History of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed
The Anatolian shepherd dog is an ancient breed whose roots probably lie in the area of Asia Minor. It was used as a guard dog and boasts a long history of hard work. It is believed that the breed's ancestors include the Tibetan mastiff and Roman Mollosian war dogs that first arrived in Turkey more than 4,000 years ago. It was in Turkey that the breed was known for its formidable defense of livestock against wolves and bears. The summers on the Anatolian Plateau are dry and hot, and the winters are extremely cold. The Anatolian shepherd was able to withstand the elements and often lived outside throughout the year. History suggests that this dog was a companion to nomadic shepherds; and therefore, the breed was spread over a large geographical area. This is one of the theories that accounts for the tremendous variation in size, coat type, and color of the breed. However, the constant traits throughout the breed include hardiness, loyalty, and independence. Some feel that the classification of the Anatolian as a shepherd is incorrect, because there is no record that the dog was ever used as a herder. It is said that the Anatolian did not make an appearance in the United States until about the1950s or 1960s. At that time it was considered to be effective in protecting livestock against predators such as coyotes, but most dog fanciers were not aware of the breed. It wasn't until the 1970s that the first breeding program for the Anatolian was started, and in the late 1970s and 1980s, the Anatolian shepherd began to be recognized. The breed's worth was in its use, rather than its appearance. It wasn't until 1996 that the Anatolian shepherd was recognized by the AKC and registered in the miscellaneous class.
Size and Appearance of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed
This breed is a working breed with a tough build. It is a powerful and rugged dog that boasts agility as well as endurance. The muscular shoulders are well-developed, and the straight front legs are rather long with good, strong bone. The compact, oval feet feature arched toes, strong nails, and thick, tough pads. The broad thighs are strong and well-muscled with the feet the same as in front. The large head of this breed has medium, almond-shaped eyes that convey an intelligent expression. The eyes are usually light amber to dark brown in color. The v-shaped ears are rounded at the top and drop to the sides. The muzzle is described as strong and blocky with a solid black or brown nose and strong teeth that meet in a scissors or level bite. The powerful neck is slightly arched and quite muscular. The extra skin at the neck forms a protective ruff. The muscular back is level, and the body is well-proportioned. The long tail is set on quite high, and it is carried low when the dog is at rest. When active, the dog carries the tail high, making a "wheel." The coat can be short to rough (one inch to four inches in length), and the hair around the neck is slightly longer. This breed usually has a thick undercoat as well. Some feathering of the coat may be found on the ears, legs, and tail. The coat comes in all color patterns and markings. The gait of the Anatolian is often described as powerful and fluid.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog Temperament
Devoted and protective, the Anatolian shepherd is also an easy-going breed. While it is normally a little wary of strangers and known to be territorial, it is generally good with children, even though it is not especially playful. This breed should be socialized from the start in order to have a well adjusted dog. The Anatolian is an intelligent dog that is quick to learn, but not necessarily quick to obey due to its independent nature. Overall, it is an effective watch-dog or guard dog and will likely bark a lot when something is amiss.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog Recommended Maintenance
The short coat of this breed is easy to groom. A weekly brushing or combing is about all that is needed to keep the coat in nice shape. More thorough brushing is required during heavy shedding seasons twice a year. This breed is considered to be a seasonally heavy shedder. Daily exercise must be given to this working dog, which can consist of long walks or short runs. This breed is not particularly active when indoors, and it is not recommended for apartment dwelling. A large fenced-in yard is ideal for allowing the Anatolian the chance to run and play in a safe area.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog Health
Life span: 10 - 13 years
Major concerns: CHD
Minor concerns: entropion
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: hip, (eye)
Note: sensitive to anesthesia