Anatolian Shepherd vs American Molossus - Breed Comparison

Anatolian Shepherd is originated from Turkey but American Molossus is originated from United States. Anatolian Shepherd may grow 10 cm / 4 inches higher than American Molossus. Anatolian Shepherd may weigh 20 kg / 45 pounds more than American Molossus. Anatolian Shepherd may live 3 years less than American Molossus. Both Anatolian Shepherd and American Molossus has almost same litter size. Both Anatolian Shepherd and American Molossus requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Molosser dogs
Origin:
Turkey
United States
Height Male:
71 - 76 cm
27 - 30 inches
56 - 66 cm
22 - 26 inches
Height Female:
66 - 71 cm
25 - 28 inches
51 - 60 cm
20 - 24 inches
Weight Male:
45 - 68 kg
99 - 150 pounds
38 - 48 kg
83 - 106 pounds
Weight Female:
41 - 59 kg
90 - 131 pounds
32 - 43 kg
70 - 95 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 11 Years
10 - 14 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
6 - 8
Size:
Giant dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Karabaş (Blackhead), Anatolian Blackhead (Anadolulu Karabaş), Kangal Coban Kopegi • Perro de pastor de Anatolia • Anatolischer Hirtenhund • Chien de berger d'Anatolie • Anatolian Shepard Dog or ASD
American Molosser • American Brabanter • American Bullenbeisser
Colors Available:
fawn, brindle
Colors are black, black brindle with some white
Coat:
Double, thick, rough
coat type coarse, dense, smooth and long
Shedding:
Seasonal
Minimal
Temperament:
Alert, Courageous, Detached, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Protective, Quiet, Stubborn, Territorial
Alert, Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Protective, Quiet, Territorial
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Moderate
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
No
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
No
No

History

anatolian shepherdUp in the mountains of central Turkey, in the region called Anatolia, a large, strong and rugged dog breed was born and is honored today on a postal stamp. This was the Anatolian Shepard – keeper of the flocks with strength, agility and speed. The Anatolian Shepard is able to pursue and catch any predator that threatens his livestock and they are his livestock. His keen sense of hearing and his excellent sight only add to his prowess as a protector.

The Anatolian is a giant dog, classified as a shepherd by the UKC – Kennel Club of the United Kingdom, while he is classified as a mountain dog or molossus by the Federation Cynologique International. When the breed was created, they were a gift to the farmers in the mountains to guard the livestock from cheetahs. This helped the cheetahs to stop attacking the livestock and prevented the farmers from wiping out the cheetah population by shooting them.

The Anatolian Shepard does have some controversy in his lineage as in some areas he is considered to be either the most closely related or the same breed as the Turkish Kangal Dog. The Anatolian is considered to have a blood line that goes back at least 6000 years.

They are direct descendants of mastiffs and mountain dogs. Yet they have the long legs, agility and aloofness of the sight hounds that are also in their bloodline. Originally called the “Coban Kopegi” or shepherd dog by their Turkish farmers, they were eventually separated into the breed called the Anatolian Shepard. When the breed was first brought into the United Kingdom the line of the Kangal dog was first. Then they were crossed with dogs called Anatolian Shepherds. Many breeders believe that the Anatolian Shepherd is a category that includes the Kangal, Coban Kopegi, Aksaray Malaklisi and the Akbash dog.

So as of January 2012, the Australian National Kennel Club no longer considers the Anatolian Shepard and the Kangal as separate breeds. The UK Kennel Club now recognizes the Kangal and the Anatolian as the same breed. For others they are still clearly separate and distinct breeds with the ASD being their own breed. In fact, the government of Turkey recognizes them as separate breeds and the Kangal Dog as the National Dog of Turkey.

The Anatolian Shepard was already in the United States in when the Anatolian Shepard Club of America came into being because of a young naval officer who had met the dogs in Turkey. They were allowed into the Miscellaneous Class of the American Kennel Club in 1996 after this naval officer had been breeding them in California for years. By 1998 they had moved to the Working Group where they reside today.

Based on the massive dog of Mesopotamia in 5000 BC, the American Molossus is the same dog recreated in the United States by and for the lovers of these giant dogs. The ancient Molossus was fierce to look at, massive in size, courageous and loyal. He was undaunted by any animal and stood up to any man attempting to hurt his master. When Rome fell the descendants of today’s Molossus were scattered and attempts to revive the breed have created carious large dogs. The American Molossus is the first true recreation that hits the mark.

The original Molossus was one of the most primitive of dogs, one of the earliest dogs that men domesticated. Their initials duties were the guarding of herds and homes against all enemies. They were incredibly loyal to their one master and stayed with him and protected him. These dogs also ate carrion and served the villages by eliminating animal carcasses. They could handle any other hunting animals such as wolves and large cats. This dog, although extinct was the ancestor of all the Mastiff-type dogs of today. The Molossus is said to be the ancestor of the St. Bernard, English Mastiff, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Rottweiler, Rottweiler and the Neapolitan Mastiff. Now these breeds have become the ancestry of the American Molossus.

According to Marcus Curtis, the founder of the new Molossus, the nearest relative of the American Molossus is the Neapolitan Mastiff. The Hines Bulldog, German Rottweiler, American Bandogge, and South African Boerboel together with the Neapolitan Mastiff were used to form the American Molossus. The goal of the founder was to make a great family pet and protector. It was specifically bred to be courageous, loyal and protective.

Description

anatolian shepherd puppyComing from the mountains and guarding their flock against cheetahs has led the Anatolian Shepherd to be a muscular dog with broad heads and thick necks and sturdy, strong bodies. Their ears drop and are triangular in shape, while their muzzles are rectangular with tight lips. Their double coat is thick and warm fitting for life in the mountain regions. They do blow their coats with excessive shedding twice a year. The fur on their throat is extra thick for their protection.

Muscular, thin, their rib cage is large while their stomach is small. Their tails can be intact or docked. The Anatolian Shepherd is much like the Kuvasz or the Great Pyrenees in their size, shape and responsibilities. He is more agile and slenderer than those two dogs. Their bite is scissors or level, while their eyes are almonds, set apart in their heads.

This is a giant, massive dog in every way and this recently developed standard makes that very clear. The Molossus should be heavy bones, muscular with a lot of loose skin and wrinkles of all kinds, everywhere. He is an intimidating presence, with a massive square head, broad shoulders, height and mass. No, the American Molossus is not athletic, but he certainly is intimidating.

His head is massive in comparison to his body and it must be square. He has extensive wrinkles and pendulous lips and dewlap. The face is all folds of skin and wrinkles. Deep set eyes, drooping upper lids and lower lids as well as an intimidating expression. His brow is well developed with a marked frontal furrow. The nose is large, and the muzzle is about a third of the length of its head. It is short and broad. Everything about the head must be square. It’s neck and body are powerful and muscular. The chest is deep, wide and barrel like. The back is also powerful and muscular. The front legs are heavy and muscular while the hind legs are broad, strong, powerful and wide-stance. Do not remove the front dew claws. His tail is thick and wide then gradually tapers at the tip.

Health Problems

anatolian shepherd dogThis is a healthy breed without a lot of the issues that plaque other giant breeds. In one recent survey the leading cause of death among the ASD is cancer and old age. Skin issues are more prevalent than dysplasia though it does occur. They have a sensitivity to anesthesia and their immune system does take longer to mature so all young ASD should be discussed with vets before any vaccinations are given. Bloat is not as common among this breed either. They should be screened for eyelid inversion or entropion. They are susceptible to Demodectic Mange or demodicosis which is caused by a mite.

Like all Mastiffs the American Molossus faces a variety of potential illnesses, some brought on by its size, some not.

Spondylosis

This could easily be a function of its massive size. It is a degenerative disease and can cause the dog to become lame. In many cases the vertebrae can fuse, or severe pain can result. This is mostly seen in older members of the breed.

Cystinuria

Male Molossus can contract this inherited metabolic disease primarily. It can be life threatening and very serious as it affects the kidney and the bladder.

Wobblers Syndrome

This is essentially Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI) and is caused by the pressure of the nerves in the neck and cervical spinal cord. This compression can cause deformity, pain and abnormal stance/gait. IT has been attributed to the nutrition needs and rapid growth of the Mastiff breeds.

Like all giant Mastiff breeds the Molossus can have skin issues from the wrinkles, dysplasia in the joints which we will address below.

Caring The Pet

Feeding

anatolian shepherd puppiesFeed your Anatolian Shepherd a measured amount twice a day and keep him from becoming overweight. It is recommended that you feed her from 4-6 cups of dry, high quality food for the entire day. The more active your dog is, the more she will need to eat. Using treats in training is appropriate but don’t give her too many as these will add to the waist line.

Health issues

As mentioned previously this is a very healthy breed especially when compared with other giant and/or mountain dog breeds. However, they are susceptible but not prone to:

Hip Dysplasia

Should be tested for this condition in which the bones don’t fit well into the joint. Elbow Dysplasia – the same as above except it is the arm bone does not fit well into the joint. Both these conditions can cause arthritis or lameness.

Demodectic Mange

Caused by mites and a weakened immune system it can result in patches of scaly, red skin and hair loss. A generalized version can cover the entire body and can be fatal.

Hypothyroidism

This can result if obesity, hair loss, epilepsy, lethargy and other skin condition. It is easily treatable.

Entropion

Mentioned previously it causes the eyelid to roll inward and requires surgery.

Exercise and games

Your Anatolian Shepherd does not need a lot of exercise despite his size. A large yard with a good fence will do for him as long as he gets a walk daily. If they can run free in a large yard they will be happy. If not, you will need to take them to a dog park, preferable when other dogs are NOT present. You can’t assume he will be ok with other dogs. Never walk them off leash as they love to wander. They need a job to do.

Feeding

Remembering that this is a very, very large dog you need to be careful about nutrition and how fast your puppy will grow. American Molossus puppies need four meals a day until 12 weeks old. Then until they are 6 months old feed then 3 times a day. Finally, from 6-month-old puppy to adult – feed them twice in 24 hours.

At one year either feed them once or two small meals.

Many people feed their Molossus eggs, vegetables, fruit, and cottage cheese as ten 5 of the total for the day but avoid other table foods. The Molossus can become very picky about what he eats if you feed him too many table scraps.

Health issues

In addition to the health problems listed above, the American Molossus is also susceptible to: Ditichiasis – Eyelashes that are in the margin of the eyelids and can cause eye irritation. May require surgery to correct.

Cataract

Could cause blindness if not removed. Ectropian/Entropion: Eversion and inversion of eyelids which cause ocular irritation.

PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This is a degenerative disease which causes the dog to go blind. It is a disease the affects the retinal visual cells, first causing night blindness then day blindness. A DNA test is available for detecting PRA in all Mastiff breeds.

Dysplasia of the Elbow or/and the Hip

Common in large breeds and especially in giant breeds like the Molossus. Multiple forms and causes but all can cause pain and lameness.

Skin issues

Do to wrinkles and loose skin – check often for moisture and infections.

Panosteitis or Wandering Lameness

The is a problem based on a variety of possible causes. It happens when the puppy is between 6-16 months of age. Lameness occurs over time in one limb or in all. It can be intermittent and might be caused by diet, genetics, stress, autoimmune or metabolic issues or infection.

HOD or Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy

This issue is developmental as the dog’s toes turn either inward or outward, then as the condition advances the dog suffers fever, pain in all joints, lethargy and the inability to stand. This happens when the dog consumes too many calories for his activity level in the development times.

Exercise and games

The American Molossus is not a couch potato. He needs to be walked at least twice a day and loves to play fetch. He will be greatly benefited by obedience training. Do not overdo it with exercise but make sure they don’t just lay around.

Characteristics

anatolian shepherd dogsThis breed is independent, stubborn and strong. They are great protectors of their flocks and people, but they are incredibly challenging to own. They are intelligent, loyal dogs who learn quickly when they want to. They key being “when they want to”. The Anatolian Shepard was bred to be nomadic, following the herd and hunting for the herd’s predators. Microchip your ASD because they will roam if they get the chance.

If you want your Anatolian to get along with other dogs, cats or other animals, socialize them together when the ASD is a puppy. If the animal or child is part of his flock the ASD will protect them with his life. Though he is loving, quiet and calm, the Anatolian is just as demanding and dominating. Never let your Anatolian Shepherd believe that he is above the humans in the pack or you will have a major problem controlling him. He will be especially leery of strangers and will not accept your word that the stranger is part of the family. However, if she understands that humans are above her and you are the leader, she will accept any person you accept.

Even if they accept strangers, they will not allow anyone other than the family into the home when the owner is not there. This is a proud, proud dog that can be stubborn, demanding and bossy. Being such a large dog, you need to be in control. This is not a dog for everyone. Be firm, confident, be loving and consistent when training an Anatolian Shepherd. Do not offer your ASD any additional training in protection. He doesn’t need it and it could be detrimental. They will protect children, but they do not respect them. Therefore, supervise their interactions with children.

The American Molossus is an intimidating massive giant bred for protection and guard duty. He is incredibly loyal to his family and courageous in his protection of them. They are guard dogs, not attack dogs. Their simple appearance is usually enough to frighten off anyone intending harm on their families. He is in reality a loving giant. He is intelligent and stable with a strong desire to please his owner. He is a calm yet vigilant presence in the home.

Because the Molossus is so large, it is recommended that the puppy be socialized and trained professionally. It takes a strong owner to handle this breed. They need to know the rules and have the rules consistently applied. The owner must be the pack leader.

Comparison with other breeds

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