Developed in the Anatolia region of Turkey, the Anatolian Shepherd's original purpose was to guard flocks of sheep against wolves, bears, and jackals. These large dogs, also known as the Anatolian Karabash Dog and Coban Kopegi or "shepherd's dog," were bred specifically to resemble the size and color of the livestock they protected to prevent predators from detecting them. The exact origin of the breed is uncertain, but it is believed that they descended from ancient hunting and herding dogs from Mesopotamia and the Middle East over 4,000 years ago. Even today, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are still used to guard flocks and property in their native homeland because of their exceptional herding and guardian capabilities.
Large, rugged, and powerful, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs have both great agility and endurance regardless of their massive size. They are natural guard dogs, especially when it comes to tending livestock. The undercoat of the Anatolian Shepherd is rough, while the topcoat can range from being short (about one inch long) to rough (about four inches long) with both coat varieties possibly being born in one litter. The hair on the neck is slightly longer than the rest of the body. They have almond-shaped eyes that are dark brown to light amber in color, dropped V-shaped ears, and a blocky muzzle with a black or brown nose. The long tail of the Anatolian Shepherd is carried low with the end curled upwards when relaxed.
Alert, responsive, and above all loyal, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a hard worker and an excellent guardian that has a natural wariness of strangers. With a calm and steady temperament, they are an independent thinker who can work without the supervision of humans and react quickly to perceived threats. Proper training and socialization from puppyhood are required of this breed in order for them to learn the difference between what is a threat and what is considered safe, and also to curb aggression and dominant behavior towards other dogs as an adult. Regardless of their guard dog background, they do enjoy the companionship and affection of their families and tend to form strong bonds with the ones they love. Not considered to be an ideal choice for first-time dog owners, Anatolian Shepherds can be very stubborn and dominant during obedience training and require a firm, consistent, and confident owner to establish leadership. These massive working dogs need a regular job to do, whether it be guarding livestock or protecting their family's property from intruders; a bored Anatolian can be very destructive in the home. These gentle giants love the children in their own family and are known to be very protective of them. Calm and easygoing, the Anatolian Shepherd has the potential to make a great companion and even better guardian.