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Anatolian Shepherd 
Anatolian Shepherd Profile

Other Names: Karabash or Kangal Dog

Country of origin: Turkey/Asia Minor

Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral

General appearance:

The Anatolian Shepherd has two basic coat types: short and rough. The short coat is approximately one inch in length; the rough coat is approximately four inches in length. The neck hair is longer and thicker than the hair on the body. This is a double coat breed that has a thick undercoat. The Karabash is a large powerfully built mastiff type dog. They are best known for their distinctive facial markings, cream to fawn with a black mask and ears. The Anatolian Shepherd is known for their large, strong frame and their courage. Steady and bold but never aggressive, they should be loyal, independent and hardy. The Anatolian Shepherd has a large head; broad muzzle; dark nose; and almond shaped, brown eyes. Anatolian Shepherds at one time were used to hunt wolves but today in the United States they are used as hunters, sheepdogs, and in the military. Similar in looks to the Great Pyrenees, the Anatolian Shepherd has tighter frame and are more agile.

Colours: All colors, but most desired is solid cream to fawn with black mask and ears.


Bitch   71cm (28") 79cm (31") 

Dog    74cm (29") 81cm (32")


Bitch 41kg (90lbs) 59kg (130lbs)

Dog  50kg (110lbs) 64kg (141lbs)


A loyal, deeply devoted, and intelligent breed, the Anatolian Shepherd is calm, affectionate, and brave. They are possessive and protective of their family, home, and territory. Due to their large size they are not recommended for homes with small children. They will generally get along with dogs and other household pets they have been raised with. They must be socialised from a very early age as their guarding instinct is very strong. The Anatolian is always on alert. Loyal and trainable, the Anatolian does not like small spaces to live in. They have a natural affinity for keeping themselves clean.

Movement:  Relaxed even gait, with impression of latent power, very supple movement. Noticeable straight line of head, neck and body, giving impression of stalking in some dogs. Great drive when viewed from side.

Care and training:

The Anatolian Shepherd requires brushing once a week with special attention given to the coat during the heavy seasonal shedding. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary. They have a natural tendency to clean themselves. Mental stimulation to prevent boredom is necessary. Puppies need to be trained early or they are very wary of strangers as adults. This breed is highly susceptible to fleas, ticks, and fly bites.

This breed must have early socialization and basic obedience training. They will not respond to harshness or heavy-handed methods. Training must be done with respect, firmness, fairness, patience, consistency, and love. The Anatolian Shepherd requires a dominant owner and have been bred to use their initiative, making training quite hard. They require a great deal of patience when training and, even then, success cannot be guaranteed.

Overall Exercise: 2 hours per day.
The Karabash needs a lot of exercise, lots of long walks. This dog is very active and can endure extremes of heat and cold conditions. They need a large, enclosed and safe area for running around off the lead and so do not do well in cities and towns.  

Feeding requirements: As these dogs are so large they do need a lot of feeding, especially as young dogs, and this can be quite expensive. The adult dog will not eat a vast amount of food once it is fully grown.

Exercise: Med  

Grooming: Med

Noise: Low

Personal Protection: High

Suitability As Guard Dog: High

Level of Aggression: High

Compatibility With Other Animals: Medium

Suitablity for Children: Medium

Often docked? No

Average litter: 5 - 10

Life expectancy (yrs): 12 - 15

Health issues:  sensitivity to anesthesia, and hypothyroidism.

History: The Anatolian Shepherd is an ancient guardian breed that probably descended from Roman war dogs and came to Turkey more then 4,000 years ago. They have existed on the plateaus of Turkey across from Afghanistan for years. At first they were used as hunters for big game, being lions and horses even. In Turkey they proved to be amazing defenders of livestock against even the toughest of foes, such as wolves and bears. They were used primarily as sheep and livestock guards after this. The Anatolian Shepherd accompanied the nomadic shepherds and became widespread over a large geographical region, accounting for the Anatolian's great variation in size, coat type, and color. Some believe there are different types within the species and assign them names based on their region. The Anatolian would always find a high patch of ground to keep watch from, then strike when they saw a threat. This breed was at first believed to receive a spiked collar after they had killed a wolf, but in fact, the spiked collars were used for protection.


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