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Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Tags: working, Large-sized, Protective guardian, Challenging for first-time owners, Requires firm, dedicated training

We're the emblematic dogs, the Goban Kopegi, of Turkey where we started hunting lions (and rounding up horses) in the mountains and high plateaus more than 6,000 years ago. Lacking lions these days, we're still used to guard the herds of sheep and goats. My tawny coat color (and black masked muzzle and ears) help blend in with the livestock and I don't bark much. Just doing my job, warding off wolves and such with my superior size (up to 143 pounds and 32 inches at the shoulder) of muscle and brawn.

Rave review

  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Aloof and proud
  • Always alert
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Courageous canine

Report card

  • Males can be aggressive toward other dogs
  • Independent thinker
  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Lives to work
  • Novice owners might be challenged with this breed
  • Outdoors enthusiast
  • Perfect protector
  • Caters to the country, tolerates town
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Steadfast and strong
  • Stubborn streak
  • Training must be firm, patient, consistent
  • Wary of strangers
  • Willing watchdog

What to expect

Please understand that an Anatolian Shepherd is a whole lot of dog. Shepherding and guarding is my default position. I know our reputation for being hard to train -- we were bred to use our initiative and make independent decisions while working on our own -- so I might not always follow your commands to the letter. If I appear to hesitate and think things over, don't take it personally. Be firm (but respectful), be persistent (and patient), and be the alpha in my life (right from the start and every day thereafter). I need vigorous daily exercise -- in a safe, enclosed space for running off the leash -- unless you're a marathoner in training and can keep up with me. Regular brushing of my coat will be appreciated -- and I have a reputation as a "flea magnet" so mind them too. While I love to play with children, I can be bumptious and bowl them over, so please supervise our play.

Watch for

Most lines of this ancient breed are virtually free of hereditary disease, but should be screened for temperament problems.

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