The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a large, majestic, and powerful—but not massive—livestock guardian. He is capable of great speed, endurance, and agility. The head is large, but in good proportion with the rest of the body. The skull is wide and slightly rounded, with a slight stop. The rectangular muzzle should be a bit shorter than the skull, with a blunt profile. The lips are edged in black, and hang down slightly, but the upper lip should not hang down lower than the bottom jaw’s lower edge. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The V-shaped ears are pendant, rather small, and have rounded tips. In Turkey, the ears are often cropped very short. The small, deep-set eyes range from gold to brown in color. Nose and eye rims must be either black or brown. The thick, muscular neck has a slight dewlap. The topline is mainly level, though slightly rounded at the loin. The back is short relative to leg length. The chest reaches to the elbows. The front legs are straight and set well apart. The tail is set high and reaches to the hock. When the dog is alert, the tail is carried curled over the back; otherwise, it hangs low with a slight upward curl. The double coat is generally fawn with a black mask, though any color is acceptable. Other frequently seen colors include pinto, white, and brindle. Coat length might vary greatly depending on the season and the dog’s lineage. There are two basic coat types: short (1-in. minimum) and rough (about 3 in.). There might be some feathering on the ears, legs, and tail. All coats have a thick undercoat.
The noble Anatolian Shepherd Dog comes from rural Turkey, where he protects flocks and serves as a shepherd’s companion. On the high Anatolian Plateau, where summers are hot and very dry and winters are cold, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs live outside all-year round. The first Anatolian Shepherd Dogs were imported to the United States in the 1950s, though the first successful breeding program did not get underway until 1970. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is recognized by the FCI, CKC, UKC, and SKC, and, since 1995, by the AKC. Anatolians can be registered with the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America or Anatolian Shepherd Dog International, in addition to multi-breed registries such as the AKC.