Breed Love: Anatolian shepherd

Howard's Turk, R.I.P.
The majestic Anatolian shepherd. Source: Flickr, user mahaldo

I think I started noticing these gorgeous dogs because I was always searching for information on Australian shepherds, and Anatolian shepherds usually come right before them in any alphabetical listing. I suppose that’s a silly reason for gaining interest in a breed, but after I started reading about them, I became quite enamored with these regal working dogs.

From what little I do know about them, Anatolian shepherds come from Turkey, where they work with farmers to guard and maintain the flocks. They are still a relatively rare breed in the United States; the American Kennel Club officially recognized them in 1996. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few Anatolians in person. A champion breeder, who won best of breed at Westminster a few years ago, happens to live nearby and I’ve seen a few of these giant, noble dogs walking around town. Today, many Anatolian shepherds are working dogs on large farms.

Anatolian shepherd in field. Source: Flickr, user: mudranch

Although I haven’t personally interacted with Anatolians, my understanding of their temperament is that they tend to be strong-willed and independent, as guard dogs tend to be. Like the Great Pyrenees, Anatolians should possess strong territorial instincts about their flocks–be it sheep or people. They tend to be calm dogs who are somewhat reserved around strangers.

Because of their size and temperament, I don’t think I’d consider getting an Anatolian shepherd until I lived on a true farm. I’m also particularly interested in doing obedience and agility with my future dog, which makes the Anatolian’s ability to make decisions on its own not especially desirable. But I definitely harbor a fondness for these beautiful dogs and hope to have the chance to interact with some soon.

Anatolian shepherd links: