Anatolian shepherd vs German shepherd: Breed Size, Health, Coat, and Temperament Comparison

Anatolian Shepherd and German Shepherds were originally used as hunting and fighting games dogs and as protectors of livestock. The peculiar quality about the looks of the Anatolian shepherd is that it resembles the livestock; thus, predators fall into the trap and get killed. This nature still stays in the form of exceptional dominance or protective streak towards the family in Anatolian Shepherds. However, their stubbornness may make it difficult to control for a new dog parent.

German Shepherds, as mentioned above, were hunting dogs, but their zeal to learn and the ability to learn things quickly earned them the jobs as service dogs in armies and police forces.

Interestingly, though less known, the Anatolian Shepherds are an older breed than German Shepherds.

Do similarities end here? Don’t you want to know more about these well-built, healthy dogs, which are a bit intimidating in their looks? So, wait no further! Here we bring you the physical characteristics, nature, health, food habits, etc. of these two dog breeds, which can help you pick the one that can suit your lifestyle the best.

1. Overview – Physical characteristics, temperament, general tendencies

Anatolian Shepherd is a Turkish breed by origin, unlike German Shepherds that are of German origin. Both German Shepherd and Anatolian Shepherd are big size dog breeds having intelligent and very cautious demeanor. They are employed as watchdogs or service dogs mostly but can be used as pet companions by humans who are preferably not the first time pet owners.

Physical Characteristics – Coat type and color, Average height & weight

  • Coat type: The coat of the German Shepherd is denser and thicker than that of the Anatolian Shepherd.
  • Coat Color: Anatolian Shepherd coat color can vary from dark fawn to light red. Common coat colors of German Shepherd are black, gray, sable, red and black, and brown. These are the colors popular in purebred variety. Blue and silver and black, or silver and tan are the faulty breeds color coats of GSD.
  • Average height and weight: Anatolian Shepherds can attain a height of 70-79 cm as an adult, and weigh 50-65kg on an average. German Shepherds grow up to a height of 60-65 cm on maturity and can acquire a weight of 30-40kg.
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Anatolian Shepherds are proud but calm and confident. They are intelligent and their demeanor is always that of a protector. They become extra alert around strangers and may exhibit barking and chasing tendencies when feeling alarmed. Anatolian Shepherds need to learn to obey, and so can be a difficult dog for the first time pet owners.

On the other hand, German Shepherds are quite loyal, obedient, and dutiful. They remain watchful and alert around strangers, but never attack unless provoked or feeling restlessly alarmed. Even first-time pet owners can train them easily because these are not stubborn like Anatolian Shepherds.

General Tendencies

Drooling: Both German Shepherd and Anatolian Shepherds are medium droolers. But, their drooling tendency increases when they are anticipating a treat. So, do not show them food unless you intend to serve it instantly; this is one simple trick to avoid these dog breeds to drool much. Also, keep their health parameters fully checked, as drooling can be a sign of health-related discomfort in these dogs.

Shedding: Both German Shepherd and Anatolian Shepherd are heavy shedders. And, they shed throughout the year. So, be ready to keep a vacuum cleaner handy if you are a cleanliness-freak.

2. Behavior

If we compare the behavior of Anatolian Shepherd and German Shepherd, the Anatolian Shepherd are over-protective towards their flock. These dogs score considerably fewer points in apartment-friendliness and are a good match for big spaces where a dedicated kennel can be assigned to the dog. They are quite independent dogs and do need a lot of attention. You can go to work leaving them alone in the house’s backyard, as they do not suffer from separation anxiety issues. Anatolian Shepherds are known for their high-headedness and tend to follow their instincts rather than instructions. So, choose only the well-trained Anatolian Shepherds to pet, if you do not have time or experience for training the dogs.

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German Shepherds love physical gestures. A mere sight of their human delights them. They love pampering and want to play on and on. They express love and loyalty quite freely and are avid followers of instructions served to them. For them, following instructions is a way of catching the attention and pleasing their parent. German Shepherds do not like being left alone and suffer from separation anxiety issues.

3. Diet Requirements

Anatolian Shepherds eat less as compared to what one can expect from their body type. They thrive well on lamb-rice and chicken-based foods. Expect it to go on voluntary fasting when traveling or during summers. They do not like processed packed protein foods, and their health does not improve much with these foods. This dog also loves vegetarian foods and can be fed yogurt, cooked rice, and Vitamin C rich foods.

German Shepherds need at least 22% protein in their daily diet. They thrive well on organ meat like liver and limb meat of lamb, beef, etc. They also need the right mix of fruits, vegetables, and fiber to maintain good health.

4. Health

Both German Shepherd and Anatolian Shepherd are healthy dogs. However, they are likely to suffer from general health issues typical to dogs like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, ear infections, but these can be avoided with regular care and attentive parenting. Further, these dogs should get their vaccination shots done as suggested.

Hypothyroidism is typically common in Anatolian Shepherds.

5. Grooming Requirements

Both German Shepherds and Anatolian Shepherds need medium grooming. Since they shed a lot, regular brushing is a must.

German Shepherds need to be brushed 3-4 times a week, which can help them maintain the shine and strength of their hair. They are low maintenance dogs in terms of bathing requirements. Once in a month bathing is good. Excessive and more regular baths can leave their skin dry and flaky.

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Anatolian Shepherd, on the contrary, needs more frequent bathing. It should be bathed weekly. Lack of maintenance can cause cobwebs on the skin surface that give way to allergies. It can interfere with the thermoregulation ability of the skin too.

Dental hygiene is another department where both dogs need special attention. Dental set tends to develop plaque and tartar, therefore, pet owners should provide them with kibbles and gently brush their teeth and gums as a part of the regular care routine.

6. Attitude towards playing and training

Anatolian Shepherd needs to be controlled from a young age to prevent their leadership tendencies from taking over their personality. They may require additional efforts and early training to become a bit obedient. So, the right time to start training is when they become six weeks old. They also need early socialization lessons to be friendly towards other pets, kids, and guests. Since they tend to lead the flock, you have to reinforce in their mind about your leadership from the very start, else they may not pick your training lessons as desired.

Training sessions are loved by German Shepherds who are active and eager to learn. They are obedient by nature, so training them is not so difficult.

As far as the attitude towards playing is concerned, both dogs are playful. They are friendly towards young children and love playing with them in open. Both require open spaces and cannot be confined to rooms for long.

7. Vaccination Requirements

Anatolian Shepherd needs vaccines for the following diseases:

  • <16 weeks three vaccines starting from 6th week: Distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus infection
  • The second vaccine at 9th week: Distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus infection
  • The third vaccine at 12-16 week: Distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus infection
  • Forth vaccine >16 weeks: Distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus infection
  • Booster dose on completion of one year: Distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus infection.
  • Annually as per legal norms: Rabies

Vaccination requirement for GSD are:

  • 6-8 weeks: Vaccine for distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, parainfluenza, Bordatella
  • 10-12 weeks: distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, coronavirus, leptospirosis
  • 14-16 weeks: Distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, Lyme
  • Annual: Rabies (as per legal norms), Distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, Bordetella
  • Every three years: distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, parainfluenza, Bordatella

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