The Anatolian Shepherd is a centuries-old guardian breed with a strong track record of service. Turkey’s Anatolian Shepherd is a large livestock guardian dog. The Kangal is a popular dog breed in Turkey. It was originally developed to serve the people of Sivas. Kangal, a modern Central Anatolian town in Turkey’s Sivas Province, is the breed’s name. For centuries, shepherds have used the Kangal to protect their flocks and villages from wolves and other predators.

The Tibetan Mastiff and Roman Mollosian war dogs, which arrived in Turkey over 4,000 years ago, are thought to be the dogs’ ancestors. They were invaluable as livestock protectors against ferocious predators such as wolves and bears. The Turkish name for this breed is koban kopegi, which translates to shepherd’s dog in English.

Anatolian shepherd dog head image


The breed has been exported to African countries in recent years due to its intimidating size and capabilities as an effective guardian, where it successfully protects local herds from lions, cheetahs, and similar indigenous big cats, which has had the benefit of not only protecting livestock but also ensuring the continuity of endangered predators due to reduced cullings by local farmers.

The first of the breed arrived in America in the 1950s, where they remained relatively obscure despite proving to be good livestock guardians against coyotes and other predators. The Anatolian Shepherd was only extensively acknowledged in the late 1970s and 1980s, and it was still regarded for its practical qualities.

Since the 1980s, Kangals have almost entirely been imported from the United States, and the Anatolian has become progressively conformed to this breed type. Despite this, mixed-race puppies continue to be born, and Turkish officials refuse to recognize Anatolians as a purebred Turkish breed.

Physical Appearance

Because the Kangal Shepherd Dog is not as heavy as some other Mastiff breeds, it can run and jump faster than larger dogs. Kangal Shepherd Dogs have been known to attain speeds of up to 56 kilometers per hour. The Anatolian possesses a robust, smooth, and fluid gait, as well as good bone and a huge head. The coat of this breed is made up of a dense undercoat and a short about 1 inch to rough about a 4-inch outer coat that is slightly longer around the neck and mane.

physical appearance of Anatolian shepherd standing

The inner layer protects against harsh Anatolian winters as well as the scorching summer sun, while the outside layer repels water and snow. This coat mix lets it more effectively maintain its core temperature while still being dense enough to resist wolf fangs. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a medium-sized dog that weighs between 80 and 150 pounds. Females weigh on average 100 pounds, while men weigh on average 130 pounds. 65 to 78 cm tall at the withers


The Kangal Shepherd Dog is a calm, self-assured, strong, and protective dog. A well-socialized Kangal Dog is affectionate with visitors and particularly youngsters, despite their aloofness towards strangers. They must never be timid or ruthless. A well-trained Kangal Shepherd Dog is attentive to changing surroundings and reacts to threats with prudent warnings and brave action.

They are excellent livestock and human protectors, however, they may not be suited for rookie dog owners due to the Kangal’s autonomous intelligence, which makes it a challenging student. They have a strong sense of belonging. While they are fine with kids, they may not be active enough to satisfy their needs. This dog, being a dedicated watchdog, barks a lot when his doubts are raised.

Training and Caring

To build leadership, trainers require a firm and constant hand. If you don’t, don’t be surprised if your Anatolian moves in with you. However, for the best results, it’s still critical to focus on positive reinforcement and prizes throughout training. During training, this dog requires a firm but gentle hand. It’s a delicate balancing act, and not all dog owners will be capable of doing it. When it comes to a dog’s instincts, there is no way to train them out.

Anatolian shepherd lying down during training

This is also true of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog’s natural instinct to protect its family, which includes humans and other animals. You can teach your dog to stop doing these things, but don’t expect them to stop. Begin socializing as soon as possible and introduce yourself to your Anatolian friends. Every day, the Anatolian Shepherd has to get some exercise, whether it’s a long stroll or a brisk run, and he also needs to mingle with his family. Only a weekly brushing to remove dead hair is required for coat maintenance.


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a generally healthy breed. Cancer, ear infections, entropion, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism are all health issues. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog lives for 10 to 13 years on average.



Kehinde Ezekiel is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, tech, and parenting.

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