Anatolian Shepherd Dog

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a breed of dog which originated in Anatolia (central Turkey). The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is descended from ancient livestock guardian dog types that migrated with the transhumance, guarding flocks of sheep from wolves, bears, jackals, and even cheetahs. It is probable that dogs of this type existed 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. The dogs were called Çoban Köpeği (shepherd dog), and over the centuries, regional variations or landraces developed.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Appearance

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog 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 30 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm) females are between 26 to 28 inches (66 to 71 cm) and weighs between 150 and 200 pounds (70 to 90 kg), with females on the smaller side and males on the larger side. The coat may be any color, although most common are white cream, "sesame," and white with large colored spots that do not cover more than 30% of the body—known as piebald—these colors may or may not be accompanied by a black mask and/or ears. They have a thick double coat that is somewhat wirey, that needs to be brushed 1-2 times a week in warm weather due to excessive shedding. They have very thick hair on their neck to protect their throat. They are seen with docked as well as intact tails. They are a naturally thin animal with a large rib cage and small stomach. They look as if they are heavier then they actually are, due to the thick coat.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Temperament

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog was developed to be independent and forceful, responsible for guarding its master's flocks without human assistance or direction. These traits make it challenging as a pet; owners of dogs of this breed must 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 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 chase bears to protect their charges. According to Turkish shepherds, three Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are capable of overcoming a pack of wolves and injuring one or two of them. These dogs like to roam, as they were bred to travel with their herd and to leave the herd to go hunt for predators before the predators could attack the flock. Therefore, they need lots of room to run. They will look for any opportunity to go exploring on their own, so a secure fence is needed to keep them home. If they do happen to escape, don't worry, they know their way back home. They will return home on their own almost 100% of the time. It is recommended to micro-chip and tag pets. A six foot tall fence is necessary, as anything smaller could easily be jumped by the large breed. This breed is not recommended for living in small quarters. If left outside at night, the breed will bark and howl at any noise they hear, as they have excellent hearing capabilities. They do well with other animals, including cats if they are introduced while still a puppy and have their own space. It is not recommended to pin this type of dog in a small enclosure with another dog. Since they were bred for protection they can become territorial, especially in confined living areas. They are very loving and loyal animals who do well with children. Except occasionally knocking over small children, due to the breeds large size. They are not overly hyper, or destructive, and they can become quite comfortable and lazy in a household setting. They mature between 18–30 months. Both puppies and adults seem to have little interest in fetching or chewing. Rather, they prefer to run and sometimes swim. While playing they are known to nip lightly at the heels of their owners as well as other animals in an effort to herd them. Overall this breed is very loyal, and protective of it's owner. They need around 30–60 minutes of moderate exercise per day. They do well on and off leash.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Mortality

There appears to be only one health survey of Anatolian Shepherds Dog, 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.However the average life span is actually between 12–15 years. This is a typical longevity for purebred dogs in general, but several years longer than other breeds of their size, which have median longevities of 6–8 years. The leading causes of death of the dogs in the survey were cancer (22%), "combinations" (17%), cardiac (13%), and old age (13%).

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Morbidity

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.

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