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Anatolian Shepherd Dog

 Photo of Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Southen

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Books

Group: Pastoral || Breed Standard


For many centuries, large working dogs have existed in Asia Minor. Back in the 16th century a German traveller, Helmuth Gruener, journeyed through Turkey and, in a book he wrote of his travels, talked about the "great fierce dogs, as large as our donkeys", describing them as a "yellow dog with black faces", guarding the sheep and camp of shepherds against predators, including wolves and even lions, on the great plains. The Anatolian, the most formidable guard dogs of the area, emerged as the dominant canine in Turkey. It was in 1963 that the first pair of Anatolian Shepherds were imported into the UK by Dr Steele, an archaeologist working in Turkey. These were first bred from in 1967, when strict foundations were laid in an attempt to safeguard the future of the breed. From the late 1970s through the 1980s, interest in the Anatolian increased and several new imports arrived into the UK, increasing the genetic pool.


Height: dogs: 74-81 cms (29-32 ins); bitches: 71-79 cms (28-31 ins)
Weight: mature dogs: 50-64 kgs (110-141 lbs); bitches: 41-59 kgs (90-130 lbs)

Large, rugged, powerful and impressive, possessing great endurance and agility. Developed through a set of very demanding circumstances for a purely utilitarian purpose; he is a working guard dog without equal, with a unique ability to protect livestock. He ppears bold, but calm, unless challenged. He possesses size, good bone, a well-muscled torso with a strong head. Reserve out of its territory is acceptable. Fluid movement and even temperament is desirable.

Their coat is short and dense with a thick undercoat. Flat, close-lying, neither fluffy nor wavy. Slightly longer and thicker at neck, shoulders and tail; no feathering on ears or legs. All colours acceptable, with or without black mask and ears.


The Anatolian Shepherd is a very loyal, alert and possessive dog, affectionate with their own family, but suspicious of strangers, especially after reaching adulthood. Extensive early socialization, obedience training and consistent dominant leadership are very important when owning an Anatolian Shepherd. They tend to bark at night and some like to dig.

Anatolian Shepherd dogs are territorial. They are natural guard dogs, independent and very intelligent. They must be socialised from a very early age as their guarding instinct is very strong. They are gentle with children, but must be watched due to their size. They can be aggressive (especially the males) to same sexed dogs in the same household. This is not a suitable breed for novice dog owners.

Breed Health

Reasonably healthy breed with no major problems. Lifespan approx. 12-15 years.

Breed Care

Requires very little grooming. Sheds seasonally when his coat must be brushed out regularly.


Requires a lot of exercise and can easily take at least two hours plus every day.


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is intelligent but can be stubborn and dominant and requires firm handling. It is very important to begin training as soon as possible and before he gets his own ideas! When training the Anatolian Shepherd, the best results are achieved by motivational training methods with a determined, consistent and loving approach. Sensitive to reprimands and eager to receive affection. See our books on training

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Last link added: 29 Sep, 2006