Anatolian Shepherds are truly a working breed. Designed to be protectors of livestock, these dogs take work very seriously. Excellent watchdogs with a loud, deep bark; neither fox nor burglar will get past an Anatolian Shepherd. They are independent and stubborn, but devoted to their family and are an ideal working dog for farmers. This is not a family dog, but a working dog, and potential owners should do as much research as possible before committing to an Anatolian Shepherd.
This large breed should not live in an apartment. Though Anatolian Shepherds need less exercise than other breeds of comparable size, they still need plenty of walks and daily time to run. Organized games of catch or fetch don't interest this breed. If they don't have livestock to work with, their desire to work can be satisfied by pulling a sled or cart, or engaging in tracking activities.
Farms are the ideal living space, as they have an inborn desire to work and protect flocks, and benefit from the open space to run. Families with small children should think twice about adopting an Anatolian. While they will bond well with members of their own family, they often don't react well to children they do not know.
Anatolian Shepherds are easily trained by a confident leader, but are not for first-time dog owners. They are stubborn, dominant dogs, and a strong and consistent hand is necessary to establish leadership. This breed will take over the house if given even a little leeway. Their innate desire to protect can not be “trained” out of them, but their behavior can be kept within limits. While you may not be able to keep an Anatolian from barking to alert a stranger's presence, he can be taught when to stop barking.
The Anatolian was bred to be a livestock protector and he will grow to become fiercely protective of his flock, including family members. Wary of strangers, an Anatolian can quickly develop aggression if not kept in check. Early socialization to new people and experiences, as well as firm leadership can keep aggression from developing. Anatolian Shepherds determine on their own who is a “safe” visitor and who is not. New visitors to the home should never try to pet an Anatolian without a proper introduction, and though Anatolians bond well with children in their own family, other children can be perceived as a threat.
Additionally, as flock protectors, they instinctively drive away all animals that aren't part of his flock. Should a neighbor's dog wander into his territory, an Anatolian can cause serious injury, or even death.
Anatolian Shepherds have a reputation for barking at night. When they hear sounds in the distance, they are often set off, and their booming bark can wake up a neighborhood.
If not simulated enough mentally, Anatolian Shepherds can become destructive when bored. A large dog with a strong jaw, they can easily rip through drywall or destroy furniture. Commitment to an Anatolian's need to work is impartive when adopting this breed.