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The Anatolian Shepherd is an old breed that originated in Anatolia, Turkey. This giant breed and herding dog is not for first-time owners or households with very young children. However, it can be a loving, loyal and protective dog to those who understand its unique characteristics. It is intelligent and trainable but tends to be stubborn. It is a clean dog that requires minimal grooming. As a hardworking and active dog, it needs plenty of exercise daily.
Are you considering an Anatolian Shepherd? Here is a brief background of this gigantic and protective dog.
The Anatolian Shepherd’s history dates back to thousands of years. It was named after its motherland of Anatolia in Turkey. It was bred as a flock protector against lions, tigers, bears, and cheetahs. It travelled with its nomadic owners who usually stopped feeding them after puppyhood so they hunted small animals for food. Through this, it learned to be self-sufficient without hurting its own flock. Some Turkish breeders believe that this breed is a cross between the Kangal dog and the Akbash dog.
Author Charmian Hussey brought this guard dog in the UK from central Turkey in the 1970s.
The Anatolian is a giant breed that is agile and powerfully built. It has a big head with small triangular ears and a thick muscular neck. It stands 69 to 74 centimetres at the withers and weighs between 100 and 120 pounds. It has a short outer coat with a thick undercoat and comes in all colours. Only merle is considered a fault by The Kennel Club.
Anatolian Shepherds are naturally clean and not prone to that distinctive dog odour. It would only need minimal bathing of at least four times a year and maintaining its short hair is easy. However, since it sheds heavily at particular times, regular brushing is needed to remove dead skin. That being said, basic grooming like tooth brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning are necessary to keep a clean and healthy dog. Also inspect its skin for redness, irritation and fleas.
The Anatolian is loyal, protective and loving to its family. However, it has a tendency to be serious and dignified. It was bred as an independent and powerful livestock guard dog, which is why it is a very challenging pet. It may not be a good choice for first-time owners or families with very young children. It is suited for strong-willed people who have had long experiences in dog ownership. It can be a good companion for families who understand its unique traits, and ready for a large and protective dog.
This type of dog is intelligent and highly trainable. However, he is very independent and may choose to ignore a command. It is not a pushover and would typically challenge its owners regarding dominance. It is friendly, composed and affectionate towards its immediate family, its flock members. It is suspicious of strangers and can be very reserved even to relatives and friends. Some can also be dog aggressive. Early training and socialisation can help tone down its protective nature and become more well-rounded.
There are certain pre-dispositions in breeds when it comes to their general characteristics. However, the development of their personalities, temperaments and intelligence also depend on their upbringing and environment.
A typical serving for this large dog is 4 to 6 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Food should be measured and free-feeding never be done as it may lead to bloating and obesity. Like in every breed, the amount of food depends on its age, size, build, activity level and metabolism.
Typical calorie needs of adult Anatolian Shepherd per day:
Giant breeds have specific nutritional needs so you have to choose a reliable brand that offers a formula specifically made for them. Their accelerated growth rate makes them sensitive to nutrient and caloric imbalances, both deficiencies and excesses. The number one health issue related to rapid growth of giant breed puppies is Developmental Orthopaedic Disease (DOD). Owners need to do their research to avoid this as well as obesity and bloat.
High quality protein found in chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, and egg contain necessary amino acids that meet puppies’ nutritional needs. Cheap fillers like wheat, soy and corn should be avoided. A common misconception with large or giant breed nutrition is giving too much calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D for bone growth. On the contrary, studies show that high levels of these vitamins and minerals are linked to DOD. In fact, limiting the intake of these and the number of calories will slow growth rates.
Closely monitor your giant breed and work closely with your trusted vet to ensure its overall wellbeing and improve chances of a longer lifespan.
The average lifespan of Anatolians is 13 to 15 years. It is generally healthy but is predisposed to certain health conditions such as thyroid problems, Entropion, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Demodectic Mange, bloat, and Developmental Orthopaedic Disease (DOD) as previously mentioned. It is also sensitive to some medications and chemicals. It is very adaptable to living indoors and/or outdoors but doesn’t do well living in a kennel or being chained. Doing so is not only a form of animal cruelty but will also cause aggression.
As a large working dog, the Anatolian needs daily exercise such as long walks, and free time in a spacious, high-fenced yard. Taking it to a dog park may not be a good idea. It is very territorial and may be aggressive towards other dogs. Not being able to release its energy can lead to destructive habits such as digging and chewing.
Owning a dog is a bit similar to raising a human baby as it involves a lot of expenses. Unlike other types of pets that you only need to feed and then basically ignore, dogs need more attention and effort. Plus, you need to shed more money for its needs to be met. Larger dogs are costlier to keep than smaller ones. For the Anatolian Shepherd, the monthly cost is roughly £80 to £120.
Basic dog stuff like crate, collar, leash, bowl, toys, and grooming essentials will be about £250. The highest expense will be high quality food, which will be £60 or more a month. As any dog expert will tell you, make sure to regularly take your pet to the vet for routine check-ups and timely annual immunisation and flea/worm treatments. It is also advisable to obtain a pet insurance to avoid higher vet bills if your canine requires complicated procedures and long-term treatments. It will cost around £240 for basic cover and £500 for lifetime annually.
Are you sure the Anatolian Shepherd is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Having doubts if an Anatolian Shepherd is a good fit for you and your family? Check out our Pet Pet Finder to find out the right breed for you.
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