Great Pyrenees vs Anatolian Shepherd – What’s the Difference?

For many people, the first thing they want from their dog is the ability to protect their family and property.

Knowing that you have a loyal guardian by your side eases the mind and helps you sleep better.

Some dogs are capable to strike fear into any potential impostor just by their mere presence.

Two of those breeds, with gigantic and menacing stature, are the Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd.

These two breeds share similar roots, as they were developed in harsh mountain regions with the main purpose of protecting the livestock and their owners.

However, besides being fearsome protectors, both breeds can make wonderful family dogs if trained and socialized properly.

Of course, comparing Great Pyrenees vs Anatolian Shepherd also reveals several notable differences.

I’ll take a closer look to provide a better understanding of which of these breeds would suit a particular type of owner better.

Attributes Great Pyrenees Anatolian Shepherd
Good For First Time OwnersNoNo
Good Guard DogYesYes
Apartment FriendlyNoNo
Good Family DogYesWith Training
Barking And HowlingModerate To High Moderate To High
Height25-32 inches (63-81cm)26-30 inches (65-76 cm)
Average Life Expectancy10-12 Years10-13 Years


Great Pyrenees – Dog Breed Information

The Great Pyrenees is a centuries-old herding breed, hailing from the Pyrenees Mountains that separate Spain and France.

While they performed all kinds of tasks on farms, including pulling carts and sleds, their main purpose was taking care of the livestock.

This often involved going against large and dangerous wild animals to protect their herd.

Today, they are mostly used as family and guard dogs, but their braveness and unwavering loyalty to their owners are still very much alive.


This breed is known for its size and strong, muscular, and sturdy body.

However, when they’re on the move, Great Pyrenees are very nimble and have rather elegant gout.

As a breed with mountain origins, Great Pyrenees feature a thick double coat that protects them from all sorts of adverse weather conditions.

The topcoat is long and coarse, while the undercoat is softer and thicker.

In most cases, the coat color is solid white, although it can be cream or white with tan grey patches.

The Pyrenees have a big, board head with thick necks.

The nose is black, eyes are dark-brown, and ears are triangular and flop downward.

Male Great Pyrenees grow to about 27-32 inches (69-81 cm) and weigh 105-120 pounds (48-54 kg).

Females are 25-29 inches (63-74 cm) high and weigh 97-120 pounds (44-54 kg).


Despite their menacing appearance, Great Pyrenees are rather calm and well-mannered dogs.

They’re affectionate, kind, and enjoy spending time with family. Around the kids, they’re patient and very gentle.

Still, if they sense danger, they can easily turn into fearsome protectors.

If they’re not exposed to people and other animals as puppies, they can easily become too protective and sometimes even aggressive.

Throughout the centuries, their main task was to take care of livestock alone, without human help.

This led to developing rather strong independence tendencies. They can often be stubborn which can be an issue for less experienced owners.

Unlike most herding dogs, they’re not overly active.

Great Pyrenees enjoy quiet time in the house and appreciate predictable routines.

Anatolian Shepherd – Dog Breed Information

Anatolian Shepherd Dog by Jon Mountjoy (CC BY 2.0)

Anatolian Shepherd is one of the dog breeds with the most history.

Their roots go back 6,000 years to the Turkish region of Anatolia where they were bred to help people protect and herd livestock.

Besides just protecting their herd, they would often go out and hunt predators threatening the livestock under their watch.


Anatolians are huge dogs with strong and muscular bodies built for work.

Still, they’re more slender and agile than most of the giant breeds. As they used to hunt wild animals, they’re very athletic and fast.

The body is covered with a double coat, resistant to all weather conditions. It comes in two variants, short (1 inch long) and rough coat (up to 4 inches long).

The fur is thicker around the neck and on the legs and tail.

They feature various color patterns, with lighter shades the most common.

Typically, Anatolian Shepherds have black masks on their face. The triangular ears are also often black.

Adult Anatolian Shepherd males can reach 28-30 inches (71-76 cm) in height and 100-150 pounds (45-68 kg) in weight.

Females grow up to 26-28 inches (66-71 cm) and weigh around 90-130 pounds (41-59 kg).


Herding livestock in the mountains for thousands of years, often without human help, has made the Anatolian Shepherd into an independent, protective, fearless, and often stubborn breed.

They like to be left alone and perform their task without any help. However, they’re loyal to a fault and incredibly protective of their humans.

They often view their family much more as the flock they need to protect, than a pack that they’re a part of.

If properly socialized they’re great with kids and other animals, but often can be too cautious around strangers.

Anatolian Shepherds are very intelligent and can be trained to perform various tasks.

Still, due to their natural stubbornness, they require an experienced and authoritative trainer.

If you don’t establish yourself as a leader, handling this breed can be very difficult.

Great Pyrenees vs Anatolian Shepherd – What’s the Difference?

Great Pyrenees Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolian Shepherd Dog by Jon Mountjoy (CC BY 2.0)

While these are both large breeds, Anatolians are a bit bigger.

This makes them less suitable for apartment life, although, the Pyrenees don’t excel in small spaces too.

Neither of these breeds is a good choice for first-time owners as they’re both strong-willed and rather independent.

Still, Great Pyrenees are more social and more tolerant with kids. Due to their calmness and gentle disposition, they’re often used as therapy dogs.

Anatolian Shepherds are a bit antisocial and can appear unfriendly at times, especially if they are not socialized on time.

Both Pyrenees and Anatolians are reserved towards strangers.

When it comes to maintenance, Anatolian Shepherds are somewhat easier to groom and leave less of a mess behind them.

In addition, they will require less of your time for activities and exercise.


Both Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds can be more than a handful for their owners.

They’re independent and often can appear to have a mind of their own. Still, with proper socialization and training, they can become loving family dogs.

There’s no doubt that they will do anything to protect you and your family.

If you’re looking for a fearless and loyal guard dog, you can hardly do better than these two breeds.

Be aware that due to their size, they both need a lot of space.

If you plan to have them living in an apartment, be prepared to take them out very often.

Other than that, they don’t require a lot of your attention and engagement.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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