Evaluating Owners and Breeders
An Anatolian Shepherd requires a serious commitment on the part of the owner. If you are considering purchasing an Anatolian Shepherd puppy, please ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have you trained a large breed or working breed dog previously?
The Anatolian Shepherd is not a dog for a novice. The large size, intelligence, and independence of this breed require a person who is confident around powerful, aggressive dogs. These dogs are keenly aware of the dominance hierarchy in their pack, and test frequently to determine their rank amongst other dogs and with humans. Consistent discipline and maintenance of the alpha role is essential for handling this breed.
2. Do you have large acreage with sturdy fencing?
The Anatolian Shepherd has been bred to follow grazing flocks. These dogs need daily exercise, preferably running across open spaces, to maintain optimal health. Anatolians will explore areas beyond your property boundaries, particularly if they detect threats, which include both wild predators and other canines. Anatolians will be aggressive to unfamilar dogs, and are strong enough to serious injure or kill them. Sturdy fencing materials such as woven wire or chain link are required and must be checked regularly for gaps or breaks to keep an Anatolian securely on your property.
3. Do you have a job for an Anatolian Shepherd?
Anatolian Shepherds are beautiful, impressive dogs, but first and foremost they are working dogs. They need a job to perform, and preferably that job is protecting livestock. Anatolians have been selected to guard small hoofstock, such as sheep and goats, and they adapt to alpacas, mini horses, etc. The breed was not developed to guard poultry, and will generally view poultry as prey. Some Anatolians can be trained not to kill poultry, but it requires significant effort on the part of the owner. They can adapt to the role of family guardians if the family is active and athletic and there are legitimate threats to defend against.
If you are considering the purchase of a livestock guardian dog, we strongly recommend that you ask every breeder all of the following questions. A livestock guardian dog is a lifetime investment.
1. Are both the sire and dam purebred registered dogs of a recognized livestock guardian breed?
Marble Peaks Answer: Yes, our dams and sires are purebred, AKC-registered Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.
2. What type and how many head of livestock do your dogs guard?
Marble Peaks Answer: Corriedale sheep, ~50 head, and beef cattle, ~40 head.
3. Do your dogs live with the livestock full-time, or do they rotate time in runs/kennels/house?
Marble Peaks Answer: Yes, our dogs live full-time in the pasture and barn with the livestock. They do not stay in the house or in kennel runs.
4. How many acres of property do your dogs protect?
Marble Peaks Answer: Main Pasture & Barn ~75 acres, entire property 450 acres, primarily forest.
5. What species of predator are active on or adjacent to your property?
Marble Peaks Answer: Coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, black bear, and domestic dogs.
6. May I visit the ranch and observe your dogs at work?
Marble Peaks Answer: Yes, visitors are welcome to meet and observe our dogs on the job.
7. Are the parents evaluated for hereditary defects that might affect health?
Marble Peaks Answer: Yes. Our dogs have both their hips and elbows x-rayed and evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hip and elbow dysplasia. We analyze pedigrees to rule out seizure disorders, hypothyroidism, and dermatological conditions.
8. Do you offer a health guarantee on your Anatolian Shepherd puppies?
Marble Peaks Answer: Yes, if a health problem is detected at the buyer's vet exam, the buyer will be offered a full refund. If a health problem with a genetic basis develops later in the dog's lifetime, the buyer will be offered a replacement Anatolian Shepherd puppy from a litter out of different parents.
9. Do you temperament test your puppies before placement?
Marble Peaks Answer: Yes, we evaluate the temperament of our Anatolian Shepherd puppies prior to making final decisions about placement. This allows an appropriate match between the dog, the type of work, and the new owner.
10. Will you accept back a dog you have bred, if I am unable to keep it?
Marble Peaks Answer: Yes, if your circumstances change and you are unable to keep one of our dogs, we will help find an appropriate home or we will take the dog back at our ranch.