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What Is an Anatolian Shepherd?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2014
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The Anatolian shepherd is a giant breed of dog originally bred to protect and guide livestock. These dogs are considered extremely strong and fast, and they usually have strong chasing and herding instincts that must be overcome through rigorous socialization. While this breed has a reputation for intelligence and calm temperament, they are also considered stubbornly independent and extremely protective of the home and family. Owners are usually encouraged to exercise strong authority over these very large dogs, lest they become unmanageable.

Typically considered one of the giant dog breeds, the male Anatolian shepherd usually weighs in at about 110 to 150 pounds (49.9 to 68.04 kg), while the female generally weighs between 80 and 120 pounds (36.3 to 54.4 kg). These dogs typically reach a height of 27 to 29 inches (68.5 to 73.6 cm). They are usually stocky, sturdy and strong, with a short fur coat. The most common fur coat color for the Anatolian shepherd is fawn, and many dogs of this breed have a black face. They generally live for 10 to 13 years.

This is believed to be an ancient breed, dating all the way back to antiquity. These dogs are believed to have been first bred in Asia Minor, where they were used to guard flocks and homes, as well as for hunting. They have also been used historically in combat. They are believed capable of subduing any predator, including the wolf.

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Because these dogs are so large and energetic, they typically require a lot of exercise and need much freedom of movement. For this reason, the Anatolian shepherd is not typically recommended for those who live in apartments. Ideally, these dogs require access to as much outdoor space as possible. Even when given large amounts of outdoor space, this breed still typically needs to be walked at length, daily. The Anatolian shepherd's protective and territorial nature means owners are generally encouraged to provide it with a fenced run, if only to ensure the safety of passers-by.

These dogs are considered very hardy, able to live outdoors even in cold weather, if given proper shelter. The breed typically sheds its fur coat twice a year, and may need to be groomed at these times, but grooming throughout the rest of the year is generally considered unnecessary. Medically, this breed is generally prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and eyelid entropion.

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