"How To Identify An Anatolian Shepherd"

Anatolian Shepherd


The task of identifying an Anatolian Shepherd Dog (ASD) can be a very challenging one. There are many variations in coat, color and markings. This is a guide that is intended to help anyone involved in rescue to identify a dog as an ASD when they are in doubt.

The first hint that you might have an ASD is their size. Few breeds equal their stature.
The ASD male can range in size from 28"-32" measured at the shoulder, and weigh between 95 and 160 pounds.
These are approximations. A rescue dog can likely weigh less, and other dogs have been known to weigh more.
The ASD female can range in size from 26"-32" measured at the shoulder and weigh between 75-130 pounds.
Again, these are approximations.

ASD's have a slightly rectangular appearance with a deep chest and a noticeable tuck in the underbelly.
Their back is fairly straight with an arch over the loin area..
The tail hangs with a slight curl at the end when relaxed.
When the dog is alert, the tail is curled up and over the back like a "wheel".
The ASD's usally have elongated middle toes.
Their 2 middle toes are somewhat longer than the outer toes.
The ASD's ears are always hanging down.
They will NEVER have erect or "prick" ears, as does the German Shepherd Dog.
In some cases the dogs ears may have been cropped very short and close to the head.

The most common color for the ASD is fawn with a black mask.
This coloring is much like that of an English Mastiff.
The "fawn" coloring can range from nearly white or pale cream to
Golden, red, wolfe sable or badger, all with a black mask.
Another common color is the Pinto, with or without the mask.
Other less common colors are any shade of fawn, brown, cream, with liver mask and nose.
Also white, black or blue with black mask. & Brindle or Pinto with or without mask.
Eye color range from dark to golden brown.
Pigment around eyes lips and nose is usualy black.
Liver color and sometimes mottling occur in lighter colored dogs.
The ASD appears to resemble a Mastiff cross.

ASD's are very intelligent, dominant and independant dogs. They are natural flock guardians, very territorial, and uneasy with strangers, on or off their property, unless formally introduced.
The ASD in a shelter environment may show signs of shyness, fear or aloofness.
They are not exuberant dogs by nature and are often aloof and reserved even at home.
Unfortunately, they do not always give the best "first impression" at a shelter because of this behavior.
Most males, and some females will exhibit dog aggressive behavior in a shelter.
A dog from a working home may be even more aggressive towards other dogs.
A mature ASD will be a big, calm dog, but still has the ability to run at great speeds.
They will usually only do so if they perceive a danger to their flock or family.
Young dogs and pups are naturally more actvive and playful.

If you can answer "Yes" to all or most of these questions, there is a good chance that you have an ASD on your hands.

SIZE: If this is an adult dog, does it measure over 25" at the shoulder? If this is an adult dog, does it weigh in excess of 75 pounds? Most ASD's will weigh well over 75 lbs but rescues may tend to be underweight.

BODY: If this is an adult dog, does it have a noticeable tuck to its
underbelly? If this is an adult dog, does it have a deep chest? Puppies and young dogs may not have developed these features yet. Are the dogs 2 middle toes somewhat longer than the outer toes? When relaxed, does the dogs tail hang with a slight curl at the bottom? Only when alert will the dog hold its tail over the back in a "wheel" form.

COAT: Does the dog have an undercoat? ASD's will always have the soft, downy undercoat, but it may vary from being very thick to being rather thin. These are the most common distinguishing physical characteristics of the ASD's. Each dog may not possess all, but should exhibit most.

NOTE: Puppies are more difficult to identify, as they have not yet acheived some some of the distinguishing characteristics. Puppies will always have hang down ears. Most will have very large feet and be "heavy boned" or large framed dogs.

If you think that you may have an ASD, please err on the side of caution and contact us ASAP.
We are willing to help with ASD mixes as well as pure bred dogs.
We will make every effort to work with the animal shelters or humane societies in order to save these dogs.
Our main concern is finding caring, loving, permanent homes, with owners whose lives and homes are compatable with these dogs needs. These dogs are not well suited for the average dog owner. We find it is usually best to place them with an owner who is experienced either with this breed or other Livestock Guardian breeds, or other large, dominant dogs.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact me at:
Carleen Conyers

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