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Anatolian Shepherd… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed

While it is true that every dog breed is going to have its own “unique” style and nature, one common trend that you’ll find is that “most” dog breeds that were originally created to help shepherds control their flock tend to be quite smart.

And this…

Is exactly what you’re going to find when looking at the Anatolian Shepherd minus the super “hyperactivity” you’ll commonly find in many other “working dogs” which is why we here at IndulgeYourPet  feel that these guys can often be a good choice for someone thinking about getting a great family pet!

The problem is…

the Anatolian Shepherd isn’t always going to be the ‘’best” fit for everyone.  So… in this article, we’re going to try and point out some of the pros and cons of owning an Anatolian Shepherd, so that, if you ever get a chance to get a hold of one, you won’t be disappointed that you chose to make one your own six months later!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Anatolian Shepherd Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Turkey

Original Purpose:  Guarding the flock

Height:  27 to 29 inches tall

Weight:  80 to 150 pounds depending on sex

Lifespan:  10 to 13 years

Dog Group Classification:  Working dog

If you’re looking for a working dog with experience as a livestock guardian, then the Anatolian Shepherd might be for you! Okay, we realize that this is probably a little too specific for the average American household dog owner, but it is fair to say that a guardian dog is often a great family dog – after all, he’ll protect you as best as he can.

Origin of Anatolian Shepherd.

The Anatolian Shepherd dog breed is an ancient breed that was used for a variety of purposes throughout history.  Dating back 4,000 years, their earliest ancestors where most likely “Roman War” dogs that were used by the Roman soldiers throughout the Roman Empire.

These early dogs…

Most likely interbred with “native” animals already in Turkey creating a formidable beast capable of surviving in the harsh environment that early Turkish shepherds had to live in while also providing protection from both wolves and bears that these early shepherds had to deal with.

After all…

The Anatolian Shepherd is a very LARGE animal.  This is why they quickly became a “favorite” breed among the nomadic shepherds of the time allowing the breed to quickly spread all throughout the Anatolian plateau, which includes modern day Turkey, where the breed is also commonly referred to as the Coban Kopegi or “Shepherd dog”.


Despite the breed being in existence for over 4,000 years, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the breed was first brought to the United States where it took another 40 years or so for it to be “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1996.

Characteristics of Anatolian Shepherd.

Anatolian Shepherd are pretty big dogs that can weigh 150 pounds! Of course, the females are smaller, but even they can get up to 120 pounds or so!  (similar to the Akbash, another working dog native to Turkey).

Anatolian Shepherds have…

A relatively short coat with a thick undercoat – this is pretty standard for all the breeds designed to do outdoor jobs, like being a livestock guardian.

And while…

Anatolian’s come in a variety of coat colors such as white, pinto or brindle, the most common color will be brindle. And most, if not all, Anatolian Shepherds, will share their “black mask” face.

It should be noted…

That although the Anatolian Shepherd may look quite similar to the Turkish Kangal, they are actually two totally separate dog breeds.  At least they are considered two separate dog breeds by the United Kingdom Kennel Club.

Unfortunately, the American Kennel Club hasn’t “recognized” the Kangal as of yet but given the fact that the AKC “tends” to be a bit slower than other organizations, we here at IndulgeYourPet feel its just a matter of time.

Personality of Anatolian Shepherd

As a protector, the slightest sign of danger or threat can set an Anatolian Shepherd dog off – even if it’s just perceived danger and not real danger.

They’re skeptical of strangers…

But only out of loyalty to their own family. As a livestock dog, they learned to tend to their own flock and consider all others the enemy.  The good news is that because of their size, most folks with an “ounce” of common sense won’t feel the need to “test” your Anatolian’s commitment to the family.

Also, they are easy to train…

Because at it’s core, the Anatolian Shepherd is a working dog, that was bred to be VERY smart and be able to FOLLOW directions.

Which is a good thing…

Because it’s one thing to have an “unruly” Pug jumping on your house guests and small children, it’s a totally different situation when your Anatolian Shepherd isn’t properly trained!  Remember, this is a GIANT of a dog.

Early obedience training and socialization is key…

While it’s generally going to be “impossible” to keep your Anatolian Shepherd from having a healthy wariness of strangers, proper training and socialization early in your Anatolian’s life can ensure that your Anatolian Shepherd puppy will grow up to be quite accepting of other pets, small children and strangers (once properly introduced).

And isn’t this…

Exactly what any family would want of a BIG dog—one that will love and protect the family, while also being accepting of anyone that the family chooses to have over?  We think so, which is why we love the Anatolian dog breed.

But remember…

The Anatolian Shepherd is a VERY large dog and is going to want to be able to stretch his legs out just about every day.  So, if you live in a small apartment without a yard or are not able to take your Shepherd out for daily walks or trips to the local dog park, this probably isn’t the right dog for you.


If you “tend” to own dogs that aren’t always the “best” trained, you probably don’t want to get a dog this big either.  Because like we said before, if you don’t take the time to train a smaller dog, all you have is a “poorly” trained nuisance.

But when you fail to train your Anatolian Shepherd, what you have is a GIANT wrecking ball of an animal that can not only do a lot of damage, he can actually hurt someone pretty bad, even if he or she is just “playing” and not actually “attacking”!

Is the Anatolian Shepherd a healthy dog breed?

Over all, considering just how old the Anatolian Shepherd dog breed is, the breed is actually quite healthy.  Sure, Anatolian Shepherds will potentially suffer from a few health issues however, these “issues” tend to be common to all large dog breeds and are not specific “risks” to just Anatolian Shepherds.

Health Risks such as:

  • Hip Dysplasia: this is one of the easiest to eliminate with a good breeder. You would probably be able to tell the likelihood of this in puppies, but still ask for some family medical history of your new puppy. If you do have a dog with hip dysplasia, surgery to correct this will be thousands of dollars.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: This will also impact your dog’s ability to walk and live with ease. Corrective surgery could help but will cost $1000-$6000.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder that is easy to fix but will cost some money and probably a lifetime of medication, either to make the thyroid gland react normally, or as a replacement hormone should the entire thyroid be removed.

And while…

We here at IndulgeYourPet feel pretty confident saying that the Anatolian Shepherd breed is a pretty healthy one, we also always recommend that folks take a quick look and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on their animal so if any medical issues do arise, you won’t be on the “hook” for the full cost of treatment.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you know exactly how much a policy will cost you, how will you know?  This is why we choose to write our  Best Pet Insurance Companies article so that you can quickly get an idea of what some of the pros and cons of owning a policy might be as well as how much it might cost as well.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • gordon m k January 6, 2020, 2:45 pm

    I think I have an ASD. She has all the standards and does seem to guard the house. She is very well-trained. I have had many dogs, but I don’t consider myself a dog trainer. VERY sweet. Barks a lot, but not really a nuisance. Jumps up on visitors, but in a friendly way. 95# Around two feet at the shoulder. Female. Dark brown/black when born, now a Khaki color. Sound right to you? How could I confirm my thoughts? Was a rescue, found in nearby woods in NE Ga.

    • indulgeyourpet January 6, 2020, 5:02 pm


      One thing that you might want to try is see if there aren’t any local Anatolian Shepherd “Facebook” clubs in your area that might get together every now and then or might be able to take a look at some photos you may have in order to help you know for sure. This would probably be the easiest way if such a group exists near you.

      Thanks and good luck!


  • Kathy M May 20, 2022, 8:35 am

    I have owned Anatolian Shepherd Dogs for decades. Always owning a male. They are huge and intimidating to all strangers. These dogs are serious about their job of guarding family, pets, property and livestock. These are the smartest breed there is hands down! I will always have an Anatolian Shepherd in my family! I love this breed. Gentle Giants with their family. Not so much with strangers. A trait I love about this wonderful breed!

  • Dawn February 21, 2023, 1:41 pm

    Pretty sure I am fostering a ASD pup. Would this be a good dog for trail riding? I will have the option to adopt. I like my dogs going along with my horse.

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