The Anatolian Shepherd is ancient Turkish dog breed, that was probably around for over 6 000 years. We are not sure about its ancestors, but it is believed, that they are descendants of powerful hunting dogs from Mesopotamia.
2) Independent protector
It would be a hard task to find a better livestock guardian, than the Anatolian Shepherd. It is in their temperament and personality to independently také the charge and watch over the flock. They are exceptionally strong, so they can protect it even from larger predators. These dogs are still, even today, used for this purpose in Turkey.
Anatolian Shepherds are extremely tough dogs, and it is thanks to the place where they originated. They were bred in a place where the summers are dry and hot while the winters are very cold. And they were bred to be extremely independent, so they can guard the flocks without almost any instructions, they are doing it naturally. They also have amazing stamina, because they are used to travel with the flock for long distances.
4) Secret Program
The first Anatolian Shepherds came to the USA in 1930s as a part of U.S. government secret program. It was a work of Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace who was working on a project where he was trying to find the best shepherd dog. The Turkish Prime Minister, during the dinner in the White House, suggested the Anatolian Shepherds and promised to send a couple to the USA. The dogs arrived, but the female was sick and pregnant. A litter of 12, healthy puppies were born, but they quickly grow into enormous size and they basicly ate the facility out of house and home. And this was during the 1930s, which was the time of Great Depression, so the government could not keep the project going and the whole thing was shut down. The 14 dogs were sold to a buyer from Virgin Islands.
5) Loyal and calm
It is true, that this is extraordinary protector, but when they are with their family, they are calm, loyal and pretty laid back dogs. Unless, someone is threating the family, than they will protect it no matter what. Unlike the popular belief, this is actually pretty good family dog, but they should have some work to do as well.
6) They protected predators
During their interesting history, Anatolian shepherds were not only protecting the flock from the predators, but they were protecting the predators itself. When Endangered Species Act was passed in the Usa, there was a problem how to control predators from the flock, when they can not be killed by the flock owners. The solution was easy, get couple of Anatolian Shepherds to every flock, who deter the predators, so no one have to kill them. This way, both, the flock and the predators were protected.
The Anatolin Shepherd is giant dog. We can make a quick comparsion. The guiness world record holder for the tallest dog is Great Dane Zeus with incredible 44 inches. The largest Anatolian Shepherd is not far behind him. His name is Kurt and his height was 40 inches. This is a very big dog. On average, they have 30 inch, which 77 cm and 120 pounds, which is 55 kgs. Females are naturally little bit smaller than males.
8) Not for novice
Independent, large and strong. Well this is not a dog for unexperienced dog owner. They need a large amount of socialization and training, because without it, they might be too agressive, overprotective and lets say, uncontrolable. And believe me, you dont want a dog this strong if you can not control it.
The Anatolian Shepherd sheds a lot and they require regular brushing to minimize the shedding. They do not require any bathing, unless its really necessary, they can stay clean bythemselves. Other than that, you should regularly check their ears for possible infections, you can also check their nails and trim it if necessary.
The Anatolian Shepherd has great lifespan for a large dog, it is around 11 or 12 years. Just like all breeds, they do suffer from some health issues, especially from the hip and elbow dysplasia, entropion, dermatological and musculoskeletal defects.