Anatolian shepherd is a large, heavily built dog from Turkey, where it served – and still serves – to protect herds. Although it makes friends with his own family and other animals of his master, as a guardian he is distrustful and even aggressive towards strangers. it likes to stay outside and is not suitable for living in an apartment. Anatolates may appear to be low mobility. However, this is their way of working – calm observation of the area and reaction in case of danger.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog, also known as Anatolian, is one of the representatives of large guard dogs, many of which are found in Eurasia. Because these dogs have looked after herds for thousands of years and made their own decisions, they are independent. They do not respond to every nod of the guide.
The guarding instinct awakens in them early, sometimes even in the third month of life. This does not mean that such a young dog will already act as a guardian on his own – especially since these four-legged dogs reach maturity only at the age of three.
They treat foreign dogs and people as intruders. Outside of their area, they can accept unfamiliar animals, although males often try to establish a hierarchy. Within their herd, when they normalize relations, they get along well.
Anatolates may appear to be low mobility. However, this is their way of working – calm observation of the area and reaction in case of danger. They are not heavy like some dogs, so at a young age, you do not have to limit their traffic so much. Walking is recommended – to get fit and socialize.
Anatolian shepherd. Training and education
Independence and weak hunting drive of Anatolians make them unsuitable for defense training – they are not interested in playing with sleeves and they do not fall into sham attacks. They attack when they think the situation requires it (when someone invades the protected territory or a member of the herd is at risk). However, they do not show aggression for no reason and do not attack without warning.
Due to inborn distrust, they require intensive socialization. Do not be afraid that by familiarizing the puppy with strangers, we will make him grow into an animal-friendly to everyone. The guarding instinct in this breed is strong enough for the adult representative to be a great guardian – and thanks to socialization he will become more balanced and confident.
Basic obedience training is also recommended – especially for males. There is a large sexual dimorphism – males are not only much larger, but also more dominant than bitches. Anatolates require a firm but not too harsh approach – they can respond to aggression by a guide or refuse to cooperate.
In relation to their herd, i.e. people and domestic and farm animals, dogs of this breed are loyal and caring. They have a lot of patience especially for children and young animals.
Who is this race for?
Anatolates should be given to people experienced in raising dogs. They are not suitable for block – they need territory to watch. They can live in a shack, but constant contact with the family is necessary so that they do not go wild.
Anatolian shepherd. Advantages and disadvantages
requires an experienced guide
can be aggressive towards strangers and animals
not suitable for living in an apartment
healthy and resilient
loyal and affectionate towards his flock/family
patient and caring for children from their own herd
Anatolian Sheepdog belongs to very resistant breeds. They have sporadic hip dysplasia and hypersensitivity to anesthesia.
Anatolates are not particularly demanding in this respect, but of course, the guard dog should be given sufficient energy feed when the temperatures are low.
This is not a demanding breed when it comes to caring. However, during the molting period, it should be combed regularly, especially if it is a semi-long-haired dog.
The Anatolian Sheepdog belongs to the mountain type of dogs, just like the Podhale or Central Asian Shepherd Dog. They are mostly large, strong animals with deaf ears and a short or half-long coat, designed to guard and protect herds and belongings. In today’s Turkey, similar dogs have been living for over 6,000 years! They probably arrived here along with itinerant tribes from Central Asia.
The area of ancient Mesopotamia is today southern Turkey. Quadrupeds in the type of mastiff were used there for hunting and in wars – as fighting dogs. Greyhounds were also known in it – it is supposed that in Anatolian shepherds their blood also flows, which can be demonstrated by the relatively lightweight structure for mastiffs and quite long legs. This is, of course, possible, although it cannot be excluded that this type of construction is the result of selection resulting from the conditions prevailing in this area.
Most of Turkey is occupied by the Anatolian Highlands – a plain with mountainous islands. Shepherding was a traditional source of income here. A large part of the population had a semi or full nomadic lifestyle, wandering with flocks of sheep and goats. It was up to the dogs to ensure that the herds were not attacked by robbers and predators. To protect against wolves, their ears were cut off and spiked collars were put on.
They were fed with leftovers, so they had to feed themselves, e.g. by hunting small animals (but they did not move those under their care). The healthiest and most durable individuals survived, and only those that proved themselves in their role were used for breeding. If someone killed a good shepherd dog, he had to pay his owner a fine in the form of a pile of grain as high as a killed dog hanged by the tail above the ground …
Many Turkish breeders say that … there is no breed like the Anatolian Shepherd! This name was given to Turkish shepherd dogs by Americans and British who began importing them about 40 years ago. There is no cynological organization in Turkey, therefore FCI is the patron of the breed. For only 20 years, some educated Turkish breeders and dog lovers have begun to speak about their cynological heritage.
The original name, çoban köpegi (pronounced Chaban kopeji) means “shepherd dog”. Local types of quadrupeds have developed in individual regions of the country, often very different from each other. The most famous of them are kangal, bred in the Sivas region, and akbasz – originating in western Turkey. Sometimes as a separate breed Karabash also stands out, but in fact the word means a dog with a black head (similar to “akbasz” – a dog with a white head; white or cream akbasz, with a semi-long or short coat, is most similar to European white mountain dogs ).
A typical kangala coat is a fawn coat with a black mask, so each kangal is also karabash, but not every karabash is kangal. The Anatolian standard allows different colors and types of construction, however, in practice mainly kangala dogs are bred. However, the Turks would like to officially separate breeds and breeding pure kangals, as is practiced in the Sivas region.
Apart from Turkey, they are most popular in Great Britain and the United States. The latter are also very well-known for goblets used to protect herds.
Anatolian shepherd – group II FCI, section 2.2, reference number 331
Country of origin: Anatolia (Asian part of Turkey)
Character: calm, balanced, confident dog, attached to the family and animals he looks after, distrustful of strangers, strong guarding instinct, showing no aggression for no apparent reason;
Size: dogs 74-81 cm, bitches 71-79 cm
Weight: dogs 50-65 kg, bitches 40-55 kg
Coat: short or half-long, with a dense undercoat, a large variation in the type of coat depending on the climate, it also becomes longer in winter; the hair is more abundant on the neck, shoulders and trousers; molting twice a year
Ointment: all colors are allowed, but the most common is fawn or sand ointment with a black mask
Lifespan: 10-11 years
Vulnerability to training: moderate – Anatolian is an intelligent but independent dog
Activity: does not require much movement, but needs space
Resistance/susceptibility to diseases: very resistant; there are hip dysplasia and hypersensitivity to anesthesia
Possibility of buying a puppy: in Europe it is hard to find a puppy at the moment, you need to find out if a litter is planned and it is best to book them in advance
Anatolian Sheepdogs are used in the cheetah protection program in Namibia. By defending goats and sheep against predators, at the same time they contribute to protecting the latter from humans.
Anatolates are perfect for the program implemented by the Cheetah Conservation Fund due to their adaptation to a similar climate.