Breed Spotlight: Anatolian Shepherd

Four minutes
Sep 13, 2022

 Anatolian Shepherd Quick Stats


11 – 13 years


80 – 150 lbs


28 – 32 inches




Protective, intelligent, independent

Common Health Problems:

Hip dysplasia, bloat, allergies

Anatolian Shepherd: How Do I Look?

The Anatolian shepherd is a working dog that sits tall and strong, and can weigh up to 150 pounds. This breed’s tough exterior embodies a protective nature and independent energy that’s bred for guarding.3

Coat Type and Colors

Anatolian shepherds can be found with either short or rough coats, but all have a thick undercoat. They have fringed fur, also known as feathering, in areas like the neck, ears, and legs. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes several colors for the Anatolian shepherd, including white, fawn, blue fawn, red fawn, gray fawn, brindle, and liver. Most of the breed’s distinct markings include a different colored mask.3


Anatolian shepherds have v-shaped, dropped ears that don’t perk up when alert. Their ears are relatively small for a dog their size, with the tips only reaching the level of their eyes.3 It’s not uncommon for this breed to have ears that are darker in color to match their mask.

Shedding and Grooming

Since Anatolians are double-coated, they shed heavily when the seasons change, primarily in the spring and fall. During these times, it’s important to brush daily if possible to help make the process less taxing on your dog and your dark clothes. Otherwise, this breed is relatively low-maintenance, requiring a good brush on a semi-weekly basis and a bath when needed.

Drooling Level

Despite being a large guard dog, Anatolian shepherds don’t drool as much as some other breeds their size. They mostly drool when they’re patiently awaiting an appetizing meal or after eating.

Anatolian Shepherd: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

I’m the ride or die companion you’ve been looking for. I’m loyal to a fault and will do anything to protect my family. I’m independent, but don’t let that fool you — I’m super affectionate with the people I love and consider them members of my pack!


The Anatolian shepherd temperament is the definition of cool, calm, and collected on the surface. They’re quiet and reserved with strangers, mainly due to their innate desire to protect. While fiercely independent, an Anatolian shepherd’s personality shines when they’re with their closest family. They display playfulness and affection that most wouldn’t expect for this breed.

Exercise Needs

Anatolian shepherds don’t require as much exercise as other large breeds, but it doesn’t mean they enjoy being couch potatoes either. They’re not stimulated by games of fetch; these dogs feel fulfillment when put to work, so walking them with a weighted harness or enrolling them in training that taps into their skills can give them the exercise they need.

Are Anatolian Shepherds Good with Other Pets?

Anatolians do best when they’re the only dog in the home since they’re territorial and protective by nature.4 If socialized from puppyhood, this breed has the potential to coexist with other pets. Don’t expect them to be best friends, though!


Due to their independence, Anatolians can be difficult to train for inexperienced owners, but they’re highly trainable for the right one. This breed is often used for livestock and home protection, and they excel when given a task.

Are Anatolian Shepherds Good with Kids?

Yes, the Anatolian shepherd is good with kids, often displaying affection and playfulness toward the children in their home.3 Due to their size and protective nature, however, they’d be best fit in a home with experienced owners and/or older children.

Barking Level

This breed barks moderately, typically to alert owners of someone approaching or entering the home. They’ll also bark to ward off any potential threats. Like most shepherd dog breeds, the barking can become unruly if they’re not trained properly to only bark when necessary.

Anatolian Shepherd: A History

The Anatolian shepherd gets their namesake from Anatolia, Turkey. Dogs among this breed are considered flock-guarding dogs, and were brought to the United States in the 1950s to support ranchers.5

The breed is said to have been imported to the states even earlier, however. In the 1930s, two dogs believed to be Anatolian shepherds were brought to Washington, D.C. as a part of a government program to find the best sheepdog.5 The breed wasn’t recognized by the AKC until 1996, but they have a long-standing, centuries-old history of being livestock- and flock-guarding dogs.

Common Anatolian Shepherd Mixes

  • German Anatolian shepherd: Anatolian shepherd mixed with a German shepherd
  • Anatolian Pyrenees: Anatolian shepherd mixed with a great Pyrenees
  • Plush Danios: Anatolian shepherd mixed with a Great Dane

Anatolian Shepherd Health Issues

Anatolian shepherds may experience a variety of health issues, including:6

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • BloatThis is a life-threatening condition caused by gas in the chest cavity.
  • Entropion: This is an eye condition that causes the dog’s eyelids to invert.
  • Demodex mange: This is a skin disease caused by parasitic mites.

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Anatolian Shepherds

Anatolians are predisposed to a few conditions, including entropion, demodex mange, bloat, allergies, and hip dysplasia. Some of these conditions depend on the dog’s age and lifestyle. A MetLife1 dog insurance policy may help cover the cost of diagnosis or treatment for certain diseases.2

Hip dysplasia

Large breeds like the Anatolian Shepherd are most often prone to hip dysplasia, a condition that affects a dog’s hip socket. It’s considered a genetic condition since dogs are more likely to get hip dysplasia in their lifetime if their parents had it. While the condition is commonly diagnosed in senior dogs, it’s not uncommon for a dog of any age to be afflicted.

Your veterinarian will make a decision to have hip dysplasia surgery based upon case severity, your dog’s size, age and activity level. A total hip replacement is recommended for generally healthy adult dogs impacted by hip dysplasia, but there are also a few other surgical options for dogs under 10 months old who show signs of the condition at their young age. Monitor your dog’s movements and be mindful of their health history and genetic predispositions. It’s best if your dog displays any joint issues that it is caught early. to make sure it can be caught early.


Anatolian shepherds are prone to bloat due to their size and their large chest cavity. When a dog experiences bloat, their stomach fills with gas, potentially causing gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). This is a potentially fatal condition where the stomach inverts itself and restricts function. This requires an emergency vet visit that could be a costly expense toward saving your pup’s life. The cause of this condition is unknown, so being in tune with your dog’s behavior for early detection is key.

Learn more about what pet insurance does and doesn’t cover to make the best decision on behalf of your furry friend. Remember, signing up for dog insurance while your Anatolian is a puppy can ensure they have the coverage they need in the event of an emergency.

Protect your Anatolian Shepherd with Pet Insurance

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

3 “Anatolian Shepherd Dog,” The American Kennel Club

4 “Anatolian Shepherd,” BeChewy

5 “The Secret History of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs In America,” The American Kennel Club

6 “What to Know About Anatolian Shepherd Dogs,” Fetch by WebMD

L0922025663[exp0924][All States][DC,GU,MP,PR,VI]