Is the Anatolian Shepherd the Right Dog for Your Family?


From the working group of dogs, the Anatolian Shepherd is a pretty pup. He’s beautiful with big, bold eyes and large body. While he looks like he might be a lap dog from the way his eyes seem to look at you with so much love and affection, it couldn’t be further from the truth. This gorgeous breed is large and in charge and loves to play. It’s an active dog that needs a lot of activity in its live to fully appreciate all that the world has to offer, and it needs a home in which its owners have plenty of time and desire to spend their time outdoors with this breed, walking, playing and enjoying life. Like any other dog breed, the Anatolian Shepherd is gorgeous, but it’s not the dog for everyone. It almost seems that when you say that some people become very offended, but it is the truth. Some dogs are better suited for some people than others, and some people should never own a dog simply because they haven’t the commitment to make to loving a dog from any breed the way that it requires.

Learning more about the Anatolian Shepherd is absolutely necessary if you plan on making this dog a part of your life at anytime. It’s advised by veterinarians, dog owners and all kennel clubs that you take the time to really get to know a breed before selecting it to become a part of your family. What you want and need in a dog and what you have to offer might not work well with certain breeds. But it might work well with others. Even if you learn that the Anatolian Shepherd is not the right dog for you, you will find one that is right for you. Or you might just find that this gorgeous breed makes for the perfect pet and your life will be complete. Let’s find out.

It’s Territorial

If you decide that the Anatolian Shepherd is a breed that interests you, it’s because you want a large, watchful dog that is going to make you feel safe and protected, and that is perfectly all right. We love this dog specifically because of this reason. It’s a very territorial dog and it will be very guarded at home when someone not a part of his family is present. It’s a very comforting feeling to know, particularly if you have kids.

It’s Loyal

This is a dog that is going to do whatever it takes to make you happy. You are his family and he loves you. He will keep you safe, protected and he will forever place his loyalty with you. If you tell this breed to do something or not do something, it’s going to listen. You are its family and it loves you endlessly.

It’s Smart

This is a shepherd that is true to shepherd form; it’s an intelligent breed. It knows what it’s looking at, what it’s learning and how to listen. Training this breed is a piece of cake because it is such a smart and loyal dog. It wants to please you, so it’s going to work hard to do just that. You’re going to very much appreciate how easy it is to have this breed in your home for the rest of its life.

It’s Very Protective

Most people do not get a big dog because they’re looking for someone with whom to cuddle and love. They get a big dog because they want a companion and a protector, and that’s what you get with this breed. This is a protective dog that is not about to let anyone or anything it does not trust near you. It’s very friendly with kids and people it knows, but strangers will put this dog on guard and make it stand in front of you and your kids to ensure that you are safe. It’s taking no chances with you and yours, and it’s part of the reason it is such a great dog.

Very Few Breed-Specific Health Issues

A generally healthy breed, this is a dog that is no more likely to become sick or ill than any other dog. Some breeds have some genetic issues or size-related health issues to worry about, but this is not one of those breeds. It’s smart, beautiful and very healthy, which is what makes it the  whole package.

They Need Something to Guard

This is a working dog. What this means is that it is a dog that appreciates the act of working. Its’ a watch dog, so it does like something to guard. It should not be difficult to provide your dog with a job, either, since you have a home, yard and family that requires guard. Your dog will get a huge thrill out of protecting your home and standing guard over your family and kids in the yard. This dog will protect to the day it dies, which means no bee, no snake, no kitten from the neighbor’s yard will be permitted by this dog until you give it the order to stand down or attack.

They Need Activity

The Anatolian Shepherd is not the most active dog in the world, but it does need and require moderate activity to keep it healthy and happy. It would love to take at least one long walk every day and it would love to spend some quality time in the yard playing, running and chasing things around. It’s a big dog and big dogs have big energy to expend sometimes, so it’s going to make it a really nice effort to send this dog outside for some activity.

They’re Very Easy to Groom

The coat is short, which means once or twice a week brushing and baths when needed will be all it takes to keep this dog looking and feeling good. It’s a very calm dog that responds well to orders when trained, so it is going to sit nicely while you are in the midst of its grooming.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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  1. This article was written by someone who never owned an Anatolian and is here describing a golden or Labrador retriever. Anatolians are extremely independent and will always trust their judgment over yours. Never once in over thirty years of breeding, raising, training, showing and rescuing this breed has one ever turned to me for an order. Obedience and Anatolian in the same sentence is an oxymoron. If you think you want an Anatolian, really research the breed and get to know some. They are NOTHING like the above description.

  2. Have you actually met Anatolian Shepherds? Yes, they are smart. Yes, they are loyal. No, training this breed is not “a piece of cake” because they will evaluate the situation and handle as THEY see fit.

    Does it want to please you? Only if what you’re asking makes sense to him. Otherwise he’s going to do what HE thinks needs to be done.

    This is an Anatolian Shepherd. Not a German Shepherd or Belgian Sheepdog. This is a breed that was developed to be an independent thinker and action-taker. Can they be molded and guided? Sure. But if you’re looking for a dog that will always look to you for direction, permission, or guidance on how to handle a situation, you don’t want an Anatolian.

  3. I am new to the breed, and am so grateful that I received solid information and didn’t read a ridiculous article like this one first. If I had read this article, I would be so frustrated with my ASD/mix rescue, we would probably be looking at rehoming. However, I was fortunate enough to get some REAL advice and information on the breed and discovered a wonderful Anatolian group to join, and now I have solid information, and my ASD/mix is a wonderful addition to our family. Pretty much take every word of this and assume the opposite. Training an Anatolian is not hopeless, they are wonderful dogs. but they are thinking dogs, and they will obey every command flawlessly, until….they don’t. Easy to groom? sure if you want to furminator them every day. Very few dogs shed like the ASD. Their coat is adaptive to the environment, they shed when they are stressed, visit any comment thread on ASD’s and you will find loads of hysterical comments regarding the copious amounts of hair produced by the ASD. This article should be removed quite frankly.

  4. I have never seen so much misinformation about a breed in one article! Wow. Research, and speaking with actual Anatolian owners would have helped so much.

  5. I own an Anatolian as a house pet, she’s about four now (along with two
    other dogs). I would be careful in widely promoting certain ideas in
    this article. They are not the most UN-obediant of dogs, but I would not
    generally describe them as ‘eager to please’ and ‘going to listen’.

    decide when they do something, not you. So your job is to make it
    believe it SHOULD and WANTS to do what you are telling it to. If the
    Anatolian feels what you want it to do is not in its own best interest,
    or even more importantly yours, you may not find they are all that eager
    to listen to you. If they truly think you are in danger and you tell
    them to back down, they just might decide you don’t know what’s best for
    your safety.

    Grooming… if you stay on top of it (twice
    weekly?) shedding won’t be bad, but if you don’t stay on top of it they
    will shed excessively. I repeat: EXCESSIVELY.

    They are NOT dogs for beginners. I’ve owned ten dogs for their whole
    lives and fostered a few more. My Anatolian is the most challenging dog
    I’ve had. Read up on them first, a lot. What they were bred for and how
    that impacts their behavior, how to discipline them, how they respond
    to other people or animals. For example, you DO NOT want to ‘train’ an
    Anatolian to be a guard dog – they already are! Even a fairly
    non-dominant Anatolian will take over the alpha position in your home
    unless the dog in charge is extremely dominant. They don’t go from
    Submissive to Dominant. They go from ‘Moderately Dominant’ to ‘Ok,
    Everyone Listen Up, I’m In Charge Here So Back Off!’ They are generally
    not a dog you take to the dog park.

  6. I have just written an e mail to the writer (her by line above is a link to her e mail) with many of the facts stated below by Anatolian OWNERS who DO understand the breed, urging her to rewrite the article. It breaks my heart to see these incredible animals being put down and abandoned because of misinformation or no information at all for potential owners. Perhaps some of you could do the same. I am sure the article was not written with any bad intentions, it is just about as inaccurate as it could be and probably done from research which was also wrong and available on the internet to the writer/researcher. I am hoping that with the information we have all provided, one more article of misinformation about Anatolians can be removed from the internet. Perhaps some of you who commented below could send your thoughts about the breed to the writer as I have. I have also given her the address of The Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America’s website as a starting point for the RIGHT information.

  7. Working dog – technically correct, but this is a Livestock Guardian Dog. VERY different to a herding breed.
    They are not easy to train – they take a lot of patience and time to teach obedience to, as one of the breed traits is thinking for oneself, a required trait for a working livestock gurdian that may go days protecting the flock in between human contact. Obedience is not easy, but it is acheiveable with hard work (I do Agility with mine). Because of this reason they are not an active dog – their job was bred to lie there and guard, not herd, so active is not accurate. You are correct in saying they need daily walks though, very true.
    As for grooming, twice weekly bathes are far too much, stripping the essential natural oils from their coat. Baths once a month is probably too frequent for the ASD! Brushing should really be undertaken every day or at leash every second, particular in hottor climates or in hottor parts of the year to allow the coat to remain free of excess shedded hair (of which there is always an abundance with this breed) so allow the dog to cool off naturally.

    Please do more research and meet breeders and dogs before writing articles like this!

  8. I’m sorry, but this women knows nothing about Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. Please visit the ASDCA or ASDI sites if you want to know what they are truly like. If you get an Anatolian based on this information you will be very unhappy.

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