When thinking about what dog breeds may be best for your next pet, consider factors like personality, exercise, and grooming needs. The Anatolian shepherd is a great watchdog with an independent streak, but they are extremely loyal to their family. Other names for the Anatolian shepherd include Anatolian Karabash, Coban Kopegi, and Kangal. Make sure you have the ability to provide the training and socialization this breed needs.
Anatolian shepherd history
The Anatolian shepherd originated in Asia Minor, or Anatolia, an area that is now part of Turkey. The breed is said to have been around for over 6,000 years. With the breed being so large in size, they served as the Turkish shepherds' front line of defense from predators.
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The breed was imported to the United States by the Department of Agriculture prior to World War II as part of a program to identify the best breed to work as sheepdogs in the country.
In later decades, an Anatolian shepherd, or Kangal dog, was an excellent livestock guardian who allowed ranchers to protect their livestock from wolves, which could no longer be killed under the Endangered Species Act. Similarly, ranchers in Namibia have been encouraged to use Anatolian shepherds to protect their livestock and flocks in an effort to reduce the killing of cheetahs.
Anatolian shepherd characteristics
The purebred Anatolian shepherd is a member of the American Kennel Club's working group. They are a large breed, and males tend to be larger than female dogs. A male shepherd weighs between 110 and 150 pounds and grows about 29 inches tall. Females only grow to about 27 inches tall and weigh 80 to 120 pounds.
These dogs have a double coat, and many are fawn in color with a black mask, although other colors and patterns are accepted under the breed standard, including brindle, white, and liver.
Anatolian shepherd temperament & training
Breed is not an indicator of temperament; however, the Anatolian shepherd dog can be described as independent, reserved, and loyal. They can be fiercely protective and vigilant and are a good option for a guard dog.
They are incredibly intelligent, but their job of guarding their flock means that they are also independent, which can make training a challenge. Obedience training is a must but be sure to keep your patience and use only positive reinforcement dog training methods. Don't hesitate to consult with a professional dog trainer if you need help working with the breed.
The Anatolian shepherd's protective instincts are considered a benefit for many who want a member of this breed. However, this trait means early socialization is even more important for these large dogs.
Anatolian shepherd grooming
As guardian dogs who spent their lives outside caring for flocks of sheep and other livestock, Anatolian shepherds have a thick undercoat to protect them from the elements. In most cases, weekly brushing is enough to keep your dog's coat healthy, but when the undercoat is shedding, which occurs twice per year, plan on brushing your dog a couple of times per week.
Anatolian shepherd exercise & health
Anatolian shepherds have a moderate energy level. They need a walk once or twice a day or a long play session in the yard to meet their exercise needs. Remember that the breed has an independent streak, so it is important to keep your pup on a leash when you are outside.
The expected life span of an Anatolian shepherd is between 11 and 13 years of age. These dogs tend to be healthy, but they do have some health issues, such as an inversion of the eyelids called entropion. Anatolian breed dogs are also prone to be more sensitive to anesthesia compared to other breeds.
Unlike many other large breeds, Anatolian shepherds are not prone to health problems like bloat or hip dysplasia. Even so, a reputable breeder will ensure their dogs have a hip and elbow evaluation.
Anatolian shepherd puppies
Anatolian shepherd puppies reach their full adult size when they are 19 months of age. At 3 months of age, female puppies weigh between 31.5 and 40.9 pounds, and male puppies weigh between 37.6 and 47.3 pounds. By the time puppies are 6 months of age, their size has nearly doubled. Female puppies typically weigh between 58.9 and 74.9 pounds, while male puppies weigh between 69.5 and 85.1 pounds.
If you decide that an Anatolian shepherd is right for you, check the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America to find a list of breeders.