Anatolian Shepherd Temperament: A protected home is where your loyal Anatolian is
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Are you considering welcoming an Anatolian Shepherd into your family? These magnificent Mastiff-sighthound-type dogs are renowned for their exceptional expertise in herding and guarding livestock and their unwavering loyalty and protective nature.
In this comprehensive blog post, we'll delve into the world of Anatolian Shepherds, shedding light on their temperament, history, health considerations, and suitability for your unique lifestyle. Make an informed decision about whether this remarkable breed is the perfect addition to your family.
Table of contents
History of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog
In the heartland of Turkey, in the expansive Anatolian province, an extraordinary breed was forged through centuries of dedication and careful breeding.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog, known for its formidable size, loyalty, and protective instincts, boasts a lineage that stretches back into antiquity.
This remarkable breed has shaped countless livestock's lives and left an indelible mark on the world of canine history.
The Anatolian Shepherd's origins are deeply rooted in Turkey, where it was bred to fulfil a vital role in rural life. They are not merely the product of Turkish soil; their genetic footprint has been traced as far as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, emphasising the far-reaching impact of this remarkable breed.
The Anatolian Shepherd's journey began as a noble guardian, a faithful companion to shepherds tending to their flocks in the harsh Anatolian landscapes.
Centuries ago, when marauding wolves and other predators threatened livestock, the Anatolian Shepherd stepped up as the ultimate protector. This breed's role in safeguarding herds of sheep and goats from harm cannot be overstated. They are renowned for their muscular build, power, and protective nature. Their imposing presence alone is often enough to deter potential threats.
While Anatolian Shepherds may appear aloof to strangers, they form deep bonds with their human companions. Their loyalty knows no bounds, and they are fiercely devoted to their "hoomans." This breed thrives on the sense of duty, and their watchful, protective instincts extend to their families, making them exceptional guardians of both livestock and loved ones.
The nomadic lifestyle of their Turkish shepherds has played a pivotal role in shaping the Anatolian Shepherd's physical attributes. Living outdoors and traversing vast distances in scorching summers and bone-chilling winters made them hardy and agile. Their skill and speed, often unexpected in a breed of their size, have earned them a reputation as swift and formidable protectors.
The Anatolian Shepherd's agility can also be attributed to the influence of sighthounds in their lineage. This unique combination of strength and speed sets them apart from other livestock-guarding breeds. They can chase down threats with remarkable precision, making them an even more effective protector of their charges.
To withstand the harshest conditions of rural life and vast landscapes, Anatolian Shepherds were meticulously bred over centuries. The infusion of certain molosser breeds with strong guarding instincts contributed to their development into the magnificent dogs we know today.
In conclusion, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a testament to the enduring partnership between humans and canines. With a rich history that spans the ages, this breed continues to play a vital role in protecting livestock and enriching the lives of those fortunate enough to share their journey.
Their legacy, rooted in the Anatolian heartland, is a testament to the lasting connection between humans and their loyal four-legged companions.
Anatolian Shepherd registrations in the UK 2023
Zero Anatolian Shepherds were registered with the UK Kennel Club in the first two quarters of 2022. In the full year 2022, 39 Anatolian Shepherds were registered. Anatolian Shepherds are a rare sight in the UK! But there are many Anatolian Shepherd mixes out there.
Source: thekennelclub.org.uk/media/5986/quarterly-breed-stats-pastoral.pdf updated September 2023
What's the difference between an Anatolian Shepherd and a Turkish Kangal Dog?
This can be a touchy subject for some and a very confusing one, as both breeds come from the same lineage. Some countries, like the AKC, don't distinguish between the two. Within Turkey, however, they're two different dogs. The Kangal comes from the Kangal province, whilst the Anatolian Shepherd can be from Anatolia's vast region.
The Kangal is, on average, a bit larger and heavier. The main difference is seen in their coat colours and appearance.
An Anatolian can look like a Kangal; a Kangal can't look like an Anatolian Shepherd. Various coat colours are acceptable in an Anatolian Shepherd and can be masked black or not masked. The breed standard of the Kangal is always a black mask. From a temperament point of view, they're very similar. If this still sounds a bit blurry, that's because it is.
Can an Anatolian Shepherd kill a wolf?
Indeed, the Anatolian Shepherd can overpower and potentially kill a younger or smaller wolf, a testament to their breeding for defensive purposes. If the wolf is larger and older, then the wolf would likely have the upper hand.
These canines are an embodiment of power and sheer size. Typically entrusted with the guardianship of sheep over extended periods, farmers have devised ingenious measures to support their Anatolian partners in their critical role.
In their native Turkey, these protectors wear distinctive spiked collars. In their predatory nature, wolves tend to target the neck when launching their assaults, aiming for a lethal blow. The spiked collar is a crucial shield against these potentially fatal bites, ensuring the Anatolian Shepherd's safety while defending the flock.
It is worth noting that, in some regions, Anatolian Shepherds may undergo ear cropping, a practice we do not endorse. However, it remains legal in certain countries. The rationale behind this practice is grounded in practicality – floppy ears are more susceptible to being bitten off by predatory foes, which could lead to severe infections and, ultimately, prove fatal.
In response to the question of whether Anatolian Shepherds can conquer wolves, the answer is yes.
These dogs wield one of the most potent bite forces among canine breeds and are ingrained with an unwavering commitment to safeguarding their flocks, even at the cost of their own lives. The outcome of an encounter with a wolf may vary if the opponent is a seasoned or prime wolf. However, wolves tend to be cautious when selecting their prey, often avoiding confrontations with opponents like Anatolian Shepherds.
Now that we've discovered their breeding history and purpose let's explore what life with an Anatolian Shepherd entails
What is the Temperament of the Anatolian Shepherd?
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is loyal, brave, and has a devoted temperament to its family. They are protective of their loved ones and make excellent guard dogs. Confidence and agility pair with calmness and gentleness.
You can never forget when owning an Anatolian that they're a speciality breed. They have a solid defensive guarding behaviour ingrained in them. Calm and collected when trotting with the livestock but watchful and animated as soon as they spot a threat.
These dogs were the answer to a specific problem of the shepherds in the vast herding regions and were perfected over centuries. Once they spot danger, their tail will go up high, and they bark or growl and stand ready. If the foe is witless enough not to take the warning posture seriously, they will run and can attack.
The Anatolian is big and athletic without being cumbersome. Due to being left alone with livestock for several days, these dogs have an affinity for making decisions and sustaining themselves. Anatolians are no obedience dogs. If they feel you can't take decisive action, these dogs will probably take them for you.
Teaching them tricks and playing fetch might also be a waste of time. Other dogs love pleasing their hooman friend, but Anatolians are wired differently. They exist to protect, not to please.
Training is challenging and requires consistency, firmness, and leader pack qualities. It's a difficult dog to handle for a novice dog owner. Many owners joke that you'll be the first if you get an Anatolian to recall consistently and successfully.
Anatolians are not suitable for apartment living or living in urban areas. They should have a territory or area to patrol and watch. A big garden and rural living are best suited for this breed and are highly recommended for an accomplished and happy dog.
Early socialisation with other dogs and different people will lay the groundwork for how your dog will respond to strangers and new encounters. Anatolians are friendly and like a fuss but will probably always keep their guard up and their eyes peeled on their family.
This is one of the breeds where socialisation from a young age is crucial for success. However, an Anatolian on the loose can result in a dangerous situation due to their strength and size. They don't get on well with smaller animals.
Anatolians shouldn't be walked off-leash, especially if there is an area where you walk them regularly. After a while, they might claim the local dog park as "their" area to patrol and can become aggressive towards other dogs if they feel disrespected.
Selective hearing and stubbornness are pretty common temperament traits in Anatolians. It's better to always walk with a leashed Anatolian Shepherd to avoid confrontation.
Are Anatolian Shepherds aggressive?
Anatolians are good with people. If you're a good pack leader, they will trust your judgement and not be unkind towards people entering your home. They might remain aloof and watchful but will show their people-orientated side. Your dog will be calm, respectful and polite. But you will never be able to take the watchdog fully out of this breed.
Once they have bonded with their flock or family, their first instinct is to keep them safe. Anatolians only become aggressive if the foe has misread the dog. They never attack without warning. There will be a warning posture first, and then they will follow with an attack. It's a very organised process.
Having unreserved love from your Anatolian Shepherd will be the greatest gift. They're affectionate and very loyal dogs who won't do things halfheartedly. This dog breed is for you if you have life stock to protect.
Some articles quote that Anatolian Shepherds are not suitable for families with young children. This comes down to socialisation and also the character of your dog. They're individuals, after all. However, there are stories that some Anatolians take special care of younger livestock. They will excel as companion dogs and watchdogs with the proper training. But these dogs are certainly not for the faint-hearted dog lover.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog temperament in a nutshell
They need a big house and garden to flourish and feel accomplished if kept as companion dogs.
Requires a firm pack leader who makes decisions
Early socialisation is an absolute must to avoid a dominant, potentially unfriendly Anatolian
Will protect his pack, family or livestock with their life.
Affectionate, devoted and calm with their family
Gift Ideas for Anatolian Shepherd Lovers
Calling all devoted Anatolian Shepherd enthusiasts! If you're searching for the ideal gift that will warm the heart of that special Anatolian Shepherd lover in your life, you've come to the right place. From personalised treasures to practical essentials, these thoughtful gifts will bring joy to the Anatolian Shepherd and its devoted owner.
Gift ideas for Anatolian Shepherd Lovers #1: Anatolian Shepherd Sweatshirt
Stay cosy and stylish while showcasing your love for Anatolian Shepherds with our Anatolian Shepherd sweatshirt – the perfect gift for any devoted enthusiast.
Gift ideas for Anatolian Shepherd Lovers #2: Anatolian Shepherd Ceramic Mug
Sip your favourite brew in Anatolian Shepherd style with this ceramic mug – an ideal gift for those who cherish their loyal companions.
Gift ideas for Anatolian Shepherd Lovers #3: Anatolian Shepherd Weathervane
Add a touch of Anatolian Shepherd elegance to any outdoor space with this weathervane – a unique and charming gift for lovers of this majestic breed.
Gift ideas for Anatolian Shepherd Lovers #4: Customisable Anatolian Shepherd Sign
Create a heartfelt and personalized gift that captures the spirit of their beloved Anatolian Shepherd with our customisable sign, sure to make their heart swell with joy.
Gift ideas for Anatolian Shepherd Lovers #5: Anatolian Shepherd Guard Dog Sign
Help them proudly declare their Anatolian Shepherd's protective prowess with this 'Guard Dog on Duty' sign, an ideal gift for those who adore the vigilant nature of this breed.
Gift ideas for Anatolian Shepherd Lovers #6: Anatolian Shepherd Handbook
Give the gift of knowledge and expertise with this comprehensive Anatolian Shepherd Handbook, perfect for enthusiasts eager to deepen their understanding of this remarkable breed.
Names for Female Anatolian Shepherds
Names for Male Anatolian Shepherds
Potential health issues in the Anatolian Shepherd breed
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a generally healthy breed. Their lifespan can range from 12 to 15 years. It is believed that their nomadic breeding added a lot of different gene pools, making it a healthier pure breed dog. The long life span is a result of it.
As a new owner, you should also be prepared to pay medical expenses that come with the breed. The sheer size of this dog will make medical treatment expensive. Therefore, you should always opt for comprehensive insurance.
Hereditary diseases are genetically predisposed. For this reason, it's essential always to choose a reputable breeder who has screened their dog's DNA and knows from which family they come. In addition, good pre-work and research can help minimise any of the below upsetting conditions.
Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a common orthopaedic issue in Anatolian Shepherds, characterised by abnormal hip joint development, which can lead to pain and lameness.
Entropion: Entropion is a relatively rare but potentially painful condition in Anatolian Shepherds, where the eyelids roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea.
Lipoma: Lipomas, benign fatty tumours, can occasionally occur in Anatolian Shepherds, as in many dog breeds. These soft, movable lumps usually pose no immediate health threat but should be monitored by a veterinarian to ensure they do not grow excessively or cause discomfort.
Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus): This life-threatening condition can affect deep-chested breeds like Anatolian Shepherds. It involves the stomach twisting, leading to a blockage of blood flow. Immediate veterinary attention is crucial in suspected cases.
Osteosarcoma: This aggressive bone cancer is more prevalent in large breeds like Anatolian Shepherds.
Many of these conditions can be treated if caught early, but working with a reliable veterinarian familiar with this breed is essential to ensure your dog receives proper care.
Most diseases are inherited in a recessive manner. It means the puppy must inherit both parents' genes to become affected. The puppy becomes a carrier if the mutation is only present in one parent. Hence, choosing a reputable breeder who has done genetic testing on their litters is vital.
The more aware you are of these diseases, the higher the chances you can prolong your dog's life if problems arise. Same as with your child, be mindful of all required vaccinations and risks outside your home. This blog post, for example, outlines all toxic spring plants that can harm your dog.
Many dog owners underestimate the danger in some pet toys and accessories that can worsen health issues when they innocently buy cheap products from the Far East. Avoid synthetic rubber playthings like chew bones or tug o' war ropes from polyester; polyester collars could cause skin irritation and are not breathable like natural materials. Swap out those harmful materials with eco-friendly pet products from hemp here at Hooman's Friend. Breathable, eco-friendly and sustainable!
Anatolian Shepherd Fun facts
We love nature here at Hooman’s Friend. Therefore, the following fun fact impressed us!
Anatolian Shepherds and Kangals have helped in several conservation projects worldwide.
Many farmers are using poison or shooting predatory animals. This puts biological diversity in jeopardy and can lead to unsustainable practices. Anatolian Shepherds scare predators away and keep them in check instead of killing them. This way, the ecosystem can remain in balance.
In 1994, over 500 Anatolians and Kangal dogs were gifted to the Cheetah conservation project in Namibia. As a result, instead of farmers killing cheetahs, they use Kangals and Anatolian Shepherds to protect and herd their precious livestock. Correspondingly, a study estimated that livestock losses were reduced by 91%. However, the main benefits are encouraging co-existence, safeguarding the life of viable predators, and preventing a destabilised ecosystem.
Is the Anatolian Shepherd the right breed for me?
The Anatolian Shepherd is ideally suited for experienced dog owners who deeply understand working and guardian breeds. They require a dedicated owner who can provide ample space, rigorous exercise, and firm training.
If you have livestock to protect or live in a rural area with plenty of room for this majestic and loyal breed to thrive, then the Anatolian Shepherd might be the right choice.
However, other breeds may be better for first-time dog owners or those seeking a more low-energy companion.
These dogs are independent thinkers, which makes training challenging. Consistent, positive reinforcement-based training and early socialisation are crucial to ensure they grow into well-adjusted and obedient companions.
An Anatolian Shepherd may not be the best choice if you reside in a small apartment or lack outdoor space. They can become frustrated and potentially destructive in confined spaces.
In summary, Anatolian Shepherds are exceptional dogs for the right owner - someone who values their protective instincts has space and time for exercise and training, and possibly livestock to watch over. If this aligns with your lifestyle, you might find a loyal and devoted companion in this remarkable breed.
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The Anatolians is a dog breed with a unique temperament unlike any other. They protect their family and property and require a lot of independence and space. If you are a future owner of an Anatolian, it is crucial to understand their temperament and personality to ensure they are happy and healthy.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog Summary Info box
70cm - 79cm
Tendency to drool
Tendency to bark
Tendency to dig