This page is meant to help you understand what to expect when you buy a livestock guardian puppy or dog from us and is in addition to our Sale Terms page, which is essential reading. The following philosophies and policies are guided by our commitment to holistic husbandry and a spirit of respect and equality among our fellow humans. If you find they are incompatible with your own, no hard feelings. We can try to help you find a breeder that matches your goals.
We personality match our pups to specific buyers through a process that is both intuitive and clinical. I will ask you questions about your own personality, temperament, experience and setup. We spend considerable time with our pups, getting to know each of them–their personalities, strengths and weaknesses–and then we match the right pup to the right buyer. This process can’t be rushed and takes place around 7-9 weeks of age. Though rare, if it turns out we don’t feel we have a puppy that will work for you, we will refund your deposit or roll it into another litter at your choosing. Our ultimate goal is a perfect match and success for both our buyers and our puppies. We reserve the right at any time to decline to sell a puppy to a particular buyer.
Parent Health Testing
We do not perform health testing on our dogs. Hip dysplasia prevalence does not seem to be affected by testing, at least not in a positive manner. There seems to be promise in genome testing, but it has yet to be made widely available. To quote this study (PDF) (emphasis mine):
“The OFA, FCI, and BVA/KC screening methods, which use the hip extended radiographic projection, have had relatively minor success on CHD prevalence. These screening approaches are prone to conflicting data regarding interobserver agreement. The PennHIP and Dorsolateral Subluxation (DLS) systems, both distraction methods, have not reported on prevalence but seem to be important heritable traits in genomic screening of dysplastic dogs.”
If they aren’t reducing prevalence, why are we subjecting our dogs to mechanical stresses that could potentially in and of themselves cause hip damage?
Here is a good summary with many sources if you’d like to learn more about hip dysplasia.
We will not breed dogs with evidence/symptoms of health defects and have not had an instance of any health defect or illness in any of our livestock guardian dogs to date. We keep an open door policy – you are welcome to make an appointment and come see the parents and our setup. I feel like this transparency is the best way to both educate and reassure potential buyers. Plus, who doesn’t love visiting with fellow goat and dog lovers!
Puppy Health Treatments
As part of our commitment to holistic husbandry, we do not vaccinate our puppies. They are dewormed with herbal dewormer and fed as much raw food as we can spare, plus goat milk and kibble.
We guarantee that any animal leaving our farm is healthy and displaying no symptoms of any communicable disease or health defect. Because we cannot control what happens once an animal leaves, we do not guarantee health after the animal has left our property.
As with all of our animals, we are here for you 100% for as long as you own the animal. Email or call us with any questions or concerns that may come up after you bring an animal home.
Taking Dogs Back
If for any reason you are not able or willing to keep the dog or puppy you have purchased from us, we will accept it back and work to place it in another working home. We understand that circumstances change and decisions are not always black and white. We are not able to buy dogs back, but will always provide a safe place to land for our dogs in need.
Nope. First, once you have taken possession of an animal from us, it is yours and we have no authority, real or imagined, over what you do with it once you own it. We believe you’ll love and cherish it, provide food, water, shelter, training, affection and necessary health care, but we recognize that our ability to demand that ends when we no longer own the dog.
Second, we don’t advocate for alteration as a standard practice, but trust that our buyers are capable adults making their own decisions. If you choose to spay or neuter, we recommend waiting until the dog is two years old or older. Here’s an interesting article with both perspectives out of Norway, where spay and neuter is uncommon.
We hope that you have researched livestock guardian dog ownership before deciding to buy. I will gladly recommend places you can learn more if you’d like. I am available to answer any questions you have before you decide. We also hope you’ll be willing to put in the time and effort to bond with your pup. The bond is the biggest factor in determining success on your end. Spend lots of time with your pup, but don’t stress about checking off boxes or following a roadmap. Focus first on building a relationship. Have secure fencing and a willingness to continue learning and adapting as your relationship and knowledge with your pup grows.
I hope this helps you make an informed decision about buying from us. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through the Contact form above. See more info on the training package and current or upcoming litters on our Litters page.