Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thinking of a Puppy?

We get lots of phone calls and emails from folks interested in obtaining a wonderful Kangal Dog puppy for their family. Unfortunately we do not breed regularly and when we do we are looking for good homes where a Kangal Dog will be a full-time livestock guardian dog or family and farm companion dog. We have several guidelines that help us place dogs in good homes:

1. Good fencing. Kangal Dogs will not stay in your yard or property without it. And we mean really good fencing. Probably much taller and more robust that you can imagine.

2. Experience with large dogs. A Kangal Dog is not a good dog for a first-time dog owner. A Kangal Dog will very large when fully grown (110 to 140 pounds) and he will be a self-thinker not a dog who is eager to please and easily trained.

3. Space. A Kangal Dog is not really suited to urban or even suburban living. He needs lots of good solid exercise, he barks loudly and often, and he will become protective of his house and home. Yes, some folks in urban/suburban settings are great owners of happy Kangal Dogs but they are unusually dedicated to their dog's welfare and requirements.

There are several strong traits that the Kangal Dog possesses which also making owning a Kangal Dog a challenge:

1. They are livestock guardian dogs who were bred for centuries to live and work with their animals and shepherds in large unfenced spaces. They need the stimulation of work and they will think of of their territory as something much larger than a yard or even a few acres.

2. They protect against livestock threats through loud barking and intimidation. Especially at night. They are just doing their job not trying to irritate your neighbors, but if you have neighbors they may do just that.

3. They like to build dens against heat and cold. They will do this in your yard. If you are proud of your landscaping this is probably not the dog for you. They also need to chew, especially when they are young. Things they like to chew include small tree trunks and branches and anything you leave out. Decks, lawn furniture, toys . . .

4. They are not a traditional guardian dog breed. You cannot train them like one of these breeds. They operate instinctively to protect their stock when in their judgment they perceive a threat. They are not command-oriented dogs. They mature slowly and often are not serious about protecting their flock until they are two years of age or more. Until then, they are huge puppies who need some careful guidance in how to behave appropriately with livestock and people.

We like to talk to folks interested in Kangal Dogs but we would suggest that you can learn a great deal about this breed from the information at the website of the Kangal Dog Club of America. Especially two documents found there:

Is a Kangal Dog the Right Dog for Me?

Thinking of Buying a Kangal Dog?

Finally, I wrote Livestock Guardians to answer the multitude of questions people had about choosing and working with Kangal Dogs, among other livestock guardian dog breeds. Please take the time to carefully read and learn about these marvelous dogs.