Anatolian Shepherds are generally not well suited for apartment life since they need a lot of activity and exercise to. Their best fit is in a large, secure, fenced-in yard. They need a lot of fresh air and exercise to stay healthy, and will become easily bored and destructive if they are kept indoors.
The Anatolian Shepherd is large and powerful and is commonly used as a guardian dog. It has very similar traits as the Kuvasz and Great Pyrenees, but is more agile and tends to have a slender body type. The muscles on this dog are thin but supple, giving it freedom of movement and efficient hunting and racing skills. The Anatolian Shepherd is consequently capable of great speed and endurance, and can be trained to become a racing or hunting dog as well.
The blunt profile of this dog is often black, and the rectangular muzzle is considerably shorter than the skull. The skull is wide and round, and may have a slight stop. The lips are usually black-edged and will hang down slightly below the upper lip. The upper lip is usually hanging just above the bottom jaw line, revealing teeth that meet in a scissors bite. Triangular ears are black with small rounded tips; they are usually pendant shaped and are cropped very short in certain areas of the world. The deep-set eyes of the Anatolian Shepherd are generally gold or brown in color and are quite small. Dogs that are liver colored have brown rims and a brown nose, while the nose and eye rims of other dogs are generally black. These dogs have an intelligent expression and wide-set, almond-shaped eyes. Their ears are usually four to six inches in length, and they have a sturdy and strong head.
A notable characteristic of the Anatolian Shepherd is its thick, muscular neck. This usually has a slight dewlap, and while the topline is level, it will have a rounded area at the loin. The chest area reaches out to the elbows, and the back is fairly short in comparison to the length of the legs. The Anatolian Shepherd's body is lean, powerful, muscular, and often has an arch in the back. The front legs are generally set straight and well apart. When the dog is alert, the tail is usually curled over the back and can hang with a slightly upward curl for the hocks. The Anatolian Shepherd's coat Is generally short or rough, and will be black or fawn in color. Other common colors include pinto, brindle, and white. The two basic coat types are medium or medium-long lengths, and the coat is usually longer around the collar and tail.
Historically, these dogs have lived outdoors their entire lives. The dog may be suited to stay outside for the majority of the time, but can also be bought indoors in open spaces. It is a good idea to keep valuables and fragile items out of the way when these dogs are in the area since the dogs are fairly large.
Anatolian Shepherd dogs are usually fawn-colored or tan with a black mask; they may have spots of white, but are generally one color season after season. The coat can be medium or medium-long in length, and the coat is usually smooth and clean.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a native to Asia Minor, and is a natural sheep herder and protector of animals. It is commonly found to be a shepherd's companion, and has historically lived outside year round. Native to the Anatolian Plateau, the dog fares well in every season whether it is from exceptionally hot summers to very dry and bitter cold winters. The ancestors of this dog were often used as combat dogs or for hunting. They became particularly valuable for many battles with wolves, and some were raised to be fight dogs. These dogs do not tend to fatigue easily, and can maintain their strength, form, and mental alertness even during bad weather. They are closely related to the Kangal Dog, and have often been coined a Turkish shepherd.
Many are from the Sivas-Kangal region, and the isolated conditions there have often resulted in a distinct breed. The truly Turkish Kangal Dogs continue to be working shepherds but exports of these dos has not become forbidden. The Kangal Dog Club of America works with various traders to ease import restrictions as these are considered to be a very important contribution to the genetic pool in the United States and other parts of the western world.
The Anatolian Shepherd is very loyal and is commonly used as a guardian dog. Highly intelligent and easy to train, these dogs are very quick at picking up new skills and are generally not a suitable fit for beginners. These dogs need an owner who is a natural leader and can control and guide the dog to appropriate behaviors as needed. These dogs are naturally calm, brave, watchful, independent, and self-assured; they are not aggressive, but can be suspicious of strangers. They are often very affectionate with their own family, but strangers will need to be introduced to them formally in order to be accepted.
Since the Anatolian Shepherd is naturally guarded, they can also become very possessive. In a home or porperty setting, this allows them to keep careful watch on the grounds and will ensure that the family or property owner knows when a stranger is in the area. The dogs are fairly friendly with people in general, unless they have suspicion to be otherwise. The dog is demanding of itself, and can sometimes be dominant or stubborn.
When training, it is important to begin as early as possible and use motivational training methods on a consistent basis. A loving approach fares well with these dogs and they are more likely to correct their behaviors in a safe, secure, and loving environment. A fully grown dog can become too strong to be corrected and may not listen to the owner's requests. These dogs are very sensitive to reprimands but they are always eager to receive affection. They are patient and protective of their owners, children, and loyal to their families. They are natural protectors and do not require extra protection training. They can get along with many types of animals but tend to take a dominant role with other dogs.
Obedience training at a young age is very important for these dogs, since they will generally follow the patterns of behavior they learn in the earliest years. They can become a pleasant and docile companion with simple steps and strategies in the young ears. They are naturally reserved with strangers, but can learn to warm up to new people fairly easily. They do have an obstinate personality at times, so it is important for owners to learn how to overcome challenges throughout their growth. Exposure to small animals at a young age will help these dogs overcome their natural chasing instinct.
Socialization is important to these dogs and they tend to mature slowly. They reach full adulthood at just four years old, and many are trained to become flock guards. This often means that they live their entire lives with a flock, and may become under-socialized as a result. These dogs are best suited to guard, not herd, livestock. They can often be found patrolling a particular area and making sure they have careful watch over their territory.
The Anatolian Shepherd dog usually has Low immunity, and this can take longer to develop than other dogs. Other special medical conditions to be aware of:
Low immunity: this is very common, and extra vaccinations against the parvo-virus can overcome this problem over a long-term basis
The Anatolian Shepherd requires very little grooming and the coat simply needs to be brushed out during shedding seasons. These dogs shed heavily, but the shedding period is relatively short and once the hair has been removed, they will not need extensive grooming rituals on a regular basis.
Keeping the coat smooth and clean is fairly easy by simply rubbing down the coat with a rubber glove. It can be difficult to keep a house or area clean during shedding season, but once you know what to expect, it becomes much easier. The coats are usually medium to medium-long in length, and vary very little in texture. It's still important to check for ticks during tick season, and a regular checkup with the Vet will ensure that the dog is naturally healthy and clean.
Anatolian Shepherds need a lot of exercise and they will perform at their best when they can run free in the yard. This is why a fenced-in yard is so important, and it can be very beneficial for owners to create a wide area and space for their dog. These dogs have boundless energy both indoors and out. If they are not outside enough, they can become restless and destructive. Taking them for walks in the park or outdoors to play will help them get the exercise they need on a regular basis. The Anatolian Shepherd can be very playful and full of energy during bonding time with the owners. They tend to enjoy running alongside with you in parks and beaches, or playing with a Frisbee. They are excellent with 'fetch' games and can become very efficient.
Regular walks are mandatory with the Anatolian Shepherd, and even when they are getting plenty of natural exercise from being outdoors, a formal walk can help them bond better with their owners and help them explore new parks or territory. Ideally, two walks per day are sufficient for them to meet their daily exercise needs.
Keep in mind that these dogs have enormous amounts of energy and may even distribute their energy in short spurts. They do not fatigue easily, and will stay up late if needed just to run around and get the high levels of activity they need.
Anatolian Shepherd dogs have natural instincts to learn how to guard and protect their territory, and rarely need formal obedience training to learn these skills. These dogs are adaptive and learn very quickly, and they will take direction from you with minimal reprimanding. They need to have plenty of space to move around, and giving them access to a kennel will help them to distinguish their boundaries.
Puppies can follow you around as you do chores and take part in activities as they can bond well during this time. The dog will need to be reprimanded on occasion but will quickly learn from its mistakes. Frustrations may arise due to this dog's natural independence and ability to move quickly. The dogs are observant, intelligent, but can also become manipulative if they are distrustful of their owners. Since they are large in stature, it can become difficult to chase them down. However, once they learn their boundaries and rules, they become very strong and protective owners.