Anatolian Shepherd – Excellent Guardians

Welcome all dog lovers to the wonderful world of shepherd dogs! If you have watched the movies “Cats and Dogs”, “Kate and Leopold”, or “Friends With Benefits”, you can guess who our special guest today is. And that’s it! They are Anatolian Shepherds, who are often considered to be excellent livestock guardian dogs.

Sounds interesting, right? In this post, we are going to give you a comprehensive understanding of all the things that make our Anatolian so special.


#6 Fun facts about Anatolian Shepherd breed

Before starting, let’s have a look at the following facts which will definitely catch you by surprise!

They are one of the oldest dog breeds of all time

Yes, it’s true. In your opinion, how old is this dog breed? 1000 years old? Well, dating back to 2000 B.C., some artifacts described a dog in the Anatolian region. Interestingly, it looks similar to the Anatolian Shepherd dogs, who are giant and strong with a heavy head.

You can see some pieces of evidence about these large canines working on the farm, among the flocks, in the “Book of Job”, which is set in Turkey, dating back to 1800 B.C.

They are born to be guard dogs

Nowadays, in Turkey, where is the hometown of our Anatolian companions, ranchers still use them to supervise their flocks and property. Needless to say, they have been excellent livestock guardian dogs, protecting the farm from any potential threats coming from predators such as bears, lions, etc.

They are extremely independent

This personality can result from their natural guarding instinct. They live on the ranches, finding food on their own by hunting gophers and other small animals. Therefore, it is the Anatolian breed that knows how to take care of not only themselves but also the whole flock without any instruction.

They are valuable creatures of the Turks

These shepherds are so precious that the Turks did not want to export them until the 20th century. In the 1950s, they were first imported into the US by its ranchers; unfortunately, this incident ended in disasters. Until the 1970s, the Anatolians set their foot to the US.

They protect endangered species in America

Regardless of their wonderful guarding skills, they were not really desired until 1973. At that time, there was a problem: Predators were highly protected animals and could not be killed. So how can farmers control their livestock? As you may guess, many experts believed that the Anatolian dog was the most effective solution. Then, there was a significant increase in the need of this breed.

They also protect cheetahs in Namibia

Protecting predators was difficult since angry farmers often chose to kill them so as to protect their farm. It happened the same to cheetahs in Namibia, leading to a significant decrease in the number of cheetahs in this country.

Again, the Anatolian dogs were taken to join in the cheetah conservation effort since 1994. Namibia’s Cheetah Conservation Fund encouraged the farmers to adopt these canine friends to help guard the livestock. And it really worked. After the appearance of these shepherds on-farm, livestock losses reduced by 80 to 100 percent. As a result, ranchers did not need to kill the cheetahs anymore.

Characteristics of an Anatolian Shepherd

In this part, you will be immersed in the outstanding features that form an excellent Anatolian pet.

Back up their guardian nature with the presence

Their giant, strong and well-muscled body with an even, flowing gait can truly scare the predators. They have a very distinctive appearance compared to other dog breeds; therefore, it is not difficult to identify an Anatolian canine. They put on a short, fawn coat, with a black mask. There are 4 main variations in their coat colors, including white, cream, sesame and piebald.

If you notice them for a whole day, you can see that they are always in an alert condition and watching for any trouble around their territory.

Highly possessive and protective

Born to be guardians, they are always quiet and watchful. Don’t be cheated that they are sleeping and then come close to them when the Anatolians lie motionless in the yard. Actually, they can know all the motions around, even the smallest one. So as long as you don’t want to be attacked by a large Anatolian, do not enter his territory without the permission of his owner.

The Anatolian Shepherd puppies and the adult ones devote most of their time for protecting their owners and their property. It is their instinct, no matter whether the “flock” is animals or humans, so they are always suspicious of any strange visitors that appear to be suspect.

They can be very aggressive; they bark at anything or anyone that they feel not secure, especially at night. As a result, a securely fenced yard is the number one recommendation for what you should prepare before adopting an Anatolian companion.


Solitary as they may seem, they seek out for human companionship of their owners, their family and other animals that they live with. These aggressive friends are so loyal and affectionate that you can feel secure and delightful when living with them.

How to care for Anatolian Shepherds

Caring for a dog is never a piece of cake, especially for a large, highly independent and easy-to-be-aggressive pet. Don’t worry! WewPet is here to give you lots of useful information that you can apply to your Anatolian.



If you are an allergy sufferer, then an Anatolian dog does NOT suit you because this breed is well-known for being year-round, heavy shedders.

Fortunately, their double coat is naturally clean, so it does not require too much grooming. Weekly brushing is highly recommended. During their seasonal shedding, however, especially in spring, it is necessary to give them daily grooming. Extra brushing during those times can also help remove dead hair, support their healthy skin and maintain the skin oil.


Dental hygiene is very important to avoid potential oral problems. Many veterinarians suggest that you should at least brush your pet’s teeth two or three times a week with a gentle toothbrush and a suitable toothpaste. It is much better if you can give them a daily dental hygiene schedule to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Trimming their nails once or twice a month also requires careful attention because if you cut their toenails too far, it can cause bleeding. This situation can scare your dog and next time, he may not cooperate with you when seeing the nail clippers. So try to learn this basic skill by asking a vet or a groomer, or watching how they do it on the Internet.

In order to prevent redness or a bad odor, which can lead to an infection, checking their ears weekly is essential. Unless you want to hurt your pet, you should only clean the outer ear, not insert anything into the ear canal. Besides, you can wipe the dirty stuff out with a gentle cotton towel and pH-balanced ear cleaner.

Food diets

As a giant dog breed, their diets should be formulated for large-to-giant canines. They are not eaters! Nevertheless, they do well on high-quality dog food. Regardless of home-prepared or commercially manufactured meals, they should give your pet an adequate quantity of proteins, nutrients and minerals necessary for their overall development.

Ask your veterinarian about the best serving for your dog, which best suits their life stage because an Anatolian Shepherd puppy does not demand the same meal as a senior Anatolian.


These shepherds need a moderate amount of exercise, which means they are not highly energetic, but not a couch potato, either. You should give them a large yard – with a tall, strong fence and a locked gate so that they can freely play with you and enjoy their time in their own territory. A long walk once or twice per day is essential; however, remember to keep your pet in a leash to avoid potential disasters due to their protective and aggressive instincts.

Health issues

In general, this dog breed is healthy. Nonetheless, like most canine friends, there are some certain health problems that they are prone to suffer from, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism. If you are taking these companions into consideration, then you should also know about their potential diseases.

Hip Dysplasia

Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. This is a genetic problem, which happens when the thighbone does not fit into the hip joint. It causes pain and lameness on one or both rear legs. When it happens, you should take your pet to a vet so that they can diagnose the problem, frequently by X-ray screening.

Elbow Dysplasia

The main reason that is believed to cause elbow dysplasia is abnormal growth and development, resulting in a malformed and weakened joint. Luckily, it can be treated with the interruption of surgery, weight management and anti-inflammatory medication.


The disorder of the thyroid gland is considered to be the reason for this problem, leading to hair loss, obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin conditions. You can help your pet with medication and adjusted diets.

As long as you give your pet healthy diets, an adequate quantity of exercise, regular check-ups and especially, lots of your love, he can live with you happily up to 13 years.

Frequently Asked Questions about Anatolian Shepherds

Is the Anatolian Shepherd Great Pyrenees mix similar to the Anatolian dogs?

This is a great combination of two livestock guardian breeds, the Anatolian Shepherd and the Great Pyrenees. As a result, they inherit the outstanding features of their parents: independent, intelligent, protective, calm, and a little bit stubborn.


How can I train my Anatolian pet?

Many dog adopters are worrying about the training process, right? Well, as you may know, training an Anatolian dog is much more difficult than training other shepherd dogs due to their independent and aggressive natures. Thus, start to get your Anatolian puppy as soon as possible, because you can easily manage this size. Then, that 20-pound pup will grow much larger quickly.

If you are a novice dog owner, then this breed is not a good choice. The most suitable owners of these large companions are those who can guide him with kind, firm, consistent and patient training, instead of force or cruelty. Highly independent as they are, they respond very well with routine. As a result, be patient, patient and patient.

It is also essential to give your Anatolian early and frequent socialization to prevent them from being over suspicious and aggressive towards new things or strangers. Keep trying to help your pet familiar with your social activities such as visiting your neighbors, outing to local shops, or walking in the nearby park, so that they can realize what is normal and what is a real threat.

Is this breed suitable for homes with children?

Absolutely yes! As guardian dogs, they devote themselves to protect you and your family members. So at least, they can tolerate your kids. However, they best suit older children who know how to treat a dog properly. Therefore, you should teach your kids the right way to stroke, scratch and play with such large canine companion, and keep a careful eye when they play with each other to prevent unexpected accidents.

Can Anatolian Shepherd dogs live outdoor?

Actually, it’s yes. However, as mentioned before, they love human companionship. Therefore, you should spend time playing with them, which can help strengthen the bonds between you and your pet. Leaving them alone in the yard and giving them little or no attention is not only cruel, but it can also cause aggression and destructive behaviors.

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