About The Breed
Anatolian Shepherds have been bred for thousands of years in Turkey to guard flocks and family. They have been bred to be fairly independent and to think for themselves. A very Alpha breed, they are not for the faint of heart or wimpy. They can be like putty in your hands if you are a strong, loving, respectful alpha leader, but if you are not the alpha leader – they will try to step into that position to no good end!
Please assess yourself honestly, and look elsewhere if you can’t give clear leadership for the dog.
The breed is very territorial, and will guard as far as they can see. Because of this – sound fencing is critical. Mine have jumped fences to guard neighbors; property, which is fine as long as your neighbors are up for the idea. If not, it can mean neighbor problems! Here is a link on fencing from another anatolian owners experience http://www.lgd.org/trainfaqs.html#escaping
Whatever the pup grows up with, will be what it loves and protects. If you want them to be OK with strangers coming and going – you must invite them over in the formative period of puppyhood. Children will be a threat if they have never been around screaming, squealing children! Invite them over while the pup is young.
If you are looking for a great livestock guardian, resist the temptation to bring the pup in to sleep in the house at night. My best guardian lived 23/7 with the flock – only to come in for an hour a day to get to know the cats, parrots etc so he would not consider them a threat. They will be quite content with the livestock unless they have strongly bonded with you and long for human companionship.
Not to worry – they will relish your time and attention, but they will be very content with the animals when you leave.
Anatolians are not voracious eaters. They eat about 30% more than my 60 lb house dogs. They are lower energy dogs. They often can be found lying around apparently asleep for hours in the day. Don’t let this fool you into thinking they aren’t on duty.
I have countless times, glanced at a sleeping anatolian, only to glance back a moment later and they are 30 feet away at a dead run to check out some strange noise in a corner of the pasture.
They are an extremely long lived for a giant breed often living to 13-14. (I have had both)
Barking – Anatolians bark predators away. They are not incessant barkers and they will not bark for no reason. You will learn they have different barks for different situations. There is one bark I drop everything and run to see what is up! I always am alerted when folks have arrived at the dairy. If people come after hours, their bark is much different! I lived in the city with 2 anatolians when I first got the breed.
I could shhhhhush them from the window and they would pipe down. (I had to go out and do the alpha roll a few times after shushing them and they didn’t stop to teach this)
House training – pups learn extremely quickly. Since they are used to going outside, they will want to continue going outside rather than in the house. Most only have one or two accidents (mostly due to human error because they don’t let them out in time)
Anatolians are very nurturing with baby everything. Human babies, goat, sheep, chicks etc . I had one anatolian that would try to steal newborn baby goats after cleaning them, so I had to keep him out of the birthing pens. Once the babies were clean, he was great. He let the babies jump all over him and chew his fur!
If you have the right temperament for this breed, I think you will find your anatolian will be the very best dog you have ever had! They worm their way deep into your heart very quickly.