The Anatolian Shepherd Dog (Turkish translation: Anadolu çoban köpeği) originally came from Anatolia, a place in central Turkey, more than 6,000 years ago.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog side view

It probably descended from an ancient breed of powerful hunting dogs in Mesopotamia which migrated along with the early nomadic people.

According to Turkish fanciers, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a crossbreed between the Kangal dog and the Akbash dog.

They were used to guard livestock including flocks of sheep from constant animal attacks made by wolves, bears, jackals, and even cheetahs. Settlers in Turkey would put a spiked collar on these dogs to protect their necks from getting bitten by their opponents.

Amidst the high Anatolian Plateau’s harsh climate condition (ranging from hot, dry summers to very cold winter seasons), the Anatolian Shepherd Dog was able to withstand such challenges all year round.

Anatolians entered the United States in the 1950′s and were further developed as a modern breed by American fanciers. The Anatolian Shepherd was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995.

Traits and Behavior

The Anatolian Shepherd dog is a breed with initiative, confidence, and amazing vitality. It has a strong sense of responsibility in protecting its master’s flocks without human assistance or guidance. With a remarkable sense of sight and hearing, they are very intelligent and can be taught easily. However, they might choose not to carry out someone’s orders on few occasions.

Anatolian Shepherd lying on the grass

Many agree that these dogs are not the perfect pet choice for everyone, especially for people who had no experience in taking good care of animals. Also, this large breed is not recommended to live in small quarters, together with young children as they might accidentally injure these children when they get excited.

Not surprisingly for a guard dog, the Anatolian Shepherd is suspicious towards strangers. They tend to bark at night in response to the slightest movement or faintest sound. When its owner isn’t home, it is very much unlikely that it’ll allow its master’s friends or extended family members (whom it has met before) to come onto its territory.

Anatolian Shepherd dogs

This is an issue that is particularly worrisome after the dog reaches adulthood. He needs a superior owner who is strong, kind, and would act like a boss at all times. Socialization must begin while they are still young. It is very important to start training these dogs as early as possible because interacting with a fully grown dog may be too hard for an average person.

Pet Care and Diseases

All canine breeds have the potential to display genetic health problems as they grow, just as all humans are at risk of acquiring a particular disease that runs in the family.

Anatolian Shepherd tongue out

Be sure to seek the help of a legitimate veterinarian who has enough experience in dealing with the Anatolian Shepherd dog to prevent the occurrence of such disease through screening and to ensure that your dog will always be in good health.

This breed is generally healthy although few health concerns have been reported by dog owners. These include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Demodectic mange (or demodicosis, a disease caused by Demodex mite)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Entropion
  • Coronary heart disease

(Note: Not all Anatolian Shepherd dogs will acquire any or all of these health problems, but it is better to be aware if you are considering having this pet.)

The Anatolian Shepherd has attractive medium-length fur that sheds dirt but also sheds hair. Brush its coat at least once a week to get rid of dead hair and to keep both skin and coat in tip-top shape. Bathe this dog only when it gets dirty or is needed, the rest is basic care.

Trim the nails when your dog starts to scratch the floor or every few weeks. Brush the teeth frequently with vet-recommended pet toothpaste.

This breed is not recommended for apartment life or in urban areas since it is large and relatively not active indoors. Provide it with a wide area outside the house where they can run and play. The front yard fence must be at least 5 feet tall so it wouldn’t be tempted to roam around the neighbourhood.

Anatolian Shepherd outdoor

Tip: Maintaining the weight of the dog within its normal limits is one of the easiest ways to prolong its life.


The Anatolian Shepherd dog is a muscular breed that has a huge neck, broad head, and sturdy body. For the males, they could stand about 28 – 30 inches (71 – 76 cm) tall and weigh 100 – 150 pounds (45 – 68 kg). For the females, their height could go approximately 26 – 28 inches (66 – 71 cm) and they could weigh as much as 90 – 130 pounds (41 – 59 kg).

Anatolian Shepherd with rocks

This dog looks very similar to the Great Pyrenees and the Kuvasz dog breeds, but the Anatolian Shepherd is more slender and agile.

The ears are often coated with black, as well as the rectangular muzzle.

The lips are also black and hang down slightly. In Turkey, the ears are often cropped very short.

The coat is short (about an inch long) and thick. Some dogs have feathering on their ears, legs, and tail.

It comes in various colors including pinto, white, and brindle. But sometimes, a fawn with a black mask may also appear.

General Information

The Anatolian Shepherd dog has an average life span of  12-15 years. The average litter size is 5-10 puppies. The Turkish name of the breed means “sheepdog”. Other names include Karabaş or Karabash (blackhead), Anadolu çoban köpeği, andKangal.

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is dubbed as the national dog of Turkey and is considered to be one of the country’s national treasures.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. Click this link: https://asdca.club/