Anatolian Shepherd

  • Overview

    Anatolian Shepherds work as livestock guardians. They often perch above their flock and descend upon potential attackers. These dogs are fast, strong and exceedingly protective.

    Anatolian Shepherds are independent, protective working dogs who are well-suited to living outdoors and guarding their families. They are still functioning working dogs in many parts of the world, so this dog will not be content with a quiet indoor life. They are loyal, serious and caring dogs who will protect those they love at all costs.

  • Personality

    This breed's popularity comes from being a functioning working dog. Many of these dogs still work protecting flocks in America and Europe. As a puppy, the Anatolian Shepherd quickly absorbs those with whom he spends the most time as his flock. He takes the responsibility to guard and protect his flock, whether human or animal, very seriously. Therefore, if you plan to make your Anatolian Shepherd a house pet, proper socialization is critical to your young puppy's development. He will need to learn what is normal and what is a threat and who is a friend and who is a stranger right away. Even still, Anatolian Shepherds are very loyal and possessive. They will constantly work to defend their family and they will remain somewhat aloof around strangers.

    Anatolian Shepherds are hardy dogs who require quite a bit of exercise to stay happy and healthy. If you plan to make this dog an indoor pet, plan on letting him spend plenty of time outdoors in a large, fenced-in area. They are territorial, so a fenced-in yard will keep your dog from unnaturally extending his territory. Anatolian Shepherds were bred to make decisions independently of their owners, so they aren't always the most receptive to taking orders. They will respond best to dominant but fair leadership. They are committed to a pack mentality, so they will need to see their owners act as the "leader" of the "pack" in order to respect them.

  • Coat Care

    Anatolian Shepherds have a thick, short double coat. Dogs come in two varieties. Those with short coats have short, 1-inch long coats and dogs with rough coats have about 4-inch long coats. Many Anatolian Shepherds have feathering on their ears, legs and tail and a thicker neck ruff to protect them from aggressive prey. Bred to be outdoor dogs, Anatolian Shepherds also have a thick under coat to help protect them from the cold. Unfortunately, that thick coat also sheds profusely, especially seasonally. Anatolian Shepherds come in a variety of colors, but they are most frequently seen in fawn, pinto, white and brindle with the distinctive black mask and muzzle.

Brushing

Although these dogs don't tend to be high maintenance in their grooming needs, they will need thorough brushing, especially if they are indoor dogs, during shedding seasons. Dead hair can get caught in their coat, which prevents the new coat from growing in properly and gives them an even more rugged appearance than usual. They will also cause a significant indoor mess. Anatolian Shepherds are not always used to being handled by humans, so if you do plan to brush or groom your dog significantly, help him get used to the feeling as a puppy by making brushing a positive experience.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but some double-coated dogs can be done so with less frequency (the Alaskan Malamute, in particular, has no odor and can go with annual baths). The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Remember to wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing. High-velocity dryers work great to remove excessive loose hair with shedding.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, it is simple to give your dog a haircut and save expensive trips to the groomer.

Dogs with double coats generally require regular trimming. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him.  Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, if needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Corgis, Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas and Collies have sensitive ears that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If your dog is prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.