The first step is for interested buyers to understand how we raise our puppies and dogs. This can affect whether your potential puppy will be a good fit for your farm/home. Some people are specifically looking for breeders who raise animals the way we do and want their dogs raised the same way from birth. Other people are interested and would like to learn more about the way we do things. Just because we raise our dogs this way does not mean you have to continue to follow it, but we do encourage it.
There are several things you must consider before you decide to send us your Puppy Approval Questionnaire. The following is non-negotiable. If you can't abide by these, then one of our puppies is not for you:
Potential buyers do not get to choose their puppy from the entire litter. We spend at minimum 9 weeks with these puppies evaluating them for temperament, working ability, and conformation. You, as the buyer, can not possibly pick the right puppy by pictures or visiting with them for a few minutes. The top puppies for conformation/working ability are reserved for breeding/show homes to hopefully continue the gene pool. The rest of the puppies are usually sold on a spay/neuter contract but these puppies are still placed in appropriate homes. This does not mean that you don't get a choice on your puppy but we will only recommend puppies that fit into the life you plan for them. We want our puppies to be successful and by placing them appropriately increases the chances of this.
We practice minimal vaccines. This means that puppies who leave the farm at 9 weeks (no earlier, NO EXCEPTIONS!) are not vaccinated. We prefer a one time dose at 16 for parvo and 17 weeks for DA2. This eliminates overuse of vaccinations and possibly reactions. There is plenty of research backing up this protocol. The only exception is if you are shipping a puppy and your state requires it for entry. This must be known ahead of time so puppy is not vaccinated just before the stress of a flight.
You must fill out the application for approval and sign a contract for puppy purchase. Non-refundable deposits are required to hold a puppy for you. The application can be found on this page, official contract will be emailed after litter is born (however you can read the contract before sending deposit).
If you do not have secure fencing and show proof of fencing I will not place a puppy with you.
Dogs to be used for working livestock homes must currently have livestock, not plans to purchase livestock "in the future" - situations such as these set a pup up for failure and a lot more work for you.
All of our dogs and puppies are fed a raw food diet. They get 80% meat, 10% bones, 5% liver, 5% other organs. This also includes eggs, leftovers, etc. They do not eat commercial dog kibble. Please take this into account when considering purchasing one of our puppies for your transition period as you will not be able to switch directly to a kibble diet if that's what you plan to feed.
Our puppies are whelped in our "ICU/Whelping stall" that is attached to our poultry house with a screened window in between the two areas. After whelping puppies are very helpless and vulnerable to the elements, larger animals, etc. For the first 2 weeks puppies can not see or hear and they rely on their mother for everything. This area provides a safe and secure location for the bitches to whelp without having to stress about other animals invading their space and potentially harming the puppies. From this stall there are 2 exits - one goes into a small outdoor "puppy proof pen" for their first transition to the outside world while still being kept safe from the larger livestock - the poultry are free to roam this area so puppies are exposed to the poultry from the very beginning. When the puppies are very mobile at around 4-5 weeks of age and physically/mentally ready for more this pen opens up into a larger "puppy proof paddock" that is approximately 35 x 50 ft. It is here that they are in the same field with their first sheep (before they were only sharing small portions of fence lines). We have several "puppy safe" ewes who are excellent teachers. When the puppies are ready for more exposure, the other side of the whelping stall opens into a 1.5 acre field where the puppies are exposed and trained to electric hi-tensile fence. Their training ewes are switched into this field as well as adding a few more ewes and lambs if we have them. When moved to this field the puppies now share a large fence line with the cows and horses. The puppies are not restricted to just these areas. We regularly take them out of their fields with us to other areas of the farm to see more animals and be exposed to as many new situations as possible in order for them to develop into very secure puppies who are well-socialized, exposed, and have a wonderful solid start to continue their lives as successful livestock guardian dogs.
From day one our puppies are raised following the Puppy Culture program. If you aren't familiar with this program I encourage you to read about it. We do send home information with each puppy and hope that all buyers want to continue it.
Puppies are each given a safe colored collar at whelping for identification purposes and are weighed weekly (more often for a large litter). Individual notes are kept on each puppy that include weights, color, markings, any other identifying characteristics, as well as developmental progress, personalities, and so much more. All this aquired information helps us determine what puppy will be a good fit for each home. Puppies are de-wormed at 3 weeks and 5 weeks and then fecal tested at 8 weeks at their vet checkup. If any signs of worms then puppies are treated again. Again puppies are NOT vaccinated by 9 weeks unless you need it for air flight entry into your state. Puppies are seen by our vet at 8 weeks of age to evaluate and get clearance for their health (heart, lungs, eyes, ears, etc.).
Puppies get their conformation evaluation at 8 weeks of age and final selections are made for potential breeding quality puppies. At this time each new potential owner is told about which puppy or puppies would be a good fit for them depending on their situation.
Our commitment to our puppy buyers is that we are always here and available to you for the life of your dog.
Questions for the breeder
Not only do we thoroughly evaluate people interested in our puppies, but we encourage you to evaluate us as well. These questions are copied from the ASDCA website for you. Our answers follow each question in red. We strongly advise everyone to ask their own questions if you don't see it on the list below, however this list covers a large portion of the most common questions.
1. Are the sire and dam registered with the ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG CLUB OF AMERICA, INC., or AKC? Is the litter registered with the ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG CLUB OF AMERICA, INC. or AKC?
Yes- All of our dogs (and any dog we may breed to outside of our program) are registered with the AKC at minimum. Some are registered with the ASDCA as well. All puppies are registered with the AKC - once you chose your puppy's name then your puppy's completed AKC paperwork will be mailed from you from the AKC.
2. How many years have you been involved in the breed and can you provide references from previous buyers?
We have been involved with Anatolian Shepherds for over 10 years. We have learned a lot in that time period and continue to learn every single day. You will never stop learning about these extraordinary dogs. We will happily provide references to other previous buyers. We also maintain a private Facebook group for our puppy purchasers in order for our puppy buyers to see other puppies we've bred, ask questions to other owners, and in a non-threatening, secure location.
3. What are the special characteristics of this breed that attracted you to want to become an owner/breeder of Anatolian Shepherds?
We selected the Anatolian Shepherd after visits to many breeders of several breeds of Livestock Guardian Dogs. The Anatolian stood out to us for their devotion to the livestock and to their human family as well. We like our dogs wary of strangers (it does deter dog theft) but our dogs are well-selected for their temperament qualities that we never need to worry about any of our dogs biting or attacking visitors but in the same respect - we don't want someone to be able to walk into a field and remove a dog because they are so friendly. It's a great balance that a well-bred ASD is able to provide.
4. How many litters do you breed a year?
Currently we average 2 per year. We are raising out several females and if they make it into our breeding program then we will likely have 3-4 litters per year. Each female only has 1 litter per year. We are not a puppy mill and our dog's health is a priority.
5. What are some of the drawbacks to owning this breed? (Don’t believe them if they answer, “none.”)
I can not even begin to describe all the potential drawbacks of bringing an Anatolian Shepherd into your life. These dogs are not for everyone. They are extremely stubborn, independent, aloof, they are massive diggers, can be escape artists, will wander far and wide if they get out (usually this happens as they mature before they've figured out life), they cost a lot more for daily care and vet expenses because of their size. We as Anatolian Keepers MUST be willing to change our lives to work with them in harmony. I suggest to everyone that they read as much as possible about the breed that they can find. Not everything is true that you will read but it might be based off one person's experience.
6. Can you tell me about any inherited/genetic health problems with this breed? Other health considerations?
We don't see the health world of our animals in a conventional light because we raise everything we have as natural as possible (grass-fed, non-GMO, RAW diet, little to no vaccines). We believe a lot of issues with animals stem from over-vaccination, poor diets, poor breeding, and more. However - this does not make our dogs immune to any diseases/health issues - we just believe you have the power to prevent a lot of it through your management and raising. We have not experienced any genetic or acquired health issues in our dogs here on the farm.
Long-time breeder Holly Ballester has put together a list of possible health concerns with the Anatolian Shepherd. The page can be found here.
7. What can you tell me about the history/background/function of this breed?
This is another area where you will never stop learning. I would fill the page trying to tell you. I encourage everyone to read information from the ASDCA website, as well as this booklet found here. I also encourage people to purchase a book called "The Sheepdogs of Anatolia" by Guvener Isik.
8. Are the sire and dam x-rayed and certified clear of hip dysplasia? Will you provide copies of the O.F.A. certificates of the sire and dam?
Yes. All of our dogs are OFA tested for hips, elbows, and thyroids. We plan to start using Pennhip as well when our vet finishes his certification. On each dog's page you will find the OFA certification numbers listed. You can also go to OFA's website and see it online as it is a public database. When you purchase a puppy, all puppies are sent home with a binder filled with information, pictures, pedigrees, and certifications of the parents.
9. Are the sire and dam free of any hereditary diseases/defects?
Yes. Our dogs are 100% healthy and have no known diseases/defects. Should any be discovered as a dog ages they will be immediately removed from the breeding program and all puppy buyers who have a puppy from that dog will be contacted so they are made aware. We are not in the business of hiding anything.
10. Do the sire and dam have the kind of temperament and personality I desire in my pup?
All of our dogs approved for breeding have correct temperaments. They are well tested, well socialized, show no unnecessary aggression (we do not consider food aggression between the dogs and their livestock as an issue - if they didn't keep the livestock away from their food then they would never eat).
11. Will you provide a copy of the prospective puppy’s pedigree before I purchase?
Yes. All of our dogs pedigrees are here on our website.
12. Do you offer a guarantee? Written contract? (Remember, even the best intentions do not always produce 100 percent guaranteed results. Defects sometimes occur, even with healthy parents and proper care. All these things should be take into consideration before the purchase, with an amicable WRITTEN CONTRACT reached for the “what if.”)
Yes absolutely. We do not place any puppy or dog without a written contract. We brought these dogs into the world and we are ultimately responsible for them their entire lives. Our approval process for purchase allows us to select the best possible homes. You will find our puppy approval questionnaire as well as our contacts (breeding or spay/neuter) on our website to review.
13. Can I see the sire and dam and the litter? If it is not possible to travel to see the sire and dam and the litter, can you send photos? Videotape? Are there Anatolian Shepherd Dogs in my areas that I can visit to see the breed firsthand?
Yes absolutely. We welcome and encourage all potential puppy buyers to come visit us here at the farm and meet the dogs. If you can't visit there are plenty of photos on our website and currently working on videos. We can easily text or email videos to you as well. Depending on where you live we usually are able to locate (or already know of) reliable Anatolian Shepherd owners of working dogs that will allow you to visit and see the breed firsthand.
14. Observe the dogs. Are the dogs clean? Happy? Do the dogs appear healthy?
Obviously this questions is for you to ask and answer for yourself. My goal is have the healthiest, happiest dogs possible.
15. What kind of training is required to have successful working Anatolian Shepherd? Show Dog? Family Protector?
This is another answer too long to type here. Everything starts with your breeder, how the pup with raised, and how you continue it when you go home. It depends on your setup, your animals, your experience level. I do everything I can to help you and your dog be successful.
16. Are there any specific grooming requirements?
Anatolians have a self-cleaning coat and usually stay fairly clean. HOWEVER - when blowing their coat most dogs really appreciate some brushing to help that undercoat come out faster.
17. Have the puppies been temperament tested and if so, what were the results?
Yes. All our puppies are temperament tested and are only placed into appropriately matched homes.
Rising Phoenix Farm 14093 Madison Pike Morning View, KY 41063 firstname.lastname@example.org