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Anatolian Shepherd

Guardian Dog Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dogs ability to perform its traditional work.


The Anatolian Shepherd is a shepherd's guard dog of ancient lineage; probably descended from the large hunting dogs existing in Mesopotamia. The breed has evolved over the ages to suit a specific set of circumstances. Of these, the most formative are the climate (hot and very dry summers; very cold winters), the people's lifestyles (from settled to semi- and wholly nomadic), and the work assigned to the dogs. They guard flocks traveling great distances on the Central Anatolian Plateau, staying out through all weather conditions.

The Anatolian Shepherd was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1993.

General Appearance

The Anatolian Shepherd is a large, upstanding, powerfully built livestock guarding dog that is capable of great speed. The head is broad and strong, and the double coat is dense in cooler climates. Size and stamina are imperative.

A sound, structurally correct dog demonstrating efficiency of movement always takes precedence.
Serious Faults: Low to the ground. Heavy and slow. Too massive. Too light in build, whippety.


The Anatolian Shepherd is an active, hard-working breed thats original function was as a flock-guarding dog for sheep. It is capable of enduring extremes of heat and cold.

They are always steady and bold, without aggression. The breed is naturally independent, very intelligent and tractable. In manner, they are proud and confident, although reserved and unenthusiastic about show ring exhibition. They are loyal and affectionate to their owners, but are wary of strangers when mature.



The large skull is in proportion to the body. It is broad between the ears and slightly domed; mature males have a broader head than females. The stop is slight.
Serious Fault: Flat skull.


The foreface (muzzle) is always slightly shorter than the skull. When seen from above, it is almost rectangular. Its profile is blunt, tapering very slightly to the end.

The black-edged lips are very slightly pendulous. The lip corners are tight. The edge of the upper lip is not lower than the profile of the underjaw.

Disqualifications: A too short muzzle; one-third or less of the total length of the head.


A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a perfect scissors bite, with the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaw.

Disqualifications: Overshot bite. Undershot bite.


The eyes are rather small in proportion to the size of the skull. They are set well apart and deep in their sockets, showing no haw. They are golden to brown in color, according to coat color. Eye rims are black, except in liver-colored dogs, where they are brown.


The nose is black, except in liver-colored dogs, where it is brown.


The medium size ears are triangular in shape and rounded at the tips. They are dropped (pendant) in type, with the front edge held close to the cheek. They are held higher when the dog is alert. Dogs imported from Turkey often have ears almost completely removed by cropping.


The muscular, powerful neck is rather thick. It is slightly arched and moderate in length. There is a slight dewlap.


The sloping (oblique) shoulders are well muscled.


The straight, well-boned forelegs are of good length and set well apart. The free-moving elbows are close to the sides. The strong pasterns slope slightly when viewed from the side.


The well-muscled, powerful body is never fat. The backline (from the withers to the set-on of the tail), is relatively level, with a slight arch over the loin. It is rather short in proportion to leg length. The croup is of moderate length and slope. The chest is deep, descending to the point of the elbow. The rib cage is sufficiently long. The ribs are well-sprung. The belly is well-tucked-up.


The hindquarters are powerful, but are not overloaded with muscles.


Viewed from the rear, the hind legs are vertical. The upper and lower thighs are long.


The strong feet have thick pads and well-arched toes. The nails are short.


The tail is set on rather high. It is long, reaching to the hock. When the dog is relaxed, it is carried low with a slight curl. When the dog is on alert, it is carried high and over the back, especially in males.


The breed is double-coated. The outer coat is short or half-long and dense. The undercoat is thick. The coat is longer and thicker at the neck, shoulders and thighs. It tends to be longer in winter. There are great variations in length, influenced by climate. However, a very short, smooth coat and/or one that is totally devoid of undercoat is a disqualification.

Serious Fault: Coat too long and hanging.
Disqualifications: A very short, smooth coat. A coat totally devoid of undercoat.


All colors are acceptable.

Disqualification: Albinism.

Height & Weight

Ideal height and weight ranges apply to mature dogs.
Height range, measured at the top of the shoulder (withers): males, 29 to 32 inches; bitches, 27.5 to 31 inches.
Weight range: males, 110 to 143 pounds (50 to 65 kg); bitches, 88 to 120 pounds (40 to 55 kg).


At a walk, the topline (from the point where the neck joins the head to the set-on of the tail), is noticeably level with the head and neck; movement is even, supple and long-reaching, with great power - giving the impression of stalking. Pacing is acceptable at slow speed.

Serious Faults: Mincing gait. Hackney action. Stiffness.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
A too short muzzle; one-third or less of the total length of the head.
A very short, smooth coat.
A coat totally devoid of undercoat.
Overshot bite.
Undershot bite.
A dog incapable of guarding livestock.

UKC Breed Standards: Anatolian Shepherd

More Info

For more information on this breed, please visit the Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International, Inc.

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Official UKC Breed Standard

Revised April 1, 1998

©Copyright 1993, United Kennel Club