Erick Conard's Lucky Hit Ranch: Anatolian Shepherd Page

Designating Coat Color on the AKC Registration Form
My Ideas Regarding How to Determine
Anatolian Shepherd Coat Color for
AKC Registration Purposes

Shadow's 2001 litter

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Designating Coat Color on the AKC Registration Form

[2001 litter guarding goats in pasture during a rainstorm.]

Following are the color and markings (pattern) designations on the AKC Litter Registration form for Anatolian Shepherds. As the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized breed club, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America (ASDCA) is responsible for providing correct color and marking information to the AKC to be used for registration purposes.

Color Section:

On the form, you are directed to enter a three digit code that most closely describes your dog. You are also told to see for alternatives. However, if you follow this link you will find that there are no alternatives listed for Anatolian Shepherds.

The following colors are listed on the form.

036 Blue Fawn
057 Brindle
082 Fawn
123 Liver
150 Red Fawn
199 White
376 Biscuit and White
377 Gray Fawn

Markings Section:

On the form you are directed to enter a three digit code that most closely describes your dog. As with the color section, you are told to see for alternatives. However, if you follow this link you will find that there are no alternatives listed for Anatolian Shepherds.

The following markings (patterns) are listed on the form.

004 Black Mask
018 Pinto
076 Brown Mask
077 Dutch Markings
078 Silver Mask
079 Pinto, Black Mask


***FAWN*** Controlled by the Agouti Locus:
Of the colors listed on the form, four are "FAWN" or some shade of "FAWN." Identifying a shade of a color is subjective and subject to change as a pup ages. Since most "FAWN" Anatolians are actually genetically "SABLE," (see, I suggest classifying all variants of "FAWN" as "FAWN" without specifying a shade which may change with time. Also, specifying a shade without having clear guidelines to follow which determine the appropriate shade for your pups would result in useless information. As they say, "Garbage in - garbage out." Fawn Anatolian pups generally lighten considerably with age as shown below.

Pictures of a Medium Fawn Anatolian - This first picture shows Lucky Hit's Tawny Autumn at three weeks of age. The second picture shows Autumn as an adult (a medium fawn).
Lucky Hit's Tawny Autumn - a light fawn at three weeks (also has black mask and ears) Lucky Hit's Tawny Autumn - a light fawn adult (also has black mask and ears)

Pictures of a Dark Fawn Anatolian - The first picture shows Lucky Hit's Shadow Sahara, a dark fawn, here at four days almost black. The second picture shows Sahara, now recognizable as a dark fawn, at seven weeks. The third picture shows Sahara at four months.
Lucky Hit's Shadow Sahara - a dark fawn pup - here at four days almost solid black Lucky Hit's ShadowSahara - a dark fawn pup (also with black mask and ears) Lucky Hit's Shadow Sahara at four months)

Pictures of a Fawn Anatolian without a mask as an adult - The first picture shows Lucky Hit's Shadow Duvar at birth. He appeared to be a regular fawn with black mask. The second picture shows Duvar at three weeks. All black on his body now had a blue cast and it appeared he was a blue masked fawn. The third picture shows Duvar at seven weeks. Everywhere the hair was black the hair is now white. The fourth picture shows Duvar at eight months.
Lucky Hit's Shadow Duvar Lucky Hit's Shadow Duvar Lucky Hit's Shadow Duvar as a five week old pup Lucky Hit's Shadow Duvar at 8 months
The "A" Gene Locus (The Agouti Series) controls the expression of fawn. The Agouti series contains four different alleles and controls the degree and placement of black and yellow on individual hairs and body regions by inhibiting eumelanin (black pigment) production. In general, in this series more yellow is dominant over more black. The agouti pattern is a mostly red/yellow pattern that supercedes the dog's underlying genetically directed solid black color.

The four alleles of the Agouti Series ("A" Gene Locus) are:

AY - Sable allele: produces fawn (yellow/red) with variable amounts of black.
aw - "Wolf-color" allele (or ag - Wolf-gray allele): creates a wolf colored coat.
at - Black and Tan allele: places "tan points" on the dog's body
aa - Recessive Black allele: occurs if the Agouti Protein can't be made, resulting in only black pigment production.

All four alleles are found in Anatolians. The "at" allele and the "aa" allele are seen less often since they are recessive (the list is written in order of dominance). The renouned importer of Anatolians from Turkey to England, Natalka Czartoryska, took numerous pictures of Turkish livestock guardians across Turkey in the 1960's and 1970's. Her pictorial overview of Anatolians clearly shows that all four alleles from the Agouti series were found in Turkish livestock guardians shepherds before they were "discovered and monetized" as a new breed. The complete pictorial series is found in "The Natalka Czartoryska Collection." Below are three of them as an example of the "at" Black and Tan allele located in Turkish guardian shepherds. Her pictures also show solid black Turkish livestock guardians (the "aa" allele).

The Agouti series is further complicated by two PROMOTERS, the cycling promoter and the ventral promoter, that affect the wild type agouti gene. These promoters can produce everything from a solid black dog to a dog with yellow expressed over most of the dog's body.

Natalka Czartoryska Collection picture of Turkish livestock guardians in the '60's or 70's Natalka Czartoryska Collection picture of Turkish livestock guardians in the '60's or 70's

Pictures from the Natalka Czartoryska Collection taken in Turkey in the '60's or 70's of active Turkish livestock guardians.

Natalka Czartoryska Collection: picture of Turkish livestock guardian in quarantine. A female import to Britain gave birth during the lengthy quarantine to tanpoint puppy. Both parents were Turkish livestock working stock
"Natalka Czartoryska Collection: picture of Turkish livestock guardian in quarantine from Turkey to the UK.
A female import to Britain gave birth during the lengthy quarantine to the tanpoint (black and tan) puppy pictured here.
Both dam and unpictured sire were actual working Turkish livestock guardians and the breeding took place in Turkey."

Pictures from the Natalka Czartoryska Collection.


"I know that we need native sheep and goat flocks and wolves in order to preserve these dogs. Without these we can only preserve dogs with diminishing quality at every generation. We cannot choose and preserve them without the combined interaction of the flocks, shepherd and the wolf with these dogs."

"Anatolian Perspectives" by Guvener Isik
(first published in Choban Chatter)


By combining the four types of FAWN, you only have four additional colors to consider: BRINDLE, LIVER, WHITE, and BISCUIT AND WHITE.

Genetically, BRINDLE is actually a pattern that overlays the base color in a manner similar to black mask. However, rather than placing this pattern in the marking section, for some reason it is listed as a color. Since the most common base color is fawn, your brindle pups are most likely fawn with brindle markings. To complete the form as is required, however, you will have to designate your sable dogs having brindle markings as brindle colored dogs.

Pictures of a Brindle Anatolian - The first picture is of Pinarbasi's Kabiir Batal Sahaar in 1996 owned by Sally Leonard. He is a lightly brindled Anatolian. The second picture is of Cubuk of Yassipinar (Tigger) born in 1994 and owned by Ellen McPherson. Tigger is a heavily brindled Anatolian. Realizing that the brindling is a marking pattern overlaying the base coat color (like black mask), you can see that both dogs are fawn (genetically "sable") with black masks and brindle markings.

Pinarbasi's Kabiir Batal Sahaar owned by Sally Leonard Cubuk of Yassipinar owned by Ellen McPherson

Liver color in dogs only exists in the absence of the dominant extension gene, "E," and is produced by a "bb," recessive brown. Rather than black pigment, varying shades of brown are produced. Pigmented skin areas (like the nose leather, lips and eye rims) are also brown rather than black. The iris of the eye is lightened. The gene responsible for "liver" (also called "chocolate") colored dogs is frequently seen in the sporting breeds. This is also the gene responsible for "reds" in Dobermans (bb) and perhaps the bronze Newfoundlands.

In the "bb" recessive brown Anatolian Shepherd with an AY sable (fawn) coat (the most commonly seen Anatolian coat color), the coat will be shaded with brown rather than with black. The "bb" will perhaps result in a fawn that has an orangey cast with light brown eyes, brown nose leather, and brown eye rims. The only Anatolian Shepherd I have personally seen that I believe carried the "bb" recessive brown (light brown eyes, brown nose leather, and brown eye rims) was a pale white-cream colored dog called Blue. Blue's eyes remained blue until he was four months old and gradually became a yellowish brown color. However, even though Blue carries "bb" recessive brown, since his coat color is pale white-cream he is classified as white rather than liver.

Pictures of a Liver Anatolian - Note the dark liver mask (rather than a black mask) and the lighter liver body. Also note that, in addition to being liver colored, Melek is a Brindle! See the darker brown brindle stripes on his body!
Melek - Note the dark liver mask and the lighter body
Picture of Melek provided by his partner, Cindy Krek.


White color in dogs can be created by a wide variety of genetic factors.

Pictures of a "White" Anatolian - Note that in this example, although Blue, the dog below, is classified as "white," he is not a "white" dog genetically. Genetically, it is most likely that Blue is a fawn (sable) Anatolian with several different genetic factors present that have lightened (diluted) his coat color to near white. If you look closely you will notice that Blue has a very light cream cast throughout his body, which is darker on the edge of his ears. "Blue's" color is designated "biscuit" in most AKC recognized breeds rather than white. Also, you will notice that his nose leather (actually, his skin) is brown rather than black. This indicates that he carries the recessive "bb" gene alleles at the "B" Gene Locus (Brown Series) which produces brown rather than black pigment. Blue's eyes remained blue until he was about four months old. As an adult, Blue's eyes are a very light yellowish brown.
Blue - with liver nose Blue - a white looking Anatolian


My review of AKC registered Biscuit and White dogs seems to indicate that this color designation covers a wide variety of genetic traits, including light fawn pinto without a visible mask or obvious black hairs. In some breeds it indicates a white dog with tan on the edges of the ears. (See Blue above who is designated "White") The color designation doesn't seem to conform to a specific genetic trait. Therefore, it's unclear to me why this designation is used for Anatolians. Because the fawn pinto designation more accurately states the dog's genetic color features, in most situations I recommend using the fawn pinto designation rather than the more obscure "biscuit and white" color designation and suggest only using biscuit and white on white dogs with tan trim on their ears.

"Biscuit is a tannish/blondish/reddish color often on the ears and occasionally splotches on the body." Biscuit color can vary in appearance from the fawn only dog pictured above under "fawn" to the "white" dog pictured under "white." Some breeds designate this color "cream" rather than biscuit. Genetically cream is a type of very light fawn minus the masking gene. Cream includes white and other light shades such as ivory, blond, and lemon.
Pictures of an Anatolian that could be designated "Biscuit and White" Anatolian, Lucky Hit's Shadow Samson (Sam) - Note that as a pup it was apparent that Sam is genetically Black Masked. However, since black masks tend to reduce in size and white tends to be dominant in supressing color, Sam's "black mask" is hidden under his large white blaze. As an adult, Sam appears to be a fawn pinto and can also be designated a "Biscuit and White". I think this color designation can use some work.
Lucky Hit's Shadow Samson at almost five weeks Lucky Hit's Shadow Samson at 1 1/2 years



Black mask is expressed in a range from just a small amount of black on the nose to black covering the entire head and ears.

Pictures of a range of black masked dogs
Lucky Hit's Shadow Sahara Lucky Hit's Shadow Tokat Lucky Hit's Seven of Nine Lucky Hit's Shadow Scout Birinci's Yahsi


Pinto is seen when the dog is about 50% white or greater with the other body color being fawn (or some other base color). In pintos, the white crosses across the center of the dog's back.
Lucky Hit's Shadow Samson at 1 1/2 years
Lucky Hits Shadow Samson is a pinto who could also be considered bisquit and white. Genetically, he is actually a Dutch Marked Pinto with a black mask. However, the black mask was barely visible when he was a pup and reduced in size as he aged, being hidden by the broad blaze on his face.

In 2001 I was unable to locate guidance clarifying whether the AKC registration form should list the colors and markings the dog carries genetically or the colors seen on the dog at the time of registration. When I contacted AKC regarding color issues, they indicated it was the responsibility of the ASDCA to provide that kind of guidance. In the summer of 2001, as a concerned and diligent ASDCA club member, I contacted the president of the ASDCA and offered to work on updating the Anatolian color designation section for the ASDCA using my background to insure the color designations matched our current understanding of dog coat color genetics. My offer was rejected and I was told that the project was going to be assigned to another club member (a board member). I assumed the project would take no longer than six months. However, years later I am still waiting for the ASDCA to produce guidance that matches our current genetic understanding of dog coat color!

A club officer once complained to me that the ASDCA can't get club members to participate in the work of the club. However, my personal experience is that many of our ASDCA club officers have difficulty in allowing rank and file club members to participate as equals in the business of the club. When the board members and officers complain that the rank and file club members aren't helping them, I suggest that they let go of their tight control and start allowing club members to actually take charge of the various activities. They just can't seem to give up their control even though they complain they don't have the time to do everything!!!

To our ASDCA Board Members and Officers: If you feel you have too much club work to do, try giving up some control and allowing the rank and file members to actually be in charge of various activities. One way to do this is to quit assigning total control over all our club activities to only yourselves (board members and officers). That way the the duties might be performed in a more timely manner. Why is giving up control so difficult once you become an ASDCA club member and/or officer. If this advice doesn't apply to you, please ignore it!

2019 UPDATE! Eighteen years later our club (the ASDCA) continues to do NOTHING to improve the AKC registration form coat color designations!!! Since I initially offered my services to the club, we have had a number of different club officers and numberous different board members. Rather than allow a club member knowledgeable about dog coat color genetics (me) to work with AKC to update the incorrect designations on the form, it appears they continue to do nothing to correct this problem. They also continue to complain that they can't get club members to participate in the work of the club!

2020 UPDATE! Worse news! I discovered that the 2017 board voted to eliminate black and tan from registration without involving the general club membership, a violation of the ASDCA By-Laws and the Anatolian Standard in existence since the ASDCA was first formed. "All color patterns and markings are equally acceptable." You can check out my thoughts on this in my article Anatolian Color

It is my personal belief the ASDCA has not been assigning duties to anyone who doesn't submit to their dictates, right or wrong. Our officers are not rulers and their thoughts are not always correct! Progress on this task stopped after I was asked to help by the board member assigned to do the work. Almost everything I saw that had been done was scientifically incorrect! I said that since the club had refused my offer to help, I was eager to write a response analyzing, from a scientific basis, their new coat color designations AFTER they had completed it. I said I would place my analysis of their work on my website and they could review my comments there! I guess they didn't want someone knowledgeable of coat color genetics to review their work! Over the decades, this is very typical of many individuals who have been elected as ASDCA officers and/or board members. Rather than this behavior, I'd love to see transparancy with the club membership and greater involvement of the membership in ASDCA decisions!

Until our ASDCA club officers and board members start treating its members with respect and allow various viewpoints to be expressed, the club will suffer. Most people I speak to who have volunteered eventually become disgusted and upset by the manner in which they are treated by our club officers! What I don't understand is how this same controlling autocratic behavior seems to exist no matter who is elected! As an officer or board member, if you are offended by these comments (which I believe to be a correct and accurate evaluation of them over the decades), please call me and let's discuss this topic!!!


I haven't seen an Anatolian with a brown mask. If you would like to contribute pictures of your brown masked Anatolian to this web site, I'd love to place the pictures here! I can't imagine why this rare (never seen?) mask color was included on the form. I can only guess they mean LIVER mask. I have seen that many times and know it exists! Maybe the person who wrote the colors for the AKC Registration form didn't understand genetics?


The Anatolian designation, "Dutch Marked," is the same as "Irish Marked" in most other breeds. An Anatolian is "Dutch Marked" if it has a white blaze on its face and a white collar around its neck.

Lucky Hit's Shadow Beau, a dutch marked Anatolian
Lucky Hit's Shadow Beau, pictured here when he was a pup, is Dutch Marked.


I haven't seen an Anatolian with a silver mask. If you would like to contribute pictures of your silver masked Anatolian to this web site, I'd love to place the pictures here!

Or perhaps this refers to a "blue mask," which I have seen. If so, I'm curious why the designation says "silver" when the color is commonly referred to as "blue" in dogs. "Silver" indicates the inclusion of another recessive in addition to the gene responsible for blue.

A Blue Masked Fawn Lucky Hit Pup immediately after birth A picture of a blue masked fawn pup a few minutes old, then at two weeks, then at six weeks. She is a Lucky Hit Anatolian.
A Blue Masked Fawn Lucky Hit Pup at two weeks A Blue Masked Fawn Lucky Hit Pup at six weeks

I'm confused why BLUE FAWN is included as a "Color" option but BLUE MASK is not included as as "Marking" with the other mask colors. Blue Fawn indicates to me that the main body color is a bluish hue rather than blue referring to the mask. And BLUE MASK has been documented in Anatolians. Confusing!


In Pinto, white moves across the middle of the back. And a black mask is, of course, a black mask.

For some reason you are only allowed one marking designation per dog. The AKC form does not allow separate designations for pinto and black mask. I'm not sure what you would do if your dog is a blue, brown (liver), or "silver" masked pinto, as pinto is not listed with these mask colors on the AKC form.

Lucky Hit's Shadow Sadi
Lucky Hit's Shadow Sadi, who guards alpaca in Colorado, is pictured here as a pup.

I hope you found this information about assigning color and marking designations on the AKC application form useful. If you are having working problems with your dog, please feel free to contact me for assistance.

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