• Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Anatolian Shepherds in Great Britain
  • Anatolian Shepherd in Great Britain
  • Anatolian Shepherd
  • Anatolian Shepherds in the UK
  • Anatolian Shepherds
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dogs
  • Anatolian Shepherd in the UK
  • Anatolian Shepherd Breed
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Barking Level:
Good with Children:
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Height: 71 - 76cm M | 66 - 71cm F
Weight: 45 - 68kg M | 41 - 59kg F
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

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The Anatolian shepherd originated in Anatolia, Turkey and was developed as a pastoral dog. Hardy and agile, the Anatolian shepherd is a rugged dog that’s protective and territorial.

This giant breed dog is not for first-time owners or households with very young children. However, the Anatolian shepherd can be a loving, loyal, and protective dog to those who understand the breed’s unique characteristics.

The Anatolian shepherd is intelligent and trainable but has a stubborn streak. As a hardworking and active dog, the Anatolian shepherd needs plenty of exercise daily. It is a clean dog that requires minimal grooming.

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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. The breed travelled with their 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, and Australia registered it in the Kennel Club in 1985.

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Appearance and Grooming

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 69–74 centimetres at the withers and weighs 100–120 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.

The Anatolian shepherd is 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.

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Temperament and Intelligence

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, it 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 towards 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 predispositions 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.

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Nutrition and Feeding

A typical serving for this large dog is four to six 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 an adult Anatolian shepherd per day:

  • Senior and less active: up to 2,000 calories daily
  • Typical adult: up to 2,200 calories daily
  • Physically active/working dog: up to 2,700 calories daily

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 contains necessary amino acids that meet a puppy's 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 a trusted vet to ensure its overall well-being and improve chances of a longer lifespan.

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Health and Exercise

The average lifespan of an Anatolian is thirteen to fifteen years. It is generally healthy, but it 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.

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Cost of Ownership

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–£120.

Basic dog stuff like crate, collar, lead, 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 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.

Anatolian Shepherd Breed Highlights

  • The Anatolian shepherd is an intelligent, loyal, and loving dog to its family.
  • It can be a good companion for experienced dog owners who understand its unique traits.
  • It has a tendency to be dog-aggressive, but early training and socialisation can help tone down its protective nature and become more well-rounded. 
  • Grooming is a breeze since it is essentially a clean dog.
  • It requires plenty of exercise. 
Anatolian Shepherd

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The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.

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