The Anatolian Shepherd is an ancient breed of guardian dogs hailing from Turkey. As the name suggests, Anatolian Shepherd dogs were bred to guard livestock from all kinds of animal predators, and the breed continues to serve this important function even today. Imported to Britain in the 1960s by archaeologist-author Charmian Hussey, Anatolian Shepherds are believed to have existed for over six millennia.
In Turkey the breed is also known as “Karabash,” meaning black head. Anatolian Shepherds were bred to protect sheep from predators like wolves and bears, so they are not only strong but look very powerful and impressive. Females of the breed are 27 to 31 inches tall, while the males measure 29 to 36 inches. The average weight is 80-150 lbs. Their thick double coats can be up to 4 inches long, and according to the breed standard, all colors are acceptable. Common colors are white, and white with large spots on less than a third of the body.
Anatolian Shepherds are easy to groom and should be brushed two to three times a week. They need daily exercise in the form of a brisk, long walk or accompanied jog; adult dogs are calm and not fond of games like fetching but rather prefer to run or swim. They are very loyal and protective of children, but don’t like to be their playmates. Bred to be independent and intimidating to predators, Anatolian Shepherd dogs are intelligent and even with training, can sometimes choose not to obey commands. They are not aggressive and get along well with other pets. Roaming is a common working behavior, so these dogs are not suited to live as pets in small spaces. Microchipping is also recommended.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a generally healthy breed with a higher than average lifespan (11 to 13 years) for a breed its size. They sometimes exhibit entropion and canine hip dysplasia, and should be tested for both before breeding.