A large part of Central Anatolia is a high plateau of wide plains and rolling hills. Summers are dry, while winters are marked with heavy snowfalls and temperatures plunging well below freezing. Here in this environment, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a functional tool of the Turkish Shepherd.
Historically, since Babylonian times, there is documented a breed of large strong dogs with a heavy head. Some spectacular depictions of the breed dating back to 2,000 BC can be seen on the well preserved bas-reliefs in the Assyrian Rooms of the British Museum in London. With the advent of the first domestic sheep, the dogs went from "hunter" to "protector". The book of Job, which dates back to at least 1,800 BC and is set in the region of Turkey, makes reference to the dogs with the flocks.
Although Anatolians were brought to America as early as the 1950's, Anatolians were virtually unheard of in this country until the 1970s. That's when the Endangered Species Act triggered a search for a means of controlling predators without killing them. University and government agricultural researchers discovered primitive dogs like the Anatolian Shepherd Dog guarding flocks of sheep and goats in some of the world's oldest pastoral societies. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the dogs' mere presence was enough to keep carnivores away. Rarely is actual battle required, because even minor injuries can prove fatal for predators in the wild. That's fine with the Anatolians, who'd rather not fight - - it upsets their charges. An Anatolian's first defensive measure is visual deterrence. They simply stand and let themselves be seen. If that doesn't do the trick, intruders are greeted with a mild, throat-clearing sort of bark that will escalate, if necessary, to a bloodcurdling warning. That final warning is NOT an idle threat. With their legendary fearlessness, prodigious strength and cat-like agility they can drive off the largest of predators. Ironically, while the dogs protect livestock, they protect predators too by minimizing conflict with humans (as in the Cheetah Conservation Project in Nambibia, Africa). Today, several thousands of these dogs are defending America's pastures.
Most Anatolian authorities agree that, while they can make superb deeply bonded companions with proper and consistent socialization, they are not "pets" in the conventional sense of the word. Bred for millennia to exercise independent judgment in response to perceived danger, whether from four or two legged predators, these ancient guardian dogs WILL protect. While they are not aggressive the way guard dogs like Rottweilers or Dobermans can be, their protective reactions have been likened to the strike of a rattlesnake. Anatolians require substantial fencing in all but open range settings, and should never be allowed off leash off their property, with the possible exception of completely fenced in dog parks. Some Anatolians make wonderful Therapy dogs because of their calm temperaments, but "attack dog training" is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED for this breed because of their serious nature.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog of today has remained relatively unchanged from its ancestors because of the nature of its isolated existence and the fact that it is a landrace that has evolved based on function and not just a pretty face or a particular color. The Turks have for centuries been dependent upon the land for their livelihood, relying on domesticated animals as an integral part of their existence. For this reason, perhaps, the characteristics of the Anatolian have been so exactly preserved, characteristics well adapted to: Turkey's hot climate and terrain; the lifestyle of the shepherds that, until modern times, was nomadic; and the job of guarding the village flocks against fierce predators.
The first active breeding program in the United States was the result of the importation of a breeding pair of dogs by Lt. Robert C. Ballard, USN, who was stationed in Turkey from 1966 to 1968. Upon their return to the United States, the Ballards settled in El Cajon, California, where on August 16th, 1970, their imports Zorba and Peki produced the first recorded American-bred litter. The year 1970 also saw the founding of the National Breed Club, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America.
GENERAL APPEARANCE - Large, rugged, powerful and impressive, possessing great endurance and agility. Developed through a set of very demanding circumstances for a purely utilitarian purpose; he is a working guard dog without equal, with a unique ability to protect livestock. General impression - Appears bold, but calm, unless challenged. He possesses size, good bone, a well-muscled torso with a strong head. Reserve out of its territory is acceptable. Fluid movement and even temperament is desirable.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE - General balance is more important than absolute size. Dogs should be from 29 inches and weighing from 110 to 150 pounds proportionate to size and structure. Bitches should be from 27 inches, weighing from 80 to 120 pounds, proportionate to size and structure. Neither dog nor bitch appear fat. Both dog and bitch should be rectangular, in direct proportion to height. Measurements and weights apply at age 2 or older.
HEAD - Expression should be intelligent. Eyes are medium size, set apart, almond shaped and dark brown to light amber in color. Blue eyes or eyes of two different colors are a disqualification. Eye rims will be black or brown and without sag or looseness of haw. Incomplete pigment is a serious fault. Ears should be set on no higher than the plane of the head. V-shaped, rounded apex, measuring about four inches at the base to six inches in length. The tip should be just long enough to reach the outside corner of the eyelid. Ears dropped to sides. Erect ears are a disqualification. Skull is large but in proportion to the body. There is a slight centerline furrow, fore and aft, from apparent stop to moderate occiput. Broader in dogs than in bitches. Muzzle is blockier and stronger for the dog, but neither dog nor bitch would have a snipey head or muzzle. Nose and flews must be solid black or brown. Seasonal fading is not to be penalized. Incomplete pigment is a serious fault. Flews are normally dry but pronounced enough to contribute to "squaring" the overall muzzle appearance. Teeth and gums strong and healthy. Scissors bite preferred, level bite acceptable. Broken teeth are not to be faulted. Overshot, undershot or wry bite are disqualifications.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY - Neck slightly arched, powerful, and muscular, moderate in length with more skin and fur than elsewhere on the body, forming a protective ruff. The dewlap should not be pendulous and excessive. Topline will appear level when gaiting. Back will be powerful, muscular, and level, with drop behind withers and gradual arch over loin, sloping slightly downward at the croup. Body well proportioned, functional, without exaggeration. Never fat or soft. Chest is deep (to the elbow) and well-sprung with a distinct tuck up at the loin. Tail should be long and reaching to the hocks. Set on rather high. When relaxed, it is carried low with the end curled upwards. When alert, the tail is carried high, making a "wheel." Both low and wheel carriage are acceptable, when gaiting. "Wheel" carriage preferred. The tail will not necessarily uncurl totally.
FOREQUARTERS - Shoulders should be muscular and well developed, blades long, broad and sloping. Elbows should be neither in nor out. Forelegs should be relatively long, well-boned and set straight with strong pasterns. The feet are strong and compact with well-arched toes, oval in shape. They should have stout nails with pads thick and tough. Dewclaws may be removed.
HINDQUARTERS - Strong, with broad thighs and heavily muscled. Angulation at the stifle and hock are in proportion to the forequarters. As seen from behind, the legs are parallel. The feet are strong and compact with well-arched toes, oval in shape. Double dewclaws may exist. Dewclaws may be removed.
COAT - Short (one inch minimum, not tight) to Rough (approximately 4 inches in length) with neck hair slightly longer. Somewhat longer and thicker at the neck and mane. A thick undercoat is common to all. Feathering may occur on the ear fringes, legs, breeching, and tail.
COLOR - All color patterns and markings are equally acceptable.
GAIT - At the trot, the gait is powerful yet fluid. When viewed from the front or rear, the legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. With increased speed, footfall converges toward the center line of gravity. When viewed from the side, the front legs should reach out smoothly with no obvious pounding. The withers and backline should stay nearly level with little rise or fall. The rear assembly should push out smoothly with hocks doing their share of the work and flexing well.
TEMPERAMENT - Alert and intelligent, calm and observant. Instinctively protective, he is courageous and highly adaptable. He is very loyal and responsive. Highly territorial, he is a natural guard. Reserve around strangers and off its territory is acceptable. Responsiveness with animation is not characteristic of the breed. Overhandling would be discouraged.
DISQUALIFICATIONS - Blue eyes or eyes of two different colors. Erect ears. Overshot, undershot, or wry bite.
Approved: June 1995
My Faith sounds like she wants to tear children limb from limb at home and behind the fence. She is loud and obnoxious when she sees dogs, children, bikes, cats. She is quiet at shows around all the other dogs. She is also very gentle with kids and very tolerant in crowds. Hard to believe she is the same dog. Yet she still can be a little snarky when a new ASD comes to show with our
2) grab at her suddenly (handshakes and hugs are fine) and
3) mind their Ps and Qs – they will be scrutinized until proven worthy. However, at a dog show or public place like Petsmart – he allows people to pet him. He endured 3 hours of "meet the breed" at Eukanuba in 2011. There is nothing wrong with stopping a person, or person with a dog, that is approaching you, by saying, "Please back away, I am teaching my dog to ignore other dogs and
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The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is native to the rural districts of Turkey and Asia Minor where it is the shepherd's companion and protector of livestock.
Is the Anatolian Shepherd Dog recognized by the American Kennel Club?
Yes. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is the 144th breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Anatolian is in the Working Group. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc. is the AKC recognized Parent Club.
How many Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are in the United States?
Over 5,000 Anatolian Shepherds have been registered in the United States since 1970, the year the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc. was founded. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are registered by the American Kennel Club and/or the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc.
How big does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog get?
At full maturity (age 3 years) the adult male should weigh 110-150 pounds and stand at least 29 inches at the shoulder. Females should weigh 80-120 pounds and stand at least 27 inches at the shoulder.
What are the colors and coat length of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?
The classic coloring of this breed is fawn with black mask. Other colors may include pinto, white, or brindle. Short and rough coats can be found within the same litter.
What is the lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?
The average lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd is between 11-13 years in a normal, safe environment. Working guardians have a high mortality rate.
What is the temperament of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a fiercely loyal guard dog that demonstrates a possessive attitude towards family, property and livestock. He is suspicious of strangers, reserved when in public and may expect a "formal introduction' before tolerating any familiarities. The Anatolian requires an owner who can be a strong, positive leader who consistently requires civilized behavior. This means SOCIALIZATION!
What training is recommended for Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?
It is necessary to SOCIALIZE the Anatolian Shepherd Dog from puppyhood. Obedience training is an absolute necessity. Schutzhund training is not encouraged nor recommended for this breed.
How much does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog eat?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a conservative eater, thriving on low protein foods, particularly lamb & rice diets.
Is the Anatolian Shepherd Dog good with children?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is affectionate with family and likes well-behaved children. He does not recognize the child as his master and may be protective of his child. Careful supervision of children around the dog is recommended due to the dog's large size and temperament.
What type of housing/fencing is needed for this breed?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog should be kept in a fenced area not only for his protection but so that he does not become a liability. A large yard with a 5 or 6 foot fence and a locked gate is ideal. The breed can endure extremes of temperature and terrain. A shelter from inclement weather (which he may or may not choose to use) and a shady area when it is warm should be provided.
How Is the Anatolian Shepherd Dog with other animals and family pets?
The most successful relationship with other animals is the situation when the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, as a puppy, is introduced under careful supervision to other animals. Puppies usually adapt well to other family pets (or livestock) and often take them into their protective sphere.
Does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog bark excessively?
Some Anatolian Shepherd Dogs will bark more than others. In general the adult Anatolian is usually quiet, only sounding the alarm when necessary. Puppies will test their owners and may bark at any noise or intruder.
Does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog have any breed related health problems?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog has not been prone to any particular disease. Hip dysplasia, while present in most large breeds, is not yet a serious problem. Responsible breeder's will radiograph all breeding stock. Entropion (inverted eyelids) is present in some lines, but like HD, it will not be widespread if breeders only breed from healthy stock. There is not a high incidence of bloat in the breed. Because of the drop ear, ear infections are fairly common. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog may be sensitive to anesthesia, especially if the dog is wearing a heavy-duty flea collar.
What grooming is required for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog requires standard care for coat, eyes, ears pads and nails. He tends to have little "doggy" odor. He does not drool. The coat requires little care except during seasonal shedding (molting) twice a year, at which time a thorough brushing is required.
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