Anatolian Shepherd: Breed Information, Facts, Traits & More

Last Updated on January 8, 2023 by Becky Roberts

. The Anatolian Shepherd, a rare breed, is certainly NOT suited to all families . If you’re lucky enough to have one of these guys in your family, you can expect a rewarding relationship.

The Anatolian Shepherd is also known by other names such as the Kangal and the Coban Kopegi. However, unless you’ve been to Turkey or lived on a ranch in America, you are unlikely to have ever met this lovely, but powerful dog .. He belongs to the big boy club and needs a large home with plenty of space and a protected flock.

There is some debate in the canine kingdom that the Anatolian Shepherd is a separate breed from the Kangal. Most breed purists believe that the Anatolian Shepherd is a completely different breed to the Kangal, even though they are derived from similar breeding lines and historical lines. AKC consolidated the Kangal, Anatolian Shepherd , and considers them to be the same breed .. This comprehensive guide to Anatolian Shepherds will help you decide if they are right for you.

Anatolian Shepherd


The Anatolian Shepherd is an ancient breed, with his Molosser ancestors dating back to 2,000 B.C., and he is named after the land from which he hails, Anatolia in the central part of Turkey. He was originally bred to guard flocks and is one the most independent canines .

He is not fed much after puberty, and is expected to feed and defend himself in nature. However, he can tell the difference between his flock of animals and his own. He can often be found roaming through the vast Turkish countryside with a spiked steel collar which protects him against predators.

The Anatolian Shepherd first came to America in the 1930s when he was gifted by the Turkish Government, and he was first used as a ranch dog to protect flocks of sheep from wolves and bears. In 1973 the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which protects endangered species, including the wolf, improved the Anatolian Shepherd’s popularity as flock guardians thanks to his unique ability to scare predators without the need to harm them. He is still America’s favorite Cowboy friend, and despite the ESA , changes, he is likely not to change.

In 2019, the American Kennel Club (AKC) ranked him as the 90th most popular dog breed in America, and overall he is described as loyal, independent, and reserved. If you’ve never met an Anatolian Shepherd before (and don’t worry, most people haven’t) then be sure to check out this Instagram page as it provides a real insight into their striking size and personality, both at work and in the family home!


The Anatolian Shepherd

is a guardian and a worker. His first and most important personality trait is his work ethic. He can be extremely intimidating to anyone outside his family pack or flock. His loud, booming bark is enough to scare away cheetahs as well as wolves.

If a predator ignores him and continues to attack, he defends his flock . This dog is considered one of the most guardian dogs on the planet. You should consider this when you bring one into your home. Although he can’t be used for work, he will always be a loyal friend.

He is gentle and loving, and despite his intimidating exterior, enjoys his evenings at the feet of his master. He is an tranquil dog . He is independent and happy to spend his days in the garden, away from his family. This is great news if you are looking for a dog that is less dependent and isn’t going to be your shadow.

Because he has innate guarding tendencies, his family is very protective. He is very suspicious about people who aren’t part of his immediate pack. He is always alert and on guard duty. He is likely to be quiet and watchful, even if friends come to visit the family home several days a month. Do you expect him to greet visitors ,? Many Anatolian Shepherd owners will tell their guests to not make too much fuss of him unless they allow it.

The Anatolian Shepherd is a fierce dog and needs a strong leader who will instill discipline, boundaries, and limits into the home. At two years old, he will be mature and his authoritative and guarding traits will flourish. His instinctive sense of hierarchy in his pack makes him a pack dog. Therefore, his human family must also understand the pack mentality to ensure a harmonious environment.

Size & Appearance

The male Anatolian Shepherd will measure up to 29 inches tall, from paw to shoulder, whereas the female Anatolian Shepherd measures up to 27 inches tall. The male will also weigh between a hefty 110 and 150 pounds, whereas the females will weigh much less between 80 to 120 pounds.

He is a big, powerful-looking dog and not someone you would want to meet by yourself if you find yourself in his fields!

He is a rugged looking dog ,, but he is intelligent and powerful. His large head is accentuated by his large ears that drop down. His broad muzzle extends to the almond-colored dark brown eyes. He is well-built with a long neck and a strong torso.

His tail has a long, curled end ,. If he is alert, his tail will curl more. His full breed standard provides detailed information regarding his appearance. Because of his size, the Anatolian was introduced as a parent breed for the American Mastiff (designer dog) over 30 years ago. He was also added to the line to create the American Alsatian.

Coat & Colors

The Anatolian Shepherd’s thick coat measures about 1 inch in length. It is a medium . His neck hair is usually slightly longer than the rest of his body and more dense. It can also feel rough to the touch.

His coat comes in 8 recognized colors including brindle, blue fawn, fawn, grey fawn, liver, red fawn, white, and also his most recognizable color being the light biscuit with the black facial mask. His coat can also take other markings, as outlined in the breed standard.


The Anatolian Shepherd is a medium energy dog, but one who is self-exercising. He is unique in that he doesn’t require to go for walks as such. Instead, he will exercise by himself and protect his property. Through his self-governed walking, he will actively exercise between 45 and 60 minutes of exercise a day.

Living Conditions

While he is open to going on a walk with his master he must be kept in a home with at minimum 4 acres of land so he can roam .. Simply put, the Anatolian Shepherd will not be able to live with you if you don’t have the land.

This land must be enclosed, reinforced , so that he can escape if he feels there is a danger to his family. It is recommended to use a 6-foot fence, along with an additional 2-foot underground barrier which will stop him digging out. Although he doesn’t necessarily dig for escape, he will dig to entertain himself or keep cool. It is always a good idea to have a second 2-foot underground barrier . To protect him from the harsh elements, he should have access to shelter outdoors.

Once his guarding shift has been completed and he is free to roam as he pleases, he will be able to join his family and spend the evening with them. He should be kept in a larger house with enough room ..

While he is a calm and peaceful dog, his size makes him not suitable for families with younger children ,. Ideally, he should be placed in homes with older children, preferably High School-age.

If you have a multi-pet household or wish to add another pet, the best option is to bring the Anatolian Shepherd as a puppy. He will learn that all the animals are part of the family. It is not always possible to introduce other animals into your family once he is an adult.

He should be with someone who is going to be there for him. he’ll be lost if he doesn’t have a purpose .. He will likely become restless and develop destructive behavior if there is nothing to do.

Some owners also comment that he will protect their children and other pets if he’s not on the farm protecting the flock. This can cause issues within a family environment because while he may have good intentions, the overprotectiveness of any family member can be dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. This behavior can be deterred by a successful early training program.


The Anatolian Shepherd is more demanding intensive training than an average dog. As such, he is not suitable for first-time dog owners. If you don’t have any experience with Anatolian Shepherds, or other flock guardian dogs like them, it is a good idea to seek the guidance of a professional dog trainer who has experience with this breed. Conventional dog training methods won’t work with him. He needs someone he can look up too.

The Anatolian Shepherd will require the earliest socialization in order to become familiar with all possible situations and sounds. To increase his politeness around dogs and people, it is especially important to introduce him to new people.

Although he won’t be friendly, he can be taught to be a well-mannered pooch with the right training. You can introduce him to all kinds of dogs by taking him to puppy classes or to the local dog field. Just make sure not to let him loose in public spaces.

The Anatolian Shepherd is born at the age two ,. His guarding abilities aren’t fully developed before that time. As a puppy, he may not display the strong guarding traits we have described in this article. But don’t worry, they will develop naturally. He will become a flock protector without any training.

Overall, a good training program for a puppy is essential. It will set the tone of your relationship with him. It is important to remember that the Anatolian Shepherd is not a breed that can be suppressed by training , due to centuries of flock guardianship.


The Anatolian Shepherd is a very healthy dog breed whose main concern is Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, which is expected considering his size. Reputable breeders only breed healthy dogs. Their health certificates will indicate his hip and elbow scores.

Another issue to look out for is Entropion, which is characterized by the lower eyelids folding or creasing inwards, causing irritation, pain, and vision impairment. His lifespan is between 11 and 13 years on average.

The Anatolian Shepherd sensitive ,, so make sure to remind the Veterinarian of this before he has any treatment. The Anatolian Shepherd is a rare breed, and the Veterinarian may not have dealt with it before.


The Anatolian Shepherd should consume 4 cup of food per day once he has reached maturity. Food should be targeted at large-sized dogs and extra-large dogs.

Of course, his food requirements will change as your dog grows in size and age. However, if in doubt, speak to your Veterinarian. food costs can add up ,, so make sure you consider this before you welcome him to your home.

Anatolian Shepherds hunt themselves while they guard their flock. If he feels hungry, don’t be surprised that he grabs a small animal from your yard.


He should be brushed several times per week in order to maintain a manageable coat and prevent his shedding hairs from building up in your home. His shedding is more intense in the spring and summer so you’ll need to brush him daily to keep it manageable. If he’s a ranch worker, then he’ll need less frequent brushing.

As a natural dog, he is likely to come in contact with fleas and parasites. It is crucial to ensure that he has current vaccinations and is checked annually. The grooming routines for dogs such as nail trimming and ear cleaning are similar to any other dog. However, check him every week.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Your first point of call in your search for a reputable Anatolian Shepherd breeder should be to visit the AKC’s breeder page, as they have selected a handful of reputable breeders across the country.

The Anatolian Shepherd is a rare breed. There are not many breeders , so be prepared to travel. The average cost of an Anatolian Shepherd puppy is around $1,000 from a reputable breeder, and his litter size will be between 5 to 10 pups.

Alternatively you can search online to find breeders. However, it is important that you thoroughly research them , and read customer reviews. Unscrupulous breeders may try to make Anatolians out of other dogs and mixes.

Rescue & Shelters

The Anatolian Shepherd is a rare breed. However, owners often become overwhelmed by caring for him and underestimate his needs. The National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network lists adoptable dogs and details for regional contacts if you are keen to adopt one.

As Family Pets

  • The Anatolian Shepherd is a unique dog who has different needs.
  • Because of his stubborn streak, he is not suited to be a first-time dog owner.
  • He is a large boy who needs a large home, with at least 2-4 acres of enclosed land.
  • The Anatolian Shepherd should be used as a flock or livestock guardian.
  • He is happiest when he is working and not simply a companionship dog.
  • He is very protective of his family and estate.
  • If he feels that they are under threat then he will not hesitate to attack and defend.
  • The Anatolian Shepherd is gentle and placid in the home and enjoys relaxing with his family.
  • He is suspicious of strangers, so gated and reinforced fencing is required.
  • Fencing is critical to ensure that he cannot escape, nor can others enter.
  • He is a moderate shedder and as such he is not suited to families with dog allergies.
  • The Anatolian Shepherd is only suited to families with older children.
  • He should be raised as a puppy alongside other animals if you are in a multi-pet household.

Final Thoughts

The Anatolian Shepherd is a loving and gentle dog. He is dangerous and can be dangerous if his family is threatened. He is a calm and loving dog who enjoys spending time with his family. This is a striking juxtaposition that can be both appealing and scary for some.

He is not suitable for the average family. He is an excellent flock protector and family protector if you are able to meet his needs. He is also a loving and caring soul who loves his pack. He is a wonderful boy and just needs the right home.

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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