This large dog is known for fending off large predators, is highly intelligent, and loyal. They are said to be from Turkey, and those who know the history of the breed say that several of these dogs can band together to fend off a pack of wolves. The Anatolian Shepherd dog is a good animal to have if you are a farmer who owns sheep and wants them protected from predators.
The Anatolian Shepherd dog is also known as the Turkish Mountain dog because these animals are believed to have originated in the Anatolia region of central Turkey. They were bred to protect sheep from large prey with little or no guidance from humans. They would often travel with the sheep that were left to graze free range in the mountains. Often, they would search for predators in order to make a preemptive strike to protect the herd.
These large dogs can weigh up to 150 pounds. Males can be up to 31” high and females can be up to 30” high. They have a thick coat that is densest around the neck to protect their throats from predators. They are piebald or a light cream color with different colored patches that cover over a quarter of their bodies. Sometimes they may have a black mask or black ears.
The Anatolian Shepherd dog is bred to protect herds without direction from people. They are intelligent and instinctive and can learn commands quickly. Owners can leave their herds of sheep in pastures away from farmhouses with Anatolians for days at a time and know they are safe. However, they are also known to be willful and may not always obey the commands of their owners.
If a family socializes their Anatolian from a young age, they increase the chance that the dog will be more willing to please. They do well with children and get along with other animals if they are introduced as a pup. While they may be willful, they are also loving and loyal dogs because of their main purpose of protecting livestock.
The AKC recognized the Anatolian Shepherd dog and places it in its working dog group. They are usually used as farm dogs and typically guard sheep. If you are a famer who has noticed an increase in predators in your area, or hear noises on your property at night, you may want to purchase an Anatolian. If you set your dog out at night to guard your sheep, it is most likely they will ferret out the predator and either kill it or drive it away.
There are owners of an Anatolian Shepherd dog that have also owned other herd dogs and prefer the Anatolian. They claim they learn quicker and don’t need the guidance other breeds of herd dog need. Therefore, if you own sheep or are looking to add this type of livestock to your farm, you may want to consider finding a breeder of Anatolian Shepherd dogs in your area.