Anatolian Shepherd Dog
INDEPENDENT, LOYAL, PROTECTIVE
History & Origin
The Anatolian Shepherd is one of the most majestic canine breeds in the service of mankind. It comes from the Himalayas and is known for Guardianship behavior. When the Turks migrated to the place what is now known as Turkey, this breed was made to live in constant association with the sheep and goats.
The Book of Job which is set in the Turkey region makes reference to the use of breed of strong dogs with the flocks. The Turks have long been dependent on the Anatolian Shepherd as an integral part of their existence. What’s interesting to note here is that ‘Anatolian’ characteristics were well suited for the harsh terrain and climate In Turkey back in 1800 BC and they have been preserved exactly till date.
The first Anatolian Shepherd to enter the United States was a gift to the U.S. department of Agriculture by the Turkish government. Other historic Anatolians were then imported by the archeologist Dr. Young in the 1950s.
Anatolian shepherds are also known as Goban Kopegi or Anatolian Karabash dogs. They are the 143rd breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Anatolian pups have managed to remain relatively unchanged from their ancestors because of their isolated existence.
The Anatolian Shepherd can manage to live outdoors all year round. For centuries, the breed was used as combat dogs in wars. They were also used for hunting and were particularly valued for the ferocious battles they would fight with the wolves.
The Turks often put a spiked collar on their Anatolians to protect them from getting bit by attackers and predators. As a guard dog, the Anatolian shepherd is never bothered by turbulent weather or tiredness or fatigue.
PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER
The consistent guardianship behavior is deeply embedded in Anatolian Shepherds. Even 6 to 8-week old puppies can tackle dangers to defend their owners – something that is never heard of with most dog breeds.
If you talk about Anatolian pups, they do share a strong bonding with their owners and animals they are raised with. In fact, they would vigilantly guard everything that they consider a part of their territory. Both Anatolian puppies and dogs are bold and confident and they are not aggressive even when around children. However, they prefer to evaluate the situation to assess the level of potential threat and act accordingly.
Generally, a rugged Anatolian Shepherd pup will not be inclined to play fetch or Frisbee with you, the reason being they were developed strictly for guardianship purpose. The typically calm and quiet puppies show fierce possessiveness and even they make decisions about who is a friend and who is an enemy. You need to understand that the Anatolian Shepherds react to threats and situations as they see fit.
Anatolian Shepherd puppies are right for you if you:
- Want to raise a dog that is agile and athletic
- Need a companion that will protect your sheep, goats, and horses
- Are looking for a canine friend who is dependable to his owner
- Crave for an adorable puppy that is calm, yet remains vigilant when strangers are on his territory.
Those of you who don’t want to deal with a breed that takes up a lot of space, is aggressive towards unknown animals and people and requires a strong, confident owner may not feel comfortable with an Anatolian puppy. However, you can avoid negative temperament and behavior by choosing the right pup and the right breeder.
Young Anatolian pups need extensive exposure to friendly animals and people so they can learn to recognize the normal, acceptable friendly behavior. If you fail to provide socialization opportunities, the puppies are likely to be suspicious of everyone.
anatolian shepherd dog
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Anatolian puppy food should be high-quality, premium dry food that is suited for puppies. Be sure to buy dry puppy food for your pet because it contains additional nutrients that growing Anatolian puppies need.
As a heedful owner, you need to read the label carefully and look out for the items that are mentioned on the label. The product label should include protein (fish meal, meat) and whole grains. Remember that you should not buy food that contains meat by-products or high levels of corn meal as the main ingredients.
While dry food containing corn and meat by-products is cheap, it is more of a filler food and it will only lower the level of nutrition your puppy receives. On the other hand, wet puppy food does not often have the right nutritional balance and it might even cause digestive complications.
Most Anatolian puppy owners cannot control the amount of ‘wet’ food their pet eats. Well, Anatolian Shepherds should be given food portions based on their body weight. Buying commercially available treats is also a good way to treat your puppy; however, the treats should never exceed 5% of your puppy’s daily food intake.
Foods that need to be kept away from your Anatolian Shepherds include:
- Onions and garlic
- Raisins and some nuts such as walnuts and macadamia nuts
- Human vitamin supplements especially those containing iron
- Raw fish, pork and chicken
Anatolian shepherd puppies require more frequent feeding than adult dogs until they are about 6 to 8 months of age. Younger pups, i.e. less than 4 months of age need more frequent feeding and can range up to 4 small meals a day. Anatolian Shepherds may gain 2 pounds every week until 26 weeks old.
Once your puppy is 12 months, you can monitor the food intake and start giving him meals twice a day. Remember, you should only provide food for 15 to 20 minutes and then remove the food bowl. Perhaps the most disastrous thing you can do to your pet is giving him free access to food.
Anatolian Shepherds are known for overeating which can lead to difficulties in potty training. Moreover, unrestricted access to food can lead to obesity and other serious health complications. If you’re unsure about how much your puppy should eat, you need to check with your vet.
COAT AND GROOMING
Size and Coat
The Anatolian Shepherd’s coat is relatively short – about an inch long with a thick undercoat. Sometimes you would notice a feathering on the ears, tail and legs of the puppy. As for the coat color, you would find a variety including white, black, fawn and pinto.
Following is the Anatolian Shepherd’s coat color and marking description as approved by the American Kennel Club.
Your Anatolian Shepherd’s coat can be Biscuit & White (color code 376), Blue Fawn (color code 036), Brindle (color code 057), Fawn (color code 082), Gray Fawn (color code 377), Liver (color code 123), Red Fawn (color code 150) and White (color code 199).
The markings you can find on an Anatolian puppy can be black mask, brown mask, Dutch markings, silver mask, pinto, black mask and Pinto.
Male Anatolians stand 29 inches tall and weigh almost 110 to 150 pounds. Females, on the other hand, can grow up to 27 inches in height and weigh 80 to 120 pounds.
The good thing is that the Anatolian Shepherds are clean and their short coats require minimal brushing. You can brush their teeth once or twice a week to remove tartar and plaque buildup. Daily brushing is quite helpful if you want to prevent bad breath and poor dental health.
The nails of your Anatolian Shepherd pup need to be trimmed once or twice a month. Make sure you trim the nails carefully as toenails have delicate blood vessels in them.
Brushing your pet’s coat regularly will remove dead hair, stimulate blood flow and keep his skin healthy. You might need to brush more even when your puppy is shedding hair.
You also need to check your pet’s ears for bad odor and redness which are classic signs of an ear infection. Never insert anything into your dog’s ear canal. If you need to clean your puppy’s ears, use a soft cotton ball moistened with gentle ear cleanser.
While grooming your puppy, look for rashes, sore and other signs of infection on the skin, nose, ears and eyes. Grooming sessions can be made more positive with praises and rewards. Remember, weekly checks can help you spot potential health problems in your puppy early on.
EXERCISE AND TRAINING
Exercise, Energy, and Activities
You’ll need to provide mentally stimulating activities to your Anatolian Shepherd puppy or it will become bored. What’s worse is that the calm and composed Anatolian might become destructive when boredom strikes and thanks to the powerful jaw, your adorable companion can rip everything within minutes including furniture, toys and other household items.
If you’re going out leaving your Anatolian alone, make sure you leave behind plenty of exciting things to do or else, you will have to clean up a huge mess.
Anatolian Shepherds need to vent out their energy and excitement in an exciting way. Remember bored puppies usually express frustration and boredom by barking and destructive chewing. Some agitated pups might even turn your backyard into a place full of giant craters.
It’s also very important to provide an adequate amount of exercise for your Anatolian Shepherd puppy. You need to take the puppies out for a walk at least twice a day. Not to forget, you will also have to provide plenty of opportunities to run and play during the day.
It is seen that Anatolian puppies grow rapidly and their exercise requirements vary according to their age and developmental level. Excessive exercise can strain the developing muscles and joints. On the other hand, lack of physical activity can also lead to problems as your puppy ages.
To keep your puppies safe, don’t encourage them to jump up and down while they’re exercising. This also includes jumping up and down the stairs as well as furniture. You need to find games and fun activities that involve running and walking your Anatolian puppy rather than jumping.
Another important consideration is that Anatolian Shepherd puppies should always be exercised in the cooler periods of the day. When puppies are young, the presence of a double coat can overheat their bodies and lead to medical complications. If your puppy becomes overheated during exercise, move him to a cool area immediately and keep them calm until complete recovery.
Training and Sleep/Rest
Because Anatolian puppies can grow very large, secure fencing is an absolute must. Furthermore, proper socialization and training are important so that puppies can learn what is normal and what should be perceived as a threat.
The Anatolian has some kind of a nocturnal nature because of its heritage. But you should never be fooled. Your puppy may be sleeping, but he will always know what’s going on around him. Don’t be surprised if you wake up to barking noises in the middle of the night. Your pup would be ready to defend against any threat at any time of the day.
Your puppy should be introduced to your family member and other pets at a very young age. That’s right. Train him to socialize the day you bring him home. Obedience training is also essential because the puppy will have his own ideas which he will defend and obey with all his might.
Moreover, you can safely take your puppy to an obedience class before six months to learn manners and interact with other dogs. Keep in mind that your Anatolian Shepherd puppy is stubborn and he might need more time to socialize with people and learn to bark only when necessary.
Anatolian Shepherds are healthy, but like any other breeds, adorable Anatolian puppies are also prone to certain health conditions. Of course, not all puppies and dogs get these conditions, but it’s important to be aware so that you can spot the problems early on.
You need to get your puppy checked for hip dysplasia – an inherited condition where your puppy’s thigh bone doesn’t fit into the hip joint properly. Puppies affected by the condition seem to be pain and discomfort. Sadly most young pups with the condition can develop arthritis as they get older.
Entropion or inward rolling of the eyelid is another condition which might affect the lowers eyelids of your Anatolian Shepherd. The condition is irritating and it may also cause impairment of vision. The problem can be spotted before your puppy turns a year old.
Anatolian puppy health problems should always be treated by a qualified vet unless you are acting on the instructions of the vet.
Anatolians have sensitive digestive systems that are extremely sensitive to changes in puppy’s diet. If a puppy eats something he shouldn’t have, or eats too much food, he will get diarrhea. Usually, Anatolian Shepherd’s digestive system clears up within 24 hours, but if the problem doesn’t resolve itself, you should contact your pet’s vet immediately.
Just like children, Anatolian puppies can develop allergies to chemicals and other toxic allergens in the environment. Remember that your pet can be allergic to perfumes, detergents and even deodorants. The puppy will constantly scratch and lick the hair in the same area resulting in skin rashes and patchy hair loss. If your pet develops an allergic reaction, contact the vet who will then prescribe a suitable antihistamine.
You should never treat Anatolian puppies with commercially available anti-fleas and ticks products. Good grooming habits can help prevents fleas and ticks. If your puppy develops an infection, avoid bathing and grooming the puppy to avoid accidently hurting the eyes and the sensitive skin around the nose and mouth.
The average lifespan of the breed is 10 to 13 years. Other common health conditions include ear infections, hypothyroidism and ear infections.
To Sum Up
An Anatolian Shepherd puppy can be a wonderful addition to your home. Remember that understanding the basic instincts of your puppy and planning a nutritious and regular feeding routine is important to maintaining your puppy’s good health.
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ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG