Thought to date back over 6,000 years, the Anatolian Shepherd descended from some of the oldest hunting breeds in history. Originating in the Anatolian Peninsula of Turkey, the Anatolian Shepherd was selectively bred for its resilience and being able to endure the unforgiving seasonal climates, the rugged terrain and working the vast acreages of its nomadic homeland. This giant breed lived high on the Anatolian Plateau and acted as a livestock guardian, protecting flocks from predators such as wolves, jackals, bears and cheetahs. Introduced to the United States in the 1930s, the Anatolian Shepherd was officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 1995.
Easily recognised by its large proportions, the Anatolian Shepherd is characterised by a powerful build, long, muscular limbs, triangular pendant ears, which are often cropped short in native Turkey, and a thick, slightly arched neck. The Anatolian double coat is typically short and rough, common in colour deviations of fawn, brindle and white, although all variations are permissible in the breed. Possessing acute senses, the Anatolian is capable of perceiving threat, whether from human or animal interference, and responding with great speed and fearlessness. When alert the Anatolian's tail will be held high and when relaxed, it will be carried low.
Not a dog for the passive or novice owner, the Anatolian Shepherd is both powerful and imposing, requiring firm leadership and consistent training from puppyhood. Inherently protective, the Anatolian will guard house and property and discern who is allowed on the property and who is not. When shown the correct leadership and socialised from an early age, the breed will yield some of its possessiveness and welcome friends into the home. On average, a healthy Anatolian Shepherd Dog will weigh 40-68 kg with discrepancies across gender, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years when shown the appropriate care.
Typically healthy and resilient, the Anatolian is not known to suffer from any serious genetic or breed-specific diseases. Long-lived for its size, the breed is well adapted to harsh climates and the unpredictable nomadic lifestyle. Documented cases of breed mortality are limited due to the relative rarity of the Anatolian Shepherd, although cases of hip dysplasia, deafness, tongue disorders and cancer have been identified.