The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is one of the most majestic and noble animals in the service of man; still being used in the rural districts of Turkey as the shepherds' indispensable companion and front line of defense of his livestock from predators. Without the aid of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, the Turkish shepherd would be less able to defend his property and flock from wild animals. Such dogs are found from the Turkish Anatolian plateau right on through to Afghanistan.

In Turkey today, the breed is known as Coban Kopegi (cho-bawn ko-pay) which translates to "Shepherd's Dog". He is a livestock guardian dog, living his life in constant association with his sheep or goats, and is accepted as a member of the flock. (He is NOT a herding dog)

The extraordinary speed and agility of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog enable him to run down a predator with great efficiency. Turkish Shepherds equip some of their dogs with impressive iron-spiked collars as protection against attacking animals that grab for the throat.

A large part of Central Anatolia is a high plateau of wide plains and rolling hills. Summers are dry, while winters are marked with heavy snowfalls and temperatures plunging well below freezing. Here in this environment, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a functional tool of the Turkish Shepherd.

Historically, since Babylonian times, there is documented a breed of large strong dogs with a heavy head. Some spectacular depictions of the breed dating back to 2,000 BC can be seen on the well preserved bas-reliefs in the Assyrian Rooms of the British Museum in London. With the advent of the first domestic sheep, the dogs went from "hunter" to "protector". The book of Job, which dates back to at least 1,800 BC and is set in the region of Turkey, makes reference to the dogs with the flocks.

Although Anatolians were brought to America as early as the 1950's, Anatolians were virtually unheard of in this country until the 1970s. That's when the Endangered Species Act triggered a search for a means of controlling predators without killing them. University and government agricultural researchers discovered primitive dogs like the Anatolian Shepherd Dog guarding flocks of sheep and goats in some of the world's oldest pastoral societies. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the dogs' mere presence was enough to keep carnivores away. Rarely is actual battle required, because even minor injuries can prove fatal for predators in the wild. That's fine with the Anatolians, who'd rather not fight - - it upsets their charges. An Anatolian's first defensive measure is visual deterrence. They simply stand and let themselves be seen. If that doesn't do the trick, intruders are greeted with a mild, throat-clearing sort of bark that will escalate, if necessary, to a bloodcurdling warning. That final warning is NOT an idle threat. With their legendary fearlessness, prodigious strength and cat-like agility they can drive off the largest of predators. Ironically, while the dogs protect livestock, they protect predators too by minimizing conflict with humans (as in the Cheetah Conservation Project in Nambibia, Africa). Today, several thousands of these dogs are defending America's pastures.

Most Anatolian authorities agree that, while they can make superb deeply bonded companions with proper and consistent socialization, they are not "pets" in the conventional sense of the word. Bred for millennia to exercise independent judgment in response to perceived danger, whether from four or two legged predators, these ancient guardian dogs WILL protect. While they are not aggressive the way guard dogs like Rottweilers or Dobermans can be, their protective reactions have been likened to the strike of a rattlesnake. Anatolians require substantial fencing in all but open range settings, and should never be allowed off leash off their property, with the possible exception of completely fenced in dog parks. Some Anatolians make wonderful Therapy dogs because of their calm temperaments, but "attack dog training" is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED for this breed because of their serious nature.

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog of today has remained relatively unchanged from its ancestors because of the nature of its isolated existence and the fact that it is a landrace that has evolved based on function and not just a pretty face or a particular color. The Turks have for centuries been dependent upon the land for their livelihood, relying on domesticated animals as an integral part of their existence. For this reason, perhaps, the characteristics of the Anatolian have been so exactly preserved, characteristics well adapted to: Turkey's hot climate and terrain; the lifestyle of the shepherds that, until modern times, was nomadic; and the job of guarding the village flocks against fierce predators.

The first active breeding program in the United States was the result of the importation of a breeding pair of dogs by Lt. Robert C. Ballard, USN, who was stationed in Turkey from 1966 to 1968. Upon their return to the United States, the Ballards settled in El Cajon, California, where on August 16th, 1970, their imports Zorba and Peki produced the first recorded American-bred litter. The year 1970 also saw the founding of the National Breed Club, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America.


GENERAL APPEARANCE - Large, rugged, powerful and impressive, possessing great endurance and agility. Developed through a set of very demanding circumstances for a purely utilitarian purpose; he is a working guard dog without equal, with a unique ability to protect livestock. General impression - Appears bold, but calm, unless challenged. He possesses size, good bone, a well-muscled torso with a strong head. Reserve out of its territory is acceptable. Fluid movement and even temperament is desirable.

SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE - General balance is more important than absolute size. Dogs should be from 29 inches and weighing from 110 to 150 pounds proportionate to size and structure. Bitches should be from 27 inches, weighing from 80 to 120 pounds, proportionate to size and structure. Neither dog nor bitch appear fat. Both dog and bitch should be rectangular, in direct proportion to height. Measurements and weights apply at age 2 or older.

HEAD - Expression should be intelligent. Eyes are medium size, set apart, almond shaped and dark brown to light amber in color. Blue eyes or eyes of two different colors are a disqualification. Eye rims will be black or brown and without sag or looseness of haw. Incomplete pigment is a serious fault. Ears should be set on no higher than the plane of the head. V-shaped, rounded apex, measuring about four inches at the base to six inches in length. The tip should be just long enough to reach the outside corner of the eyelid. Ears dropped to sides. Erect ears are a disqualification. Skull is large but in proportion to the body. There is a slight centerline furrow, fore and aft, from apparent stop to moderate occiput. Broader in dogs than in bitches. Muzzle is blockier and stronger for the dog, but neither dog nor bitch would have a snipey head or muzzle. Nose and flews must be solid black or brown. Seasonal fading is not to be penalized. Incomplete pigment is a serious fault. Flews are normally dry but pronounced enough to contribute to "squaring" the overall muzzle appearance. Teeth and gums strong and healthy. Scissors bite preferred, level bite acceptable. Broken teeth are not to be faulted. Overshot, undershot or wry bite are disqualifications.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY - Neck slightly arched, powerful, and muscular, moderate in length with more skin and fur than elsewhere on the body, forming a protective ruff. The dewlap should not be pendulous and excessive. Topline will appear level when gaiting. Back will be powerful, muscular, and level, with drop behind withers and gradual arch over loin, sloping slightly downward at the croup. Body well proportioned, functional, without exaggeration. Never fat or soft. Chest is deep (to the elbow) and well-sprung with a distinct tuck up at the loin. Tail should be long and reaching to the hocks. Set on rather high. When relaxed, it is carried low with the end curled upwards. When alert, the tail is carried high, making a "wheel." Both low and wheel carriage are acceptable, when gaiting. "Wheel" carriage preferred. The tail will not necessarily uncurl totally.

FOREQUARTERS - Shoulders should be muscular and well developed, blades long, broad and sloping. Elbows should be neither in nor out. Forelegs should be relatively long, well-boned and set straight with strong pasterns. The feet are strong and compact with well-arched toes, oval in shape. They should have stout nails with pads thick and tough. Dewclaws may be removed.

HINDQUARTERS - Strong, with broad thighs and heavily muscled. Angulation at the stifle and hock are in proportion to the forequarters. As seen from behind, the legs are parallel. The feet are strong and compact with well-arched toes, oval in shape. Double dewclaws may exist. Dewclaws may be removed.

COAT - Short (one inch minimum, not tight) to Rough (approximately 4 inches in length) with neck hair slightly longer. Somewhat longer and thicker at the neck and mane. A thick undercoat is common to all. Feathering may occur on the ear fringes, legs, breeching, and tail.

COLOR - All color patterns and markings are equally acceptable.

GAIT - At the trot, the gait is powerful yet fluid. When viewed from the front or rear, the legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. With increased speed, footfall converges toward the center line of gravity. When viewed from the side, the front legs should reach out smoothly with no obvious pounding. The withers and backline should stay nearly level with little rise or fall. The rear assembly should push out smoothly with hocks doing their share of the work and flexing well.

TEMPERAMENT - Alert and intelligent, calm and observant. Instinctively protective, he is courageous and highly adaptable. He is very loyal and responsive. Highly territorial, he is a natural guard. Reserve around strangers and off its territory is acceptable. Responsiveness with animation is not characteristic of the breed. Overhandling would be discouraged.

DISQUALIFICATIONS - Blue eyes or eyes of two different colors. Erect ears. Overshot, undershot, or wry bite.

Approved: June 1995
Effective: June 1, 1996


Selecting a puppy is serious business. The wrong choice too often leads to unhappy relationships or even abandoned dogs. Responsible ethical breeders become breeders because they love the breed. The ideal breeder uses only good quality, sound foundation stock, healthy temperaments, healthy bodies with no serious faults. The breeder’s invaluable years of expertise should be made available to the novice dog owner, enabling the new owner to avoid the pitfalls the breeder has endured. The onus is on you, the buyer, to do your homework and find a breeder who will do his utmost to help you select the right puppy. The buyer/seller relationship can develop into a lifetime friendship. The ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG CLUB OF AMERICA, INC. hopes that the following Buyer’s Guide will help you select a good breeder and make the actual process of acquiring a dog a pleasant and a rewarding experience.


1. Are the sire and dam registered with the ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG CLUB OF AMERICA, INC., or AKC? Is the litter registered with the ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG CLUB OF AMERICA, INC. or AKC?
2. How many years have you been involved in the breed and can you provide references from previous buyers?
3. What are the special characteristics of this breed that attracted you to want to become an owner/breeder of Anatolian Shepherds?
4. How many litters do you breed a year?
5. What are some of the drawbacks to owning this breed? (Don’t believe them if they answer, “none.”)
6. Can you tell me about any inherited/genetic health problems with this breed? Other health considerations?
7. What can you tell me about the history/background/function of this breed?
8. Are the sire and dam x-rayed and certified clear of hip dysplasia? Will you provide copies of the O.F.A. certificates of the sire and dam?
9. Are the sire and dam free of any hereditary diseases/defects?
10. Do the sire and dam have the kind of temperament and personality I desire in my pup?
11. Will you provide a copy of the prospective puppy’s pedigree before I purchase?
12. Do you offer a guarantee? Written contract? (Remember, even the best intentions do not always produce 100 percent guaranteed results. Defects sometimes occur, even with healthy parents and proper care. All these things should be take into consideration before the purchase, with an amicable WRITTEN CONTRACT reached for the “what if.”)
13. Can I see the sire and dam and the litter? If it is not possible to travel to see the sire and dam and the litter, can you send photos? Videotape? Are there Anatolian Shepherd Dogs in my areas that I can visit to see the breed firsthand?
14. Observe the dogs. Are the dogs clean? Happy? Do the dogs appear healthy?
15. What kind of training is required to have successful working Anatolian Shepherd? Show Dog? Family Protector?
16. Are there any specific grooming requirements?
17. Have the puppies been temperament tested and if so, what were the results?
18. What is the price of the puppies? (Price varies, but usually is between $800-$1500 depending on the quality of the parents and the litter and reputation of the breeder). The ASDCA will provide a Breeder’s List on request.


1. What is your objective in purchasing an Anatolian Shepherd Dog? Are you looking for a working dog, show potential or family protector? What made you decide to get a dog at this time? (This breed is definitely NOT recommended for Schutzhund training.)
2. Do you now own/or have you owned an Anatolian Shepherd Dog? Do you have any other dogs? Pets? Livestock? How many and what kind?
3. What has been your experience with dogs? If you do not have any dogs at this time, how long did you have your last dog? What happened to it?
4. Do you have well-behaved children?
5. Do you live in a house? Apt.? Ranch? Do you have proper facilities to care for this dog? Fencing?
6. What is your work schedule? Are you committed to devoting large amounts of time to the socialization required in the successful upbringing of an Anatolian Shepherd Dog? Do you have the time to attend training classes?
7. Do you plan to breed? Are you willing to spay/neuter a dog sold as a pet?
8. Do you have the finances to provide quality food / veterinary care / facilities for a large dog?
9. Will you keep in touch as to the progress of the puppy? Will you call me first if you ever have to place the dog in another home?

BE RESPONSIBLE: If you are a first-time buyer, have you studied the Breed Standard to form a definitive picture in your head of what is a good specimen of the breed? When you make your first contact with a breeder, remember that most breeders are hobbyists whose kennel is part of their home. Please call ahead at a reasonable hour and make an appointment. If you do not feel comfortable with the answers you get from the breeder, politely thank them for their time and move on to the next breeder. Most breeders genuinely love dogs and will do their utmost to help you select the right puppy.

“The trick is not to fall in love with a pup but rather to love the dog he'll become!”


You think of your Anatolians protecting YOU, but you really have to protect them too. Here are some tips from the Legislative Committee to help you keep you and your dog out of trouble. Some of the tips will be for "country life" and some for "city life", and some will apply to both!

1) Keep license and rabies up to date: Make sure you Follow your county/city licensing guidelines and keep your rabies shots up to date. Always keep the paper rabies certificates in a place you can easily find them.

2) Be a good neighbor: Always be mindful of your neighbors, even in rural situations. I live next to large parcels of land, but the house on one side isn't far from my property line, so I am mindful of noise.
a) Keep your property cleaned up of feces.
b) Bring dogs in that bark excessively. Know your noise laws – this is a growing problem in rural counties that have seen a lot of influx for residential use. Know whether the "noise offenses" are criminal or civil. For suburban folks, when considering fencing a 6' fence privacy fence is often better than chain link. Dogs will tend to bark less when they do not see every movement from the neighbors on the other side. (There is also a bigger reaction from someone that hops your fence in an attempt to steal something.)
c) If you use an electric hotwire on your fence, put signs up saying "Caution, electric fence".
d) Meet your neighbors and explain to them that you have livestock guardians and their job is to bark and warn off predators. Ask them to let you know if the dogs bother them. (Often times, if you explain a situation, such as your dog is driving away coyotes that could eat your neighbor's little Chihuahua, the neighbor thinks twice before complaining.)
e) If your neighbor has dogs that run loose, try to have the best fencing you can to keep their dogs out and yours in. (My neighbor's dogs run loose, and if they have been out gallivanting, when they come home they usually go along the side of the road and they will cross the road and the ditch before they get to my property to make a wide berth. My dogs don't even have to be around to bark – the neighbor's dogs just respect the entire property.)
f) Watch what comes over your fence. I have had neighbors bring bags of grass clippings to "feed my horses a treat". They meant well, but didn't know they could colic my horses. Use those opportunities to teach neighbors and especially children, 1) don't feed the dogs anything – not gum, candy, bones etc., 2) don't come over the fence to retrieve a ball – you will return it to
them, 3) don't stick your fingers through the fence or hang around the fence and certainly don't climb on the fence – the electric wire usually does the trick and they do it once if at all, 4) don't dare your little brother to touch the electric wire, and lastly, 5) check your fences often to ensure they are still intact and functioning.

1) Gates: Keep your gate secured with the addition of a chain and a lock if necessary. Note the dates your utility company reads your meter. They do not always
care if they shut your gates. Before I got Anatolians, I had come home from work one day, and realized the gate and latch was not how I left it, I walked the barn and went into the side horse pasture and found a rope tied into a lasso that did not belong to me. A padlocked gate went up at the road after that. Unfortunately, at this property, the house was way off the road and you couldn't see much from the road, so I was driving out to go to work one morning and someone had abandoned their broken down car in my driveway thinking no one used the driveway much. Sigh.

2) Signs: Don't use "Beware of Dog" signs, as this implies you have dangerous dogs, which will also be noted by your insurance company when they come out for inspections. Use "Livestock Guardian Dog on Duty – Do not Disturb" or "Dogs on Premises – Please keep gates shut" and also use "NO Trespassing" signs. Put the "NO Trespassing" signs along each boundary of your property and put the signs within sight of each other. My neighbor was having trouble with the neighbor on the other side and we noticed the new NO Trespassing signs up along our property lines – He came over and explained it wasn't meant for us, but for the other neighbor. We thanked him, but said we knew you had to mark all boundary lines and we would keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Teenagers were four wheeling through his fields.

3) Understand behavior "At Home" vs "Away from Home": Understanding behavior is critical in order to avoid any incidents that will eventually involve Animal Control or someone filing a complaint against you or your dog. Behavior on property can be quite different than out in public on leash. ASD's are very protective at home and off property they can be quiet and more tolerant. Yet some can also be just as "guardy" on leash and off property. Some Anatolians do not want strangers approaching and petting them, while others are happy to greet new people. If you have socialized your puppy continually in public places they will often tolerate way more than one who has not had the benefit of lots of socialization. According to Laura Long,

My Faith sounds like she wants to tear children limb from limb at home and behind the fence. She is loud and obnoxious when she sees dogs, children, bikes, cats. She is quiet at shows around all the other dogs. She is also very gentle with kids and very tolerant in crowds. Hard to believe she is the same dog. Yet she still can be a little snarky when a new ASD comes to show with our
group of dogs. She will accept them after a few times of showing. She has no desire to get to know them, but will hang with the group politely." Catherine's Duke makes it very clear to strangers who come to her house that they are not to 1) steal anything,

2) grab at her suddenly (handshakes and hugs are fine) and

3) mind their Ps and Qs – they will be scrutinized until proven worthy. However, at a dog show or public place like Petsmart – he allows people to pet him. He endured 3 hours of "meet the breed" at Eukanuba in 2011. There is nothing wrong with stopping a person, or person with a dog, that is approaching you, by saying, "Please back away, I am teaching my dog to ignore other dogs and
people." By using this line, you are not saying the dog is dangerous, you are not implying anything about that person or dog, but it is a useful saying to get people to respect your space and avoid incidents.

a) Keep your ASD on a leash when off your property. Laura warns, "Don't assume that your dogs will be reliable off leash. False security on your part can become a disaster once your dog reaches maturity at 3 or 4 years old."

b) Don't assume other dogs want your dog in their face and certainly don't assume that your ASD wants another dog in their face. Respect a dog's personal space and demand respect for your own dog.

c) If you have an ASD that's uncomfortable around strangers, inform people how to behave. Laura advises, people should approach without staring at the dog, don't address the dog – tell them to talk and look at you and to ignore the dog at first until you know your dog is comfortable. Remember, the tighter you hold a leash the more the dog pulls, if you have fears, you will communicate them to the dog through the leash.

7) Plants and People Food: While it probably won't land you in court, it is good to know which indoor and outdoor plants are toxic and non-toxic. We have placed these lists on the Health Section of the ASDCA website below or you may access them by clicking here.





Stay Tuned...


All ASDCA Members have permission to print any of the below
handouts for use as a reference or for Educational Purposes









Where does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog originate?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is native to the rural districts of Turkey and Asia Minor where it is the shepherd's companion and protector of livestock.

Is the Anatolian Shepherd Dog recognized by the American Kennel Club?

Yes. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is the 144th breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Anatolian is in the Working Group. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc. is the AKC recognized Parent Club.

How many Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are in the United States?

Over 5,000 Anatolian Shepherds have been registered in the United States since 1970, the year the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc. was founded. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are registered by the American Kennel Club and/or the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc.

How big does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog get?

At full maturity (age 3 years) the adult male should weigh 110-150 pounds and stand at least 29 inches at the shoulder. Females should weigh 80-120 pounds and stand at least 27 inches at the shoulder.

What are the colors and coat length of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The classic coloring of this breed is fawn with black mask. Other colors may include pinto, white, or brindle. Short and rough coats can be found within the same litter.

What is the lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The average lifespan of the Anatolian Shepherd is between 11-13 years in a normal, safe environment. Working guardians have a high mortality rate.

What is the temperament of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a fiercely loyal guard dog that demonstrates a possessive attitude towards family, property and livestock. He is suspicious of strangers, reserved when in public and may expect a "formal introduction' before tolerating any familiarities. The Anatolian requires an owner who can be a strong, positive leader who consistently requires civilized behavior. This means SOCIALIZATION!

What training is recommended for Anatolian Shepherd Dogs?

It is necessary to SOCIALIZE the Anatolian Shepherd Dog from puppyhood. Obedience training is an absolute necessity. Schutzhund training is not encouraged nor recommended for this breed.

How much does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog eat?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a conservative eater, thriving on low protein foods, particularly lamb & rice diets.

Is the Anatolian Shepherd Dog good with children?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is affectionate with family and likes well-behaved children. He does not recognize the child as his master and may be protective of his child. Careful supervision of children around the dog is recommended due to the dog's large size and temperament.

What type of housing/fencing is needed for this breed?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog should be kept in a fenced area not only for his protection but so that he does not become a liability. A large yard with a 5 or 6 foot fence and a locked gate is ideal. The breed can endure extremes of temperature and terrain. A shelter from inclement weather (which he may or may not choose to use) and a shady area when it is warm should be provided.

How Is the Anatolian Shepherd Dog with other animals and family pets?

The most successful relationship with other animals is the situation when the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, as a puppy, is introduced under careful supervision to other animals. Puppies usually adapt well to other family pets (or livestock) and often take them into their protective sphere.

Does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog bark excessively?

Some Anatolian Shepherd Dogs will bark more than others. In general the adult Anatolian is usually quiet, only sounding the alarm when necessary. Puppies will test their owners and may bark at any noise or intruder.

Does the Anatolian Shepherd Dog have any breed related health problems?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog has not been prone to any particular disease. Hip dysplasia, while present in most large breeds, is not yet a serious problem. Responsible breeder's will radiograph all breeding stock. Entropion (inverted eyelids) is present in some lines, but like HD, it will not be widespread if breeders only breed from healthy stock. There is not a high incidence of bloat in the breed. Because of the drop ear, ear infections are fairly common. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog may be sensitive to anesthesia, especially if the dog is wearing a heavy-duty flea collar.

What grooming is required for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog?

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog requires standard care for coat, eyes, ears pads and nails. He tends to have little "doggy" odor. He does not drool. The coat requires little care except during seasonal shedding (molting) twice a year, at which time a thorough brushing is required.


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(revised 04/17/2017 to include new video procedure)
Including pregnant bitch & frozen semen policy


ASDCA Registrar: Dorothy Ballard
Phone: 858-663-8667