THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO BREED
Here are a few things you should know and be able to do before deciding to become an Anatolian breeder....
First and most important is ... you need to understand what the Anatolian is like to live with ... you should have owned at least a couple of Anatolians through Adulthood so that you are familiar with the breed's growth patterns, maturity rate and behavior characteristics as they mature. As a breeder, you will be asked lots of questions and will be sought out for advice and guidance from new puppy owners, no matter whether they have purchased a companion, working dog or show/breeding prospect from you. You will need to be able to provide good advice to new puppy owners and also be able to educate prospective buyers and help them to make an informed decision about whether an Anatolian is the right breed for them. If you learn everything you can about the breed, its issues, the facts and the fallacies, then you will be better prepared to deal with the results of your breeding.
Second .. join the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America. ASDCA is the AKC parent club and can provide you with a wealth of information concerning this breed. They have a newsletter that goes out to its membership at least three times a year. You can also find lots of info on their website at http://asdca.org. There are a lot of oldtime breeders on the club's breeder list that can give you the benefit of their many years of experience.
Third ... ALL DOGS USED FOR BREEDING should have been tested clear for hip & elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and entropion. If your dog fails to pass ANY of these tests, you need to consider removing that dog from your breeding program. You should also have checked your breeding dogs' parents and grandparents to make sure there is nothing behind your dogs that could cause health problems in the pups. This can sometimes be very difficult information to acquire ... but do the best you can.
Fourth (and this is also very important) .. research every kennel line you can and learn as much as possible about the most common pedigrees so that you can make informed decisions when planning a breeding. If you are using dogs you personally own and they don't produce the quality you should be producing, you need to have the ethics to rethink your breeding practices and look for new breeding stock outside of your own line.
You need to know that every time you breed, you put your brood bitch at risk, so you must be willing to do everything possible to reduce those risks for the bitch ... and that can put you in debt before you even breed. Several months before you expect your bitch to come into season, you should start her on a very high quality diet and daily exercise to make sure she is in the best shape possible when she has those pups. Every bitch should have a complete physical to check for any infections or problems, a brucellosis test and a vaginal smear before you decide whether or not to breed her. You should do progesterone testing to make sure the bitch is ovulating when she is bred. Your bitch should be radiographed during the 8th week to see how many pups there will be (to make sure you don't leave one inside too long). And, oxytocin should be administered after the last pup is born to insure the uterus is cleansed and emptied. You will need to clean the whelping box and replace paper and covering at least twice a day the first week ... and that will double by the second week, so you must ensure that someone is available to stay with mom and pups 24/7 the first and second weeks. By then, the pups will be moving around some, and their eyes will be opened. And, the poop and piddle triples. After the third week, the pups will be trying to eat mom's food and won't need to nurse as much. They can then be put into an exercise yard just for the pups ... be sure to have a way for mom to get away from the pups when she needs to or they can cause her to dehydrate and become sick.
Fourth: Join one or more of the email lists that are specifically for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog or Livestock Guardian Dogs. You can find some of this info on my website and at:
This will give you a chance to know other Anatolian and LGD owners/breeders and help educate you about the breed.
Because the Anatolian is a large independent thinking livestock guardian, they are not the dog for everyone and can be very difficult to place. With such "negatives" as digging, the need for excellent fencing and space, an independent nature requiring a firm strong-willed owner, the inadvisability of being off leash in public, protective guardian behaviors toward family guests, and the requirement of early and extensive socialization, most folks who inquire about the breed will decide that it is not the breed for them.
You will need to learn how to screen for the right types of people .. people who will follow the proper procedures for raising a happy healthy loving companion dog or a serious effective livestock guardian. You will need to be available at all times to people who have purchased a pup from you in order to handle any kind of problems that may occur. You will also need to educate new people with information about the dog, registration, the breed and its history, training, trouble shooting, and address their unique qualities, as well as issues about their health.
You will also need to set up a searchable website that is easily accessible in order to make your Kennel name recognizable to prospective puppy buyers. Your site should state your policies and what you require from a prospective puppy buyer. You should have a basic contract available for scrutiny with your requirements clearly stated. It can be a real challenge for an unknown breeder to sell Anatolian puppies and you could still be taking care of and feeding some very large pups for quite a while (up to a year or more is not unheard of). You also have to realize that you are responsible for any puppies that you bring into this world, so you must be willing to take puppies back and keep them until you can rehome them, which can be an expensive proposition. Despite careful questioning and telling folks the down side of owning an Anatolian, breeders will still make errors in judgments. To be a reputable breeder, you must live up to your responsibilities to every pup you bring into this world.
Still think you want to be a breeder?
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