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Anatolian Shepherd Dog

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a breed of dog from Anatolia (central Turkey) and bred for guarding flocks of sheep from wolves, bears, jackals, and even cheetahs.

The coat can be any color or length. The Anatolian is a muscular breed, with thick neck, broad head, and sturdy body. Its lips are tight to its muzzle and it has triangular drop ears. It stands 27 to 32 inches (69 to 81 cm) at the withers and weighs between 80 and 150 pounds (36 to 68 kg), with females on the smaller side and males on the larger side.

The Anatolian was developed to be independent and forceful, responsible on its own for guarding its master's flocks. These traits make it more challenging as a pet; owners of dogs of this breed must determinedly socialize the dogs to turn them into appropriate companions. They are intelligent and can learn quickly but might choose not to obey; this is not generally a dog for a beginning or shy owner. They become very protective of other animals in the household, and will treat them as their "flock." They have also been known to kill bears to protect their charges.

There appears to be only one health survey of Anatolian Shepherds, done in 2004 by the UK Kennel Club. The median life span for the 23 deceased dogs (a small sample size) in the survey was 10.75 years. This is a typical longevity for purebred dogs in general, but several years longer than most other breeds of their large size, which generally have median longevities of 6-8 years.[4] The leading causes of death of the dogs in the survey were cancer (22%), "combinations" (17%), cardiac (13%), and old age (13%).


Anatolian ShepherdOther names: Coban Kopegi, Karabas, kangal dog, anatolian karabash dog
Country of origin: Anatolia (Turkey)
Weight: 100-150 pounds (45-68 kg.)
Height: 28-30 inches (71-76 cm.)
Coat: Two basic coat types: medium length and medium long, with short or rough double coat; the outer coat is smooth and the length may vary greatly depending on the season and the dog's lineage
Litter size: 5-10 puppies
Life span: 12-15 years

Based on a small sample of 24 still-living dogs, the most common health issues cited by owners were dermatologic, musculoskeletal, and lipomas. Entropion and canine hip dysplasia are sometimes seen in the breed. Eyes and hips should be tested before breeding.

The breed's ancestors most likely migrated to the area now known as Turkey about 1000 A.D. with Turkic-speaking people, although it is probable that dogs similar to this existed at least 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Over the centuries, regional variations began to develop, although the dogs were collectively known as coban kopegi, i.e. "shepherd dog". In the 1970s, western breeders became interested in the dogs and developed standards for the regional breeds; the Anatolian is one of those breeds, coming from central Turkey. They were originally imported into Britain by author Charmian Hussey.