

The Anatolian Shepherd is an easygoing, smart, and protective dog that is a natural-born guard dog for livestock and family alike. They are relatively low-maintenance dogs that are not difficult to groom or exercise but need a strong and experienced owner to bring out the best in this large and unique breed.

There are a number of Anatolian Shepherd breeders that are easily found online that you can get in touch with if you are interested in adding one to your family. Just be sure to review any breeder you’re considering as they should be reputable and responsible. The best breeders should be concerned about their dogs’ welfare and health and finding them a good home.

You can also look into rescue groups, of which there are many. You can also look at breed-specific rescues such as the National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network, which is based out of the United States (they try to find homes for the Anatolian Shepherd as well as Anatolian crossbreeds).

If you need a working dog to watch over your livestock and your family, the Anatolian Shepherd is the best dog for the job. You can trust them with your children and pets and know that all are safe under their watch.

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Featured Image Credit: CharlitoCZ, Shutterstock

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