Anatolian Shepherd Dog (Coban Köpegi, Karabash)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
10 -11
all colours acceptable
large, very large
Hair length:
average, long
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • extraordinarily clever and loyal

  • needs only standard grooming

  • top-quality guard and watchdog

  • adapts poorly to the life in an apartment

  • prone to unreasonable barking

  • belligerent towards strange canines

  • doesn’t suit families with small kids

  • dominant and independent


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog (Karabash) is a brawny, tough and independent working dog native to Turkey. An outstanding livestock guardian, it’s endowed with keen ear, good eye and impressive size to ward off bears and other dangerous wild animals as well as to fight them a battle if needed. Its stable temperament and inborn protectiveness earned it numerous fanciers throughout the world.


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog came to existence in the remote highlands of today’s Turkey multiple centuries ago. It’s generally agreed that it was developed from the Himalayan mountain dog that was introduced to the region known as the Anatolian Plateau by the Neolithic tribes from Asia Minor. This area is notoriously famous for its changeable climate and difficult terrains, which makes cattle-breeding there a highly challenging task. In these parts livestock run the danger of attacks of both predators and marauders. That’s why local herdsmen created a large, heavy-boned and ferocious dog that was capable of operating under extremely severe conditions without wearing out. Moreover thanks to very strict approach to selective breeding the breeds’ temperament and working qualities were greatly enhanced over centuries.

As the nomadic people of the Anatolian Plateau kept on moving from one area to the next to find the best grazing lands, they often split and brought along their shepherding dogs with them to new territories. This became the reason of appearance of several unique canine varieties, including the Karakachan Dog, the Akbash Dog and the Kangal Dog. The latter is believed to be the most closely related to the present day Anatolian Shepherd Dog. In fact dog experts from European countries suppose that these two breeds are almost indistinguishable from each other.

In the early XX century the Anatolian Shepherd Dog was declared a national treasure of Turkey and its export to other countries was prohibited. Nonetheless in the 30s the breed member was presented by the Turkish government to United States Department of Agriculture. Its organised breeding in the U.S.A. began only in 1970 when Navy Lieutenant named Robert C. Ballard brought to his hometown a pair of these dogs, which gave birth to the first American litter of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) granted the breed with its complete recognition in 1996. Presently its population predominantly concentrates in its native land although it’s esteemed in the role of a flock and property guardian in other countries as well.


For centuries the Anatolian Shepherd Dog was entrusted with guarding huge herds of domestic animals without any direct human help, so it turned into a highly independent, self-assured and clever working dog. Because of its imposing size and strong predisposition to domination correct socialisation and obedience training are of a great importance for it. Moreover a first time dog owner will have hard time trying to control its pet, as it tends to periodically challenge the authority of its master. On the whole the breed is good with older children and will handle them with outmost care and affection. However it must be supervised around strange kids whose actions may be perceived by the dogs as threatening to its human family.

Intense suspiciousness towards strangers is a common trait of all Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. This dog must be exhibited to the wide variety of situations, sounds and creatures in its early puppyhood. Only in this case it will react to them in a positive way and will be predictable around newcomers in your house. Protective instinct is developed in this breed to such an extent that it sometimes becomes openly possessive of «its» special people. Additionally it usually grows in an insufferable barker, which announces about every minor inconsistency in its environment with its booming voice. On the bright side this dog has all essential preconditions to become a splendid watcher and fearless guardian.

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog established reputation of a fairly aggressive breed when it concerns other dogs. Being an incredibly territorial dog it will immediately charge at any canine that dares to trespass the boundaries of its territory. While being walked the breed member is tend to treat other dogs as pretenders to its alpha status so it adopts hostile attitude towards them. However this dog is totally fine with those individual canine and non-canine pets with which it has been raised since an early age.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· cancer;

· cardiac problems;

· low immunity;

· sensitivity to anaesthesia;

· hypothyroidism;

· eyelid entropion;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· dermatological issues.


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is an unpretentious breed when it comes to its grooming. Its short or semi-long hair should be brushed once or twice a week in order to maintain its natural beauty. This breed is a light year-round shedder but it changes its entire undercoat several times a year. More frequent and careful brushing during these periods will help to minimize the amount of loose hair in your house.

This dog is virtually deprived of a usual «dog odour» and requires only rare bathing. Floppy ears of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog are prone to collect dirt and debris so they must be regularly examined and cleaned. It’s equally important to trim the dog’s nails on a monthly basis and brush its teeth at least weekly.


Time and patience is required in order to train the self-willed and forceful Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Of course, its ability to guard large flocks of livestock implies to its supreme intelligence but it also assumes to its propensity to independent thinking. Don’t expect from this dog even partial obedience if you haven’t managed to become an indisputable leader in its eyes.

The training strategy should be based on principles of fairness, consistency and repetitiveness. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog usually reacts to rough handling with retaliatory aggression and will never look up to the person who disrespects its free will. Only plentiful of favourite treats will provide sufficiently strong stimulus for this dog.


The Anatolian Shepherd requires fairly average amount of physical exercise. Long daily walks as well as some free time in a safely secured area are indispensable conditions of its robust health and good mood. This dog prefers having a serious and meaningful task to just playing some carefree games outdoors.

The Anatolian Shepherd thrives at cart pulling, tracking trials and guarding duties. Because of its impressive size, tendency to excessive barking, high exercise needs the breed suits poorly for keeping in an apartment of a small house. If the owner can’t find time to provide its pet with necessary minimum of physical activity the dog will surely acts out its frustration in some kind of destructive behaviour.