Anatolian Shepherd Dogs - Little Known Facts


1. Is the Anatolian recognized by AKC? When were they accepted into AKC?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog entered the AKC registry on Oct. 31, 1995, the Miscellaneous Class on June 1, 1996, and moved into the Working Group on August 10, 1998. The Anatolian is AKC's 144th breed. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are registered by the American Kennel Club and/or the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc.

2. When did Anatolians come to the US? When was the original club started?

Anatolians entered the US in the late 1950s, and are originally from the Anatolian Plateau in Turkey and Asia Minor. Anatolians are also known as Coban Kopegi. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America (ASDCA) was formed in 1970.

3. How old is the Anatolian Breed?

Anatolians have been around since biblical times - at least two thousand years BC. From ancient times Anatolians served as the shepherd's frontline defense against predators. Breeders created a dog the same size and colors of the livestock they guarded in order to fit in among the flock undetected by predators. Anatolians had to guard their livestock at all times, so they were bred to make independent decisions in order to efficiently handle any situation.

4. How Many Anatolians are in the United States?

More than 5,000 Anatolians have been registered in the United States since 1970.

5. What is the Anatolian's temperament?

Anatolians are fiercely loyal and demonstrate a possessive attitude towards family, property and livestock. They are suspicious of strangers, reserved when in public and may expect a "formal introduction' before tolerating any familiarities. Anatolians require an owner who can be a strong, positive leader who consistently requires civilized behavior. This means SOCIALIZATION - SOCIALIZATION - SOCIALIZATION and more SOCIALIZATION!

6. What is the average lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

Anatolians average lifespan is 11+ years when kept in a normal safe environment. Working livestock guardians can have a higher mortality rate.

7. What training is necessary for an Anatolian?

Anatolians are very intelligent and will catch on to what you want from them quickly if you are consistent and do not let them get away with ANYTHING as a pup you do not want them to do as an adult. Socialization is VERY important from puppyhood through adulthood. Obedience training is an absolute necessity for at least the first two years. Schutzhund training is absolutely NOT RECOMMENDED for this breed. If you want a dog for bite work of any kind, DO NOT GET AN ANATOLIAN!!

8. Are Anatolians good with children?

Anatolians are affectionate with family and like well-behaved children; however, if children are abusive, they tend to just walk away. Anatolians tend to see children as part of their "flock", not as one of their masters, and may be protective of any child in the household. No matter how gentle a dog may be, young children should always be supervised around any dog.

9. What type of housing/fencing is needed?

Anatolians should be kept in a fenced area not only for their protection, but so that they do not become a liability. A large yard/pasture (at least an acre, but preferably more) with a 5 or 6 foot fence and a locked gate is ideal. Pastureland that is fenced with field wire or 5 foot horse wire may require electric wire on top of the fence and along the bottom (about 6-8" from the ground). Anatolians can endure extremes of temperature, but a shelter from inclement weather (which he may or may not choose to use) and a shady area when it is warm should be provided. You should always have plenty of fresh water available for your Anatolian.

10. How much does an Anatolian eat?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a self-limiting eater, thriving on low protein/low fat diets. Diets with no wheat, no corn, no soy and no by-products seem to work best for this breed, with the occasional raw chicken quarters/turkey necks/organ meat (heart/liver/gizzard)/raw green tripe, a little yogurt and occasional steamed veggies (see "Feeding Your Pup").

11. How big does the Anatolian Shepherd get?

At full maturity (2-3yr for females; 3-4yr for males), females should be at least 27" at the withers and 80+ lbs; males should be at least 29" at the withers and weigh 110+ lbs.

12. What coat colors & coat lenths are acceptable?

The classic coloring of this breed is shades of fawn with black mask; however, pinto, dutch marked, solid cream or white, or brindle (any shade) are acceptable. Coats range between very short and dense (smooth) to medium long (rough), and can be found in the same litter.

13. How is the Anatolian Shepherd Dog with other animals and family pets?

Anatolians are most easily introduced into a new household with other pets as a puppy. They should be introduced under careful supervision to other animals. Puppies usually adapt well to other family pets and/or livestock, often making them part of their flock and, therefore, to always be protected.

14. What are some of the negative aspects of living with Anatolians?

In general the adult Anatolian is usually quiet, only sounding an alarm when necessary. However, puppies will test their owners and may bark at any noise or intruder. If you have close neighbors, keeping your pup inside at night may be necessary, as they don't seem to feel the need to "guard" when you are there to make them feel safe.

Anatolians are also known to dig. If you have a garden or lawn that you are proud of and work hard to make it look good, you may want to make sure it is fenced "off limits" from your Anatolian.

15. What are the most common health problems for the Anatolian?

As of yet, Anatolians have not shown to be prone to any particular disease. Hip dysplasia, while present in most large breeds, is not yet a serious problem. Most reputable breeders do OFA testing of hips and elbows to make sure it does not become a major problem in the foreseeable future. Entropion (inverted eyelids) is present in some lines, but like HD, will not become a major problem if breeders continue to only breed from healthy stock. This is another reason why you should ALWAYS get your puppy from a reputable breeder. There is not a high incidence of bloat in the breed. Because of the drop ear, ear infections are fairly common. HOD (hydropic osteodystrophy) sometimes happens in pups, but feeding the correct foods in the correct amounts and using recommended supplements may prevent this. This is a puppy event only, is usually brief and most pups get through it with no permanent problems. Anatolians can be sensitive to anesthesia, and it is always a good idea to let your vet know that this is common to the breed.

16. How much grooming does the Anatolian Shepherd dog require?

Anatolians require normal care for coat, eyes, teeth, ears pads and nails. From my personal experience, Anatolians tend to have little to no "doggy" odor. The coat requires little care except during seasonal shedding (molting) twice a year during which they lose almost all their coat in about 2-3 weeks. At that time, a thorough daily brushing and/or combing is required. Other than that, Anatolians are pretty much a "wash and wear" dog.

If you have any questions that I have not covered here or if you would like me to elaborate on the questions above, please feel free to contact me at 352-493-2836 or email me.