Anatolian Shepherd is a breed originating from the Anatolian region of Turkey where the dogs were bred to protect livestock from predators. One of the main characteristics of this breed is its protective nature and its resilience and endurance. The dogs display a thick, dense coat as protection against predator attacks and inclement weather.
The breed has a large size and a robust structure. Males can weigh between 50 and 68 kg, while females range between 36 and 54 kg. The height in males is approximately 74 centimeters, and in females 69 cm. Its life expectancy is 11 to 13 years and it is not recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).
Breed history in brief
Anatolian Shepherd originates from Anatolia, a peninsula in Turkey where sheep and goat herders bred a livestock guardian to protect them from attacks by wolves or bears. The Coban Kopegi is considered the ancestor of today's Anatolian Shepherd.
Some dogs arrived in the United States a few years before the outbreak of World War II, but it was in the 1950s and 1960s that American ranchers imported them for guarding duties. In 1970 the breed became permanently established in the United States, but it was not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1996. Today, Anatolian Shepherds continue to be excellent working dogs, although they are also bred as companion animals.
The body of the Anatolian Shepherd is proportionate with a deep, arched chest and a tucked up back. The eyes are medium-sized, wide-set and almond-shaped, varying in color from light amber to darker shades of brown. The ears are V-shaped, long and drooping to the sides. The tail is long, high set. When the dog is relaxed the tail is carried low with the curled end upwards, while, when alert, it is raised forming a wheel.
The coat can be short (2.5 cm) or rough (10 cm). It is also thick and dense in order to protect the dog from inclement weather. The hair on the neck is slightly longer. The coat is usually white or fawn with a black mask, although it can have any color, spot or color pattern.
The breed is characterized by its independence and protective nature. They are not very affectionate with family, but are very loyal to their owners. Anatolian Shepherds are intelligent dogs that stand out for their strength and high endurance which makes them excellent working dogs.
Common health problems
As with other dog breeds, Anatolian Shepherds can be prone to health problems. Some of the most common disorders and diseases are volvulus-gastric dilatation, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and entropion.
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