Why Do Anatolian Shepherds Feel Aggression Toward Animals



Anatolian Shepherds are known for there ruggedness and love for the outdoors. They belong to a group called the livestock guardian breed. These dogs are rather impressive in size, endurance, and even agility. Anatolian Shepherds make great guard dogs for your home or livestock. However, these amazing dogs can be aggressive towards other animals that are not part of their family or pack. Why is it that Anatolian Shepherds become aggressive in this way? And is there anything a pet owner can do to help remedy their behaviors? In order to get to the bottom of this behavior, we are going to have to look at the temperament and history of these impressive dogs.

The Root of the Behavior

The Anatolian Shepherd dog is believed to have originated from Turkey, but the exact origin of this breed is not clearly documented. However, this dog has been a guardian of livestock for centuries. Not only that, before they were ever used as a protector of livestock, these dogs were used in war and as hunters. Anatolian Shepherds have strong pack instincts. It is part of their mentality to protect any animal or person who they believe is part of their pack from a foreign animal or person. In fact, throughout history, they would go as far as to actually kill any animal that they deemed as a threat to their pack. This is why Anatolians make great guard dogs for livestock. These dogs are loving and gentle to the animals and people in their in a circle, yet can be aggressive towards anyone they deem as a threat.

Anatolian Shepherds are not aggressive animals overall. Their aggression is only evident when they feel their pack is being threatened. In fact, they really are great family pets and good with children. So, don’t let this dog's protective mode steer you clear from owning one as a pet. This breed is also fiercely independent as a working dog. Which means, he or she most likely will be a better guard dog alone than with other Anatolians, unless of course one or the other takes a more submissive role. They take their roles quite seriously and will most likely not even let friends or extended family on to the property if their owner is not home. Overall, these dogs are really good at their job and will protect your family or livestock with all they have. Anatolian Shepherds are amazing family dogs if you can work with their protectiveness. If you are looking for a dog that is loyal, this is one of the best breeds in loyalty.

Encouraging the Behavior

It is highly recommended that if you do not want your Anatolian Shepherd to be overprotective, that you socialize your dog with other humans and other dogs from a young age. In doing this, your dog will not be as fearful or feel as threatened by everyone that comes to your home. It is also very important to do obedience training with this dog breed. Anatolian Shepherds have the mindset to protect others, especially the weak, so it is hard to be their master without the proper training. This is because quite often they think of commands as suggestions and not as commands. 

With the right training, these dogs are quite obedient although it takes patience and some work to properly train them. If you are feeling discouraged, look for a good obedience training program or professional trainer for help. Introduce new pets and animals to these dogs slowly, as they may see them as a threat to the family. Once they understand that this new animal is part of the family, they will protect them just as much as protect the rest of the family. If you take the time to train and socialize your dog properly, both you and your dog will be better for it. These dogs really are incredible animals that are good, faithful companions.

Other Solutions and Considerations

While Anatolian Shepherds are not aggressive towards their family or pack, these dogs are quite big and heavy and may not be suitable for young children. This is because they may be able to knock them over or step on them by accident. If you have young children, you may want to wait until they are a little older before having an Anatolian Shepherd as a family pet. These dogs, however, are great for older children but they may not like children they don’t know in their territory. Just keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to own this dog breed.


These dogs are aggressive towards other animals and people who they deem as threats, however, with the proper training, love, and socialization these dogs can be taught not to be so aggressive towards strangers. Anatolians are really lovable pets and are very good guard dogs. So, if you are looking for a loyal dog, this breed might be right for you.

Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Behavior

how do i get my anatolian shepherd to stop attacking my cat? i think he thinks hes trying to play, maybe he thinks the cat is a toy. the cat tries to defend himself, but the dog is just too big. the dog is 3 months old and the cat is 8 months.

I'm sorry you're experiencing this. This is relatively normal (your puppy is curious and excitable) but not acceptable for your cat. Unfortunately this could become dangerous and it is very important you manage the situation at this stage. At 3 months, you need to teach your dog what is expected of then with positive reward based training and by setting boundaries such as crates and baby gates. The cat must always have an escape route i.e. an open door, so they can get away if the dog is getting too rambunctious. Consider consulting with a behaviourist if you are not seeing good results at home.
1 year, 2 months ago