Anatolian Shepherd Dog- The Turkish predator deterrent guide

The Anatolian Shepherd is a breed that originated from a region in Turkey known as Anatolia.

This dog’s main job was to protect livestock and he has the body just for that. Being very strong and rugged with a very good hearing and eyesight allowed him to do just that.

These canines are also known to be fast and agile and can run a predator down with great efficiency.

This is a four-legged friend that not many people have heard of and perhaps one of the oldest.

However, that has not stopped him from performing his acting skills. He has made appearances in films such as “Friends With Benefits” and “Kate and Leopold.”

This dog breed offers more value than you can think of and that is why we prepared this guide for you.

In this guide, you will learn about all the gifts that the Anatolian Shepherd will come with once you decide to make him part of your family.

So, let us begin.
Anatolian shepherd dog

About the Anatolian Shepherd

This Shepherd dog is one that is not scared of taking charge and can be fiercely independent.

Some of them are quite quiet and often perform their tasks without needing hooman guidance.

Anatolian Shepherds are so independent that some of them have been known to survive on their own. They could hunt small animals and they have strong instincts to take care of themselves.

This dog may not come very handy as a companion and especially for families with small children. The main reason for this is how dominant and independent they can be.

But with proper socialization and training, you can tame this dog considering that he has a high prey drive.

Visit this guide to learn more on how you can tame a dog with a high prey drive the right way

If you are a novice dog owner it would be best that you consider another dog breed.

These Shepherds require an owner that is firm and consistent with training and one that has had experience with handling stubborn dogs.

Training should start early when they are still young.

When this pooch is well trained and socialized he can become a guardian and friend to anyone other than seeing them as “the flock.”

Anatolian Blackhead

Origin of the Anatolian Shepherd

He is also an ancient breed that first appeared years ago with some artifacts that date back to 2000 B.C describing this dog as a large and strong pooch.

They descended from Mesopotamian dogs and were first seen in the place we now know as Turkey.

Most of the time, the Turks kept these dogs for themselves and never exported them till the 20th century. This is not forgetting the fact that they may have been around for thousands of years.

They consider these dogs to be valuable to them and were only seen in the 1970s in other parts of the world.

However, some American ranchers had been able to import these canines before this in the 1950s.

Gaining popularity after the enactment of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Before this, the breed was literally unheard of.

This act made farmers use the dogs more as deterrents of predators from attacking livestock with their presence.

They were also used as deterrents for cheetahs by farmers in Africa.

The incident that ended in a disaster

They were two Anatolian Shepherds that had been imported to the United States before the 1950s.

The first one is likely to have arrived in the 1930s as part of an agricultural project. They wanted to determine which dog was the best sheepdog.

Henry Wallace, the secretary of agriculture was in charge of the project had not heard of the breed before.

After talking to the Turkish ambassador, he agreed to send both a female and a male dog to the US.

But things would turn bad soon after the female dog was found to be sick with a parasite and was also pregnant.

This pooch gave birth to a litter of 12 puppies which soon grew up faster than they expected.

The dogs had huge appetites and had to be sold during the war so that the Turks could not notice.

However, potential buyers shunned them but luckily enough a man from the Virgin Islands bought all of the dogs.

These dogs were a huge burden to the people that had brought them in considering this was the period when they were huge food rationing.

Guardian Anatolian-Dog

Interesting fact

You should note that the Anatolian Shepherd and the Kangal dog were believed to be two separate breeds.

But after examination of their histories and genetic testing was carried out there were found to be the same breed. However, they are still known as separate breeds under breed club classifications.

Breed Recognition

In 1993, the United Kennel Club recognized the breed.

The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1999 and they rank him as the 90th most popular dog breed.

Australians also recognized this dog in 1985 after he was imported to herd livestock.

Pros and cons of the Anatolian Shepherd


He is reserved and serious with strangers but he is not aggressive to them.

These dogs have a moderate exercise requirement considering their size.

Anatolians are great protectors for livestock.


This is a large dog that takes a lot of space.

They are strong-willed and require owners that have experience in handling canines like them.

These doggos are heavy shedders.

General characteristics and traits of the Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd summary table
Height Their height ranges from 29 to 32 inches for males and 28 to 31 inches for females.
Weight Males weigh between 110 to 150 pounds and 90 to 120 pounds for females
Lifespan 8 to 12 years
Breed Type Herding
Purpose He is a nomadic herding dog
Suitable For Experienced dog owners
Grooming requirements moderate
Color Variations Cream, Sesame, piebald and white
Health concerns Bloat, hypothyroidism, canine cancer, hip, and elbow dysplasia
Temperament Aloof, independent, intelligent, protective and assured
Other names Karabash, Anatolian Blackhead, Coban Kopegi

Anatolian Blackhead size

The Anatolian Blackhead is a large dog breed.

On reaching adulthood this dog has a height of 29 to 32 inches for males and 28 to 31 inches for females. Their weight can range from 90 to 120 pounds for females and 110 to 150 pounds for males.


Physical appearance

The Anatolian dog has an alert expression and always seems like he is watching out for trouble.

Recognizing and identifying this dog is not a hard task because he has a very distinct appearance.

They have a flowing gait and are well-muscled.

Their faces are almost rectangular and the same applies to their flat ears. These canines’ eyes are black or even brown while some can be bicolor or blue.

Most of the time these doggos have black muzzles which is the same color as their ears.

Anatolians have tails that are high-set with a small upwards curl when they are relaxed.

Coat appearance of the Anatolian Shepherd

The Karabash has a double coat which can be either medium or medium-long. It can be between 1 and 4 inches in length.

Coat length can vary from one season to the other and is longer around the neck or collar and tail.

In some areas, the coat is tough while in others it is smooth.

They can come in a variety of colors with the most common colors being;

Cream White Piebald
Black Brindle Fawn
Liver Pinto Blue fawn

Unfortunately, these canines shed throughout the year and heavily during spring and fall.


Personality traits and temperament of the Karabash

Traits Rating
Ease of care

Anatolians are intelligent and independent dogs that are not much of cuddlers or attention seekers.

This does not mean that they never want the affection of their owners but they generally prefer to be on their own most of the time.

Historically, these dogs would even hunt by themselves without much support from their owners.

However, they form close bonds with their families are loyal and protective over them. This makes them excellent guard dogs coupled with their intimidating appearance.

They are also known to have a loud but low bark which is something that you should consider if you have neighbors. This is not the dog that you get if you are living in an apartment.

Anatolians are aloof to strangers but are not necessarily aggressive unless they are intimidated. You should make sure that you socialize and train this dog correctly to avoid any incidences.

Compatibility with families

These doggos are not particularly playful but they can get well with children if they are well socialized.

But they view them more as part of their flock that needs protection. Therefore, you should supervise any interaction that your Anatolian Shepherd has with small children and make sure that he does not try to nip or herd them.

If you are looking for a pooch that is great with children you should consider a Goldendoodle.

He may not get along with other pets especially if they have not been brought up together.

But something that I have to insist on is socialization. Taking your Anatolian out to meet other people, animals and introducing him to new environments is very important. This prevents him from being suspicious and wary when he comes across someone or something he has never seen before.


Frequently asked questions

Is the Anatolian Blackhead affectionate?

The Anatolian Shepherd is affectionate to those that he considers being part of his family or rather flock. He develops a strong bond with them and is very protective of his immediate family.

Are Anatolian Shepherds and Kangals the same?

Until recently Kangals and Anatolian Shepherds were considered to be 2 different breeds. But historic and genetic research has shown that they are the same breed although kennel clubs register them differently.

Anatolian Shepherd puppies

Turkish Anatolian mothers give birth to litters of about 4 to 8 puppies on average.

These puppies can take anywhere from 18 to 30 months to reach maturity.

Also if you are looking to buy a Karabash puppy, you should prepare yourself anywhere between $800 and $1500. The price can vary depending on your location and your breeder.

However, you should also note that Anatolian breeders do not come easily and you should make sure that the pup you get is from a highly reputable and responsible breeder.

You can check out your local shelter or any other rescue organization to see if can be lucky enough to find this dog.


Anatolian Blackhead grooming

These dogs shed all year round and are heavy shedder which makes them unsuitable for allergy sufferers.

Brushing their coats weekly should be enough to keep them healthy and also minimize shedding.

During the blowout seasons of Fall and Spring brushing should be done daily.

Their nails should also be trimmed regularly and their ears cleaned to prevent infections.

Exercise requirements

Anatolian Shepherds do best in homes that have large spaces and in farms and not confined spaces.

They can struggle with living in an apartment because they can walk for miles.

However, they do not need a lot of exercise and 60 minutes of physical stimulation will be enough for them.

You can achieve this with 2 thirty minutes walks daily but make sure they are always on a leash when walking them.

And because of how they can be wary of strangers, you should try and walk them during the quieter periods of the day.

Other activities such as hiking, swimming, and even fishing can help you meet the physical stimulation needs of this dog.

If you have a well-fenced yard can help your dog burn off some of his energy when he is off his leash.

Turkish Karabash

Anatolian Shepherd Dietary requirements

These are not picky eaters and can eat just about anything they are provided with. This is mainly because of their nomadic past where they could eat anything that they got on their hands.

If you decide to feed them on dry food, 3 cups should be enough to meet their feel. The meals should be split into 2, in the morning and in the evening to prevent issues with bloat.

Daily calories Cups of Kibble Per Day:
1200 3

However, Anatolians do better in a high-protein meat-based diet. Meat should be the primary ingredient for all diets that you chose for this pooch.

Treats can be great during training but you can also go fruits and vegetables as rewards to make things even more interesting.

Training a Karabash

Anatolians are known to be strong-willed and can have a stubborn streak although they are also intelligent.

When training these canines, you need to establish yourself as a firm and consistent leader to make it easier.

This does not mean shouting at them or using any aversive but being stern and confident will do it better than just trying to pet and reward them.

You should start training the moment your pup gets home to stop any aloofness that may occur as they grow and encourage them to learn.

He is not a four-legged friend that will happily learn new tricks and commands easily.


Health concerns

This is a fairly healthy breed but is also susceptible to some health complications such as;

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bloat
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Canine cancer

You should request the health certificates for both parents from your breeder before purchasing a puppy.

Breed summary

The Anatolian Shepherd is a large dog breed that needs a firm and experienced owner that can understand and take care of his needs.

These dogs thrive best in open fields and large spaces but not so much in environments with children and other pets.

With that said, owning this dog is very rewarding and is loyal to his family making a perfect guard dog.

Have you fallen in love with the Anatolian Blackhead?

Let us know in the comment section below.

There you go WOOF!!

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