Considering an Anatolian

The Anatolian Shepherd is a flock-guarding breed that isn’t for everyone.


Q. We own our home in the suburbs, with great neighbors and a very dog-friendly community. We have two kids under five. We just lost our elderly Golden and Lab and are thinking about an Anatolian Shepherd. Do you think this would be a good choice?

A. An Anatolian Shepherd is a giant flock-guardian breed from Turkey. Other flock guardians include the Hungarian Kuvasz and Komondor, and the Tibetan Mastiff. These are very loving dogs with their families but far more protective than the “never-met-a-stranger” retrievers and aloof to strangers.

They are hardwired to protect their flock – and without livestock to protect, YOU become their flock. Furthermore, the enemies of the flock include your “pushy” suburban neighbors who walk into your house without knocking or ringing the doorbell first. The dog might even misinterpret the actions of your kids’ noisy friends chasing after your kids or play wrestling.

Early and ongoing socialization is essential for the flock-guardian breeds and they will relax when you tell them the visitors in your home mean no harm. However, those same friends casually entering your home or backyard without you will not be tolerated because a flock guardian considers such behavior overly familiar and will respond with suspicion.

These are wonderful dogs but strong and primitive, and certainly not for everyone.


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john   lakewood, Colorado

1/27/2014 1:25:24 AM

I rescued a small puppy wasn't quite sure what breed he was found out he was a Anatolian , best dog I've ever had very loyal and loving. Can be stubborn at times but who isn't every day is an adventure

Very smart very good judge of character

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Joan - 253007   

6/10/2012 5:35:21 PM

I don't know much about the Anatolian Shepherd, but learned something about it in the Dog Fancy mag. what a beautiful dog. I couold never handle one fo rsure as my German shepherd is enough for me. but I love large dogs. Many kudos to all whjo love and care for the Anatolian. How great to have one. Joan Haye

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Dawn   Baltimore, MD

2/19/2012 8:06:12 AM

We have a 10 year old Anatolian male named Louie. He is extremely stubborn and was not the easiest dog to train. Besides myself, husband and 2 children, there are only 3 other people he will allow to just walk in the front door. We have to watch him constantly! He will allow strangers to come into the house or yard, but once they are in corners them and becomes very protective. Louie is a perfect fit for our family. I have never felt safer with any other dog, but would not recommend him to anyone who can not commit to the constant training the breed needs. As for shedding, it is year round, not twice a year. I personally love this dog and his protective ways!

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A   C, VA

12/7/2009 6:19:21 PM


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