Other names: Coban Köpegi
The Anatolian Shepherd is a highly intelligent, proud, independent and self-confident dog. They are ancestral guardians who show great interest in the protection of their family and territory. Without ever being unnecessarily aggressive but by showing a certain tenacity when it comes to protecting, these giant-sized dog are very wise, calm and gentle when they are with their family.
Key facts about the Anatolian Shepherd
Origins and history
The Anatolian Shepherd is an old breed that most likely descends from the great hunting dogs of Mesopotamia. Over time, the breed has evolved to adapt to a series of particular circumstances: those that have most influenced their formation are the climate (very hot summers, very cold winters), the way of life of populations (sedentary, semi-nomadic or nomadic) and the type of work. The FCI officially recognized this Turkish breed in 1989.
Physical characteristics of the Anatolian Shepherd
Female : Between 28 and 31 in
Male : Between 29 and 32 in
Female : Between 99 and 132 lb
Male : Between 121 and 154 lb
All hair colours are permissible for this Turkish dog breed except for Merle.
Type of coat
Their coat is short or mid-length.
The coat is twofold: a dense topcoat and a thick undercoat. The coat varies in length and density depending on the climate, it is generally longer in winter.
Their eye colour ranges from golden to brown, depending on the colour of the coat.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a strong, large and robustly built dog with a powerful constitution. The head is broad and strong. The eyes are rather small in relation to the size of the skull, well detached and sunken into the orbits. The ears, of medium size, are triangular in shape and rounded at the ends; they fall against the cheeks and are raised when the dog is attentive. The tail is long and reaches the hock. It is set fairly high, carried low at rest and slightly curved; when the dog is attentive it is carried high, with the tip curved onto the back, especially amongst the males.
Good to know
Anatolian Shepherds are also used to protect protected species. In Namibia, cheetahs are a very serious threat to farmers and livestock breeders as they can kill dozens of sheep at once. Despite the fact that they are a protected species, shepherds are allowed to trap and kill these big cats to ensure the sustainability of their farms.
Nevertheless, in the 1990s, an American biologist proposed using Anatolian Shepherds to protect livestock and deter cheetahs from approaching. It worked very well as felines are particularly scared of big dogs. This way, sheep are protected, and cheetahs are spared.
Despite their independent and prideful temperament, Anatolian Shepherds appreciate demonstrations of affection and are very close to their social group.
Cordial with children and friendly to all members of their social group, this dog enjoys spending time with his or her adoptive family and, when they are puppies, the Anatolian Shepherd can be playful. However, their temperament weakens considerably with age.
Wise by nature, quiet strength characterises this powerful and tender mountain beast very well. With their family, they are gentle, reliable and even patient with children.
Like many sheepdogs, the Anatolian Shepherd is particularly intelligent and docile, and has good working skills, especially in sheep guarding, where this dog shows great initiative.
As much more of a guardian than a hunter, the Karabash, as it is otherwise called, does not have a highly developed hunting instinct. Their ancestral role as herdsmen leads this dog to respect other animals, unless they are a danger to their lives or their family of course.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This dog is highly distant from strangers, although friendly when familiar people cross their territory. In the absence of their masters, they let no one in and are distrustful of everyone.
Its official standard describes this Turkish guard dog as highly independent, proud and confident but docile and very intelligent.
Behaviour of the Anatolian Shepherd
Although very close to their social group and affectionate towards them, Anatolian Shepherd dogs are able to remain alone at home where they take their role as guardian very seriously.
Nevertheless, absences should not be prolonged and, above all, before and after each period of solitude, this Anatolian Sheepdog must benefit from physical and mental exercise.
Easy to train / obedience
The Kangal, as this dog may also be known, is considered to be an intelligent and docile dog, even if it is very independent. This temperament often does not coincide with a high level of obedience and yet, for a hound, this dog is particularly receptive.
For their education to be successful, it is necessary to begin training from a young age in order to prevent the Anatolian Shepherd puppy from developing bad habits.
Be careful never to seek any kind of power relationship with this giant dog as they could quickly begin to consider their master as an incoherent and disrespectful being and therefore stop any form of cooperation.
To overcome their occasionally stubborn side, it is necessary to be firm, consistent and self-confident to build a strong relationship. Concessions must be avoided while fostering an education that respects the principles of positive education.
It should be noted that obedience for this dog is a deliberate, unconditioned act. Therefore, commands must be fair and sensible in order to achieve results.
Barking is this dog's main deterrent technique. So, when they sense danger, they don't hesitate to raise their voice. Good training helps to avoid unnecessary barking.