Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Life span: 11-13 Years
Height: 74-81cm (Male); 71-79cm (Female)
Weight: 80-150 pounds
Originating in the Anatolian region of Turkey, this big dog is considered an amazing guard dog due to its ability to recognize what the situation needs to protect its territory. They protect those they consider their family, regardless of what species they are, be it human or animal, and will be loyal no matter what.
The Anatolian Shepherd dog has a slender and agile, although big, body. Its ears are positioned high atop its head, hanging down, and its tail is long and will curve over the body when something catches its attention, otherwise resting below its body with a slight curve. Its eyes are brown with a black nose, usually with a black muzzle as well. Its double coat is short and hard to the touch, getting longer around the neck and the tail, although the length may vary depending on hereditary factors and seasons. It sheds during summer and spring. Its coat can be white, brown or tan.
Named after its homeland, the Anatolian Shepherd dog comes from the Anatolian region in Turkey. Its ancestors date back 6,000 years, thought to be brought into what is now known as Turkey by tribes from Asia. Constantly moving around due to the weather and rough grounds, they became dependent on sheep and goats, therefore having a nomadic lifestyle. That is where the ancestors of the Anatolian Shepherd dog became guardians of these animals, staying with them all the time, making sure they all went in the right direction and protecting them from predators. They were rarely fed by their owners during adulthood, resulting in them hunting for their food, but never harming the animals it guarded. Although the Department of Agriculture from the United States had already received some dogs from this breed to test as guard dogs, they had their proper introduction into the country until 1970. This year, a club for this breed was also created thanks to navy officer Robert Ballard, who fell in love with this breed while he was in Turkey and began breeding them in California. In 1996 it was recognized within the Miscellaneous class by the American Kennel Club, later moving into the Working class in 1998.
As puppies, they tend to get along well with other house pets and bond quickly with those it considers its family. For this to continue through adulthood and for the dog to not become aggressive against others, it has to be constantly socialized as a puppy. A grown Anatolian Shepherd dog is less likely to accept new household members, especially if not socialized. Due to its protective nature, this dog cannot be left without a leash when walking outside and needs a fence for the backyard. They need someone who establishes dominance as its leader in order to be able to control it, and obedience training is a must. Once this happens, the Anatolian Shepherd will become very attached to its leader and will provide plenty of love and affection to its family, along with being a great guard dog.
This breed tends to be very healthy, but like all dogs, can acquire certain diseases.
Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.
Entropion, which affects both lower eyelids, is an inward rolling of the eyelid and is treated through various surgeries to prevent ectropion (a rolling out of the eyelid).
Demodectic Mange, or demodicosis, a disorder in which mites (which would otherwise be harmless), passed from the mother to the puppies with weak immune systems, cause hair loss and red, scaly skin. This disease usually passes on its own, but should be checked by a professional in any case.
Even though the Anatolian Shepherd dog has a short coat, don’t underestimate the care it will need. Usually, these dogs require only a weekly brush, but might need more during shedding season. Its nails need regular trimming, and it rarely needs baths. Teeth and ears need constant checking and cleaning to prevent any infections. It doesn’t need constant exercise, and a walk once in a while or a fenced in yard should suffice. However, when taken out, remember to keep them on a leash, as it is better to be safe than sorry. They need obedience training and heavy socialization, given their natural wariness towards others due to their protectiveness of their family. It is highly recommended to not provide them with any protection or guard dog training.