By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 14th January 2023

Anatolian Shepherd Dog


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 14th January 2023

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a breed of very ancient livestock guardian dogs that originated almost 6000 years back in Turkey. With a large size and robust physique, these are one of the world’s biggest and most imposing dogs, characterized by vigilance and speed. They have a sturdy, muscular body with a thick neck, wide chest, a broad head, triangular, drop ears, and a dark, blunt muzzle. Their legs are stout enough to chase large animals attacking its flock.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Pictures

Quick Description

Other NamesKarabaş (Blackhead), Anatolian Blackhead (Anadolulu Karabaş), Kangal, Coban Kopegi, Karabash, Kara Bas, Kham Kepiji Dog, Scandinavian Nygaard Dog
CoatShort, wire, thick, double, rough
ColorsBlack, light brown, beige
TypeLivestock Guardian Dog
Group (of Breed)Purebred
Lifespan10-13 years
WeightMale: 110–143 pounds
Female: 88–121 pounds
Height (Size)Large;
Male: 29–32 inches
Female: 28–31 inches
Personality TraitsBrave, alert, loyal, intelligent, protective, reserved, peaceful
Litter Size5-10 puppies at a time
Good with ChildrenYes
Good with PetsYes (including dogs, if socialized)
Good for New/First-time OwnersNo
Country of OriginTurkey
Time of OriginApproximately 6000 years ago
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationAKC, FCI, ANKC, CKC, KC (UK), NZKC, UKC
Breed Standards

History & Development

The very primitive breed Anatolian Shepherd Dog developed in the Central Anatolian Plateau of Turkey around 6,000 years ago, deriving its name from this region.

The Anatolian Shepherds that are presently found in the US are believed to be a mixing of the three flock-guarding Mesopotamian breeds viz., the Kars that are found in the eastern part of Turkey, the Akbash from the west, and the Kangal from the central region.

Down the centuries, the Anatolian dog evolved as a very adaptable breed that was able to withstand varying circumstances like the nomadic lifestyle of their masters or being able to travel long distances. They were also able to confront abrupt climatic changes like the dry and hot summers and the frigid winters. They were primarily used as flock guards for guarding the horses and sheep of their owners from wild animals that were even larger than them including lions, tigers, leopards, jackals, wolves, bears, and cheetahs.

In 1967, the dog was brought to North America by Robert Ballard, a lieutenant of the US Navy, who was posted in Turkey. In 1970, the pair produced their first litter that provided the backbone of the Anatolian dog breed in the U.S. Long later, in 1996, the Anatolian Shepherd breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Temperament and Behavior

The ASD is an easy-going, intelligent breed entirely devoted to its family members. They carry a very calm but confident expression, being natural defenders of their families.

This dog has an inherent suspicion towards strangers, a trait that comes from its primitive deportment of protecting its family from any potential danger (repetition). This instinct has also made it territorial, but a good ‘watchdog’ and ‘guard dog’ at the same time. They are not vocal, and would only bark when needed, or when they feel provoked.

ASDs are peace-loving, serious-natured dogs that would seldom get involved in any trouble. They are good with children; however, their reticent nature might at times prevent them from being a good playmate that can satisfy the desire for the kids.



This large dog has an impulse to wander and needs to be taken out for a long walk and jogging every day. They should also be allowed to play and run around in an enclosed area, off leash. Such regular schedules would certainly keep them physically active as well as mentally sound.


This dog sheds quite often especially during the summer months. They have a double coat that is somewhat wiry and is relatively dense around the neck region (as an adaptation to protect the throat in the cold weather of the Anatolian Plateau). The coat needs to be brushed once or twice a week. Do not bathe them unless they need it.

Health Problems

Some reports say that they suffer from dermatologic, musculoskeletal issues. Lipomas, Entropion and canine hip dysplasia are also seen in this breed.


Anatolian Shepherds do not have many behavioral issues except for the possessiveness, which comes from their natural territorial temperament. All you need to do is begin socialization at a tender age. Let your dog mix with as much ‘strangers’ (your friends or relatives) as possible on a regular basis. Ask your close ones to visit your place, even with their pets.

Also, let it get used to hearing your doorbells ring, someone stepping in, sitting and talking to you, while at the same time, you too make sure that you do not withdraw your attention away from your pet. Let them not feel humiliated in the presence of those ‘others’ whom they would have otherwise considered as strangers. You might ask your visiting friends to try to make friends with it or give it a treat from its snacks-box.

Socialize your puppy taking it to dog parks, or even places like shopping malls, dog stores, or a friend’s place (who is willing to welcome your pet). In other words, such experiences and moments of socialization right from its young age would help your dog learn to accept everyone and everything very quickly and lucidly.


A large breed like the ASD needs about 4-5 cups of dry dog foods per day, divided into two equal meals.

Interesting Facts

  • An Anatolian Shepherd named Duke is the animal ambassador at the San Diego Zoo.
  • Haatchi is an Anatolian Shepherd Dog having three legs and developed an outstanding bond with a very young and sick boy Owen. In 2013, both of them together won in the “Friends for Life” category at the ‘Crufts’ (an international annual canine event held in the UK).
  • As of 2016, their worldwide popularity ranking is 84 (source: AKC).

2 responses to “Anatolian Shepherd Dog”

  1. Allyson Stone says:

    I adopted one of my foster dogs from Kansas City Pet Project. He looks exactly like the brindle color Anatolian Shepherds I have seen on line. He’s definitely a winter loving dog with his double coat but the top coat is almost as soft as bunny fur. I’m told his coloring looks like a Bengal tiger. Orangey brown fur with black stripes. White belly and white feet. Plus that amazing thick, curly tail that straightens out when he’s relaxed. I’m going to get a DNA test kit to see what mix he actually is.

  2. Phil Clarke says:

    we rescued a dog and couldn’t decide on the mixed breed that he is. After seeing this clip & reading your article. We now believe that he is a German Shepard/ASD mix. His personality traits are exactly what are described in the article.It was very helpful. We have a family member with a chronic illness & he has been valuable when his illness takes a turn.

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