The Anatolian Shepherd originated in ancient Mesopotamia around 6,000 years ago, after which it was taken to Turkey. Once there, it was widely-used for guarding the nomads' sheep. As it was a big dog with big bones and a lot of muscle, it was perfect for this job. It was used more for guarding and protecting the sheep instead of herding them.
In the fifties, America discovered this breed and fell in love with it, exporting it from Turkey. It set up a proper breeding program to get this breed out of the wild job it did in Turkey, and into the less dangerous job of guarding homes and families.
Males should be between 28 to 30 inches (71 to 76 cm) tall at the shoulders, and females should be between 26 to 28 inches (66 to 71 cm) tall. The weight of males should be between 100 to 150 pounds (45 to 65 kg), and that of females should be between 90 to 130 pounds (40 to 60 kg). The double coat is short and rough, but is longer at the neck and tail. It is generally white in color with a black patch on the muzzle. Other coat colors that are accepted are white, pinto, and brindle. Ears are triangular in shape and may be cropped. The tail is high-set and long. Eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped. The eye color can vary from dark-brown to light-amber. Eye rims are black except in dogs that have a liver-colored coat, wherein they are brown, the same color as the nose. This dog is very proportional and muscular.
This breed is extremely independent because of its original purpose of guarding. Thus, this dog has a mind of its own. It needs an owner who can consistently assert that he/she is the boss and that the dog should listen to him/her, otherwise it can be a real handful. This dog needs intensive socialization from an early age to make it companionable with people and other animals. Although it is intelligent and a quick-learner, training can be a bit of a problem. Thus, it is important to put this dog through some obedience training.
Health and Maintenance
This breed is prone to hypothyroidism and entropion. It also has sensitivity to anesthesia. Although hip dysplasia does occur in this breed, it is not that common. This dog takes a longer time to develop its immunity as compared to other breeds. The life expectancy is 12 to 15 years.
It is not suitable for apartment living and needs at least a small yard to run around. It needs daily long walks apart from this yard exercise. It is inactive indoors and gets bored easily. It needs a job to do. A fence that is at least 5 feet tall keeps the dog at a distance from strangers. It is required because this breed tends to be suspicious of people it does not know.
This breed does not require much grooming, except in the shedding season which comes twice a year. That is the only time that this dog sheds heavily. Otherwise, the coat requires minimal maintenance.
The Anatolian Shepherd is an excellent guard dog which is very good for protecting the home. However, it needs a little work like socialization and obedience training, to turn it into a good house pet. Only get this dog if it is possible for you to give it time.