Anatolian Shepherd Dog Info & Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breeders

Anatolian Shepherd Dog is the Western breed name for the indigenous livestock guardian dogs from the historical region of Anatolia, in modern Turkey.  'Anatolian' is a non-anachronous reference, used by International Kennel Clubs (FCI, ANKC, AKC) to identify the collective Çoban Köpegi of Turkey, and to reflect their development as a landrace shepherd's guard dog, utilised since antiquity.

A wide range of different types of large, strong dogs are used by the Turkish shepherds to protect their flocks. 
These dogs have always been known as Çoban Köpegi - Shepherd Dog.  The earliest pictorial evidence of Çoban Köpegi in Turkish culture, is depicted by Court Painter Levni, and can be seen in Topkakyi Palace Museum: a grey shepherd's dog with cropped ears and wearing traditional collar, marches with the shepherds before Sultan Ahmed III in 1720, in grande Ottoman Court ceremony for the Sultan's heirs to the throne.

Bred for millennia to guard flocks travelling on the Anatolian Plateau, the Çoban Köpegi is a dog of notable size and stamina. Its hardy physical constitution reflecting that throughout its ancient lineage, the Çoban Köpegi has been bred to guard and defend, while withstanding extremes in climate and terrain.  In its Turkish homeland, the Çoban Köpegi protects flocks and serves as shepherd's companion. On the high Anatolian Plateau, where summers are hot and very dry and winters are cold, the Çoban Köpegi lives outside all year round. For centuries it was used as a combat dog in war and for hunting. As a shepherd’s dog, it is bothered by neither fatigue nor bad weather, and is valued for its victorious battles fought against wolves.  Today, Turkey’s native Çoban Köpegi is still used as a shepherd’s front line defence of his flock from predators, as well as a guard dog.

In Australia, Anatolian Çoban Köpegi are widely used in a working capacity to guard sheep, goats, chickens, alpacas, horses and are renowned for their dedication to their livestock charges, and unsurpassed loyalty to their human handlers.  They may also be found in semi-rural and suburban environments, in the role of family guardian and companion. Anatolians are an adaptable, strong, hardy, long-living dog, but due to their large size, strength and wilful nature, require a home where owners will give the young Çoban Köpegi the obedience and socialization training necessary, for it to develop into a well-adjusted family member.

The Çoban Köpegi of Turkey is registered as Çoban Köpegi under the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI); and Anatolian Shepherd Dog under the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC).

General Appearance: The morphology of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog has evolved over the ages to suit a specific set of circumstances.  The most formative of these circumstances being climate; the lifestyle of the shepherds; and the work assigned to the dogs.  The general appearance of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a tall, rugged and powerful livestock guardian dog, with a dense double coat; broad strong head; well-developed muscular shoulders; and a long tail with a slight curl (reaching to the hock), that is carried high and curled over the dog's back when alert.   The physique embodies balance and strength.  Movement of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog should be supple and powerful.  A low head carriage which shows the head, neck and topline being level when moving - creating the impression that the dog is stalking - is an important characteristic of the breed.

Coat colour and markings are secondary to sound structure that will engender a resilient and effective guardian dog.  Çoban Köpegi appearance "Must have size and stamina; capable of great speed" and be "Large, upstanding, tall, powerfully built". 

In keeping with its primitive lineage, coat colour in the Anatolian Çoban Köpegi may be all colours and includes all expressions of the Agouti gene.  Eg: wolf sable (wild type a^w), black and tan pattern (a^t), recessive black (a), as well as the most predominant coat colour and dominant phenotype: fawn coat (sable a^y) with black mask.

Breeding selection criteria based on idealised markings and colour combinations, are the luxuries and priorities of pedigree kennel club fanciers.  Traditional, utilitarian dogs had to perform - to select breeding stock based on how black or velvety a dogs muzzle or ears are, is to breed away from Turkish tradition and towards an American / English one.


Breed Information courtesy of Lilli Grgat -

Shepherd Dogs of Turkey & Central Asia Caucasus

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