The Anatolian Shepherd Dog: Quick Look

 As you research the Anatolian Shepherd breed, you’ll find a multitude of opinions masked as facts. At Apex, we encourage our followers and clients to utilize their critical thinking skills to determine if the breed and breeding program is a good fit for them prior to placing any deposit or waitlist fee. This is to protect YOU from losing money and time. Below you’ll find some information and recommended resources. We hope you find this helpful in your search for your ideal dog!

Origins and Today

 Originating in Asia Minor/ “Anatolia,” the Anatolian Shepherd is a breed of livestock guardian dog consisting of many regional variations of “shepherd’s dogs” or Çoban Kopegi (cho-bawn ko-pay). Their purpose has always been to protect the flocks and herds, along with their shepherds, from any threats they come across while grazing in large expanses of open land. These are not herding dogs, nor guard dogs. Guardian dogs are independent thinkers who do not require the input of humans to perform their work. They analyze and take action, sometimes before their shepherd even knows something is awry. This is the key to the Anatolian’s charm, but can also be a point of struggle for new owners.

To read more about the history of the Anatolian Shepherd, please visit the ASDCA Breed Profile page.

Prior to the AKC, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America was founded in 1970. Anatolians were found in international conformation shows, including Mexico. The Anatolian Shepherd breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1999. Since then, the breed has gained some ground, but remains a less common breed, especially in the conformation show ring. Many registered and unregistered Anatolian Shepherds work their traditional job of protecting stock and shepherd from outside threats. The breed retains its ancient roots and purpose, making it a more difficult fit in some modern living situations. The key to success with your Anatolian (or any dog) is respecting their drive and needs. 

How to Find Your Anatolian Shepherd

 As you search for your next working prospect, most “unregistered Anatolian Shepherds” you’ll come across today are crossbred with other breeds (hopefully other livestock guardian dog breeds, but not always). Be cautious of “Purebred Unregistered,” “Pureblood,” “Pure” and other language in advertisements regarding working Anatolian pups sold without papers. When someone makes the claim that their dog is “pure” but not pedigreed, they are making an unsubstantiated claim.  Registration paperwork from AKC or another registry does NOT mean a dog will be a better worker or higher quality than a pup advertised in these ways, however- the registration includes family history in lineage at minimum, and health, work and training at best. 

 The benefit of a registered dog (or any animal) is that you know what you are getting for your money. The consistency that follows pedigreed lines and tracked data on working ability, temperament, health and longevity are what you want when searching through a pedigree. Buyers who prefer not to leave their results to chance pay for paper records on their animals.

 Before purchasing an Anatolian Shepherd (whether registered or not), we recommend that you familiarize yourself with what the breed ideal is and think about how that may NOT fit into your lifestyle. You can read the breed standard HERE and note that it is not the strictest standard. The variety of color and pattern acceptable in the breed provides variety and sometimes, confusion. The accepted colors and markings for AKC registration are:

 If you come across a breeder who is breeding outside of the breed standard, whether that be for extra large size, “rare color,” pet quality, or any other means of standing out against the standard, take note and be cautious. Not everyone is honest about their motivation for breeding, and those who are not working to preserve the breed to the written standard have motivation outside of protecting the Anatolian Shepherd dog for future generations.

Health in the Anatolian Shepherd

 There are more posts coming on the topic of health, but the base level health testing requirements for the Anatolian Shepherd come from the ASDCA and CHIC. 

OFA Anatolian Shepherd Health Testing Requirements


Hip and Elbow certification are the bare minimum testing requirements for any Anatolian being considered for breeding.  Passing OFA results are automatically posted publicly in their database. If you are looking at a litter out of two dogs, and one does not have BOTH Hip and Elbow scores posted in OFA’s database, ask for certificates from the breeder.


The only time this is not a red flag is if the Hip option the breeder took was PennHIP, which is not posted publicly unless the breeder submits them to OFA after the fact (very rare). That breeder should provide you with the PennHIP report or OFA certificates on their current litter’s parents.


Any pushback should be seen as a reason for caution, as passing scores are usually proudly displayed.