Do You Want an Anatolian Shepherd Dog? Read This First…

A Bit About the Anatolian Shepherd’s History

If you’re interested in owning an Anatolian Shepherd, one of the first things you might want to look into is the Anatolian Shepherd dog temperament.  If you want to own a dog that you pretty much have to domesticate yourself, then you have your work cut out for you with this breed.

The Anatolian Shepherd was bred to be in charge of their master’s flocks without needing any further direction or assistance from humans – a very independent breed.  Because of this, you may find it to be rather challenging to own one of these dogs.

Interestingly, there has been some debate about whether or not the Anatolian Shepherd is its own distinct breed, or if it’s just a general umbrella under which other shepherd dogs in Anatolia that look similar would also fall under.

Some dogs that are also considered to be Anatolian Shepherds are the Kangal, the Akbash, and the Aksaray Malaklisi.  Many Turkish breeders consider the Anatolian to be a mix of the Kangal and the Akbash.

The general classification of “shepherd dog,” however, can be split up into two groups: herding dogs and livestock guardian dogs.  Both can apply to the Anatolian.

Other types of herding dogs include Border Collies, Poodles, and Rottweilers, while livestock guardian dogs include the Himalayan Sheepdog, the Tibetan Mastiff, and the Komondor.

Understanding the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Temperament

What type of work goes into owning a dog like this, you may ask?  Well, for one thing, you need to socialize the Anatolian in order to make them into suitable companions.

These dogs are definitely smart and can learn new tricks quick, but they may decide for themselves that they just don’t feel like listening to you.

They’re also very strong dogs.  Turkish shepherds have reported seeing the Anatolian take on a wolf pack and actually bring down one or two of them.

Because of their strength and agility, the Anatolian is not only a proud dog but also a confident one.  You could almost imagine it puffing out its chest if you asked it to protect your flock.

What’s good about the Anatolian Shepherd dog temperament, though, is that it is not one born from aggression.  These dogs are independent, but they don’t get crazy with it; they simply act with conviction.

Living with an Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Importantly, Anatolian shepherds are roamers, so it is strongly suggested that you both micro-chip and tag yours in case he decides to run off.  It’s in their blood to seek out predators before predators can attack.

This breed is also perhaps not the best to opt for if you live in smaller quarters.  Though, they can do well with other animals – even cats – if they are introduced to them as puppies and so long as they are given their own space.

Also, if you have intentions of taking your Anatolian to the beach to play fetch, he’s more than likely not up for it. This breed, both puppies and adults alike, would rather run and swim than play fetch.

Anatolians will still act like puppies up until they’re between a year and a half and two and a half years old – then they mean business.

The Physicality of an Anatolian Shepherd Dog

The agility and strength of this speed contributes greatly to the Anatolian Shepherd dog temperament.  This breed is essentially the dog version of a lumberjack – it’s rugged, large, and incredibly strong.  It also has well developed sight and hearing to aid it in protecting livestock.

The fact that the Anatolian is also incredibly fast and equally agile helps it to quickly find and take down any potentially encroaching predators.  The American Kennel Club actually considers the Anatolian to be a working dog.

This dog is definitely one that you could consider to be “muscular.”  Their necks are thick, their heads are broad, and their bodies are stocky.  Males are usually between 26 and 31 inches tall, while females are typically 27 to 30 inches tall.

The Anatolian weighs between 90 and 150 pounds, with males weighing in on the larger end of the spectrum and females at the smaller end.

Their coats can be a variety of colors, though the most common ones are white cream, “sesame,” and white with large spots that don’t usually cover anything more than 30 percent of their bodies.  They may also have a black mask and/or ears, but not always.

Like some of the other shepherd dogs, the Anatolian has a thick double coat that needs to be brushed once or twice a week in warmer weather as a result of excessive shedding.

The hair on an Anatolian’s neck is thicker in order to protect their throats (makes sense if you’re hunting dangerous predators), though they may look heavier than they actually are, thanks to their thicker coats.

The Lifespan of an Anatolian Shepherd Dog

The Anatolian actually lives longer than other breeds that are similar to their size.  The Anatolian typically lives, on average, about 10.75 years.  Other breeds usually only make it to between six and eight years old.

During a small sample study (23 deceased dogs), it was discovered that the most common causes of death were, respectively, cancer, “combinations,” cardiac-related, or simply old age.

So, in a nutshell, the Anatolian Shepherd dog is a breed that will give you a lot of hard work, if you’re up for it, but it can also be a rewarding accomplishment once she’s trained.

The Anatolian Shepherd dog temperament may be difficult to work with at first, but all you need is patience, consistency, early exposure to other animals, and the ability to give this breed room to roam (just make sure you microchip her first).

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