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Questions to Ask Before You Buy

  1. Are your Akbash Dogs ADAA or UKC registered?

  2. Do the pups for sale have ADAA/UKC registration applications?

  3. How long have you had Akbash Dogs?

  4. How many litters have you bred?

  5. How many do you breed each year?  

  6. What are the common health issues in the breed?

  7. Do the parents or related dogs exhibit any of these issues?

  8. Do you have official hip evaluations (OFA or PnHip) on the sire and dam?

  9. Why do you have Akbash Dogs – what are their strong points?

  10. Have the pups received vaccinations and wormings?

  11. Will we get complete records on all shots (1st set – 6wks; 2nd set-9 wks; final set of puppy shots-12 wks, treatments for external and internal parasites?

  12. Have the puppies been socialized? (Even 24/7 livestock guard dogs need early socialization so they can be caught, handled, treated for any injuries, etc.)

  13.  What livestock have the puppies been exposed to?

  14. Are the puppies used to being in securely fenced areas or are they free to wander around?

  15. What sort of health and long term genetic guarantees (to the age of 5) do you offer?

  16. Will you take back your dog if something happens that we can no longer keep it?

  17. What is the most common problems that your owners report?

  18. Do you have specific requirements for your buyers?

    Possible responses:

1.  Yes - this is a basic requirement if you are looking for a purebred Akbash Dog.  An imported dog (not born in the U.S.) MIGHT be KIF registered. Contact ADAA about the eligibility of a KIF dog for ADAA/UKC registration. 
Only ADAA and UKC register the Akbash Dog outside of Turkey.  AND the ADAA registry (dating from 1978) and the UKC registry of Akbash Dogs (dating from 1998) PRE-DATE the Turkish registration of Akbash Dogs. 

2. A litter registration is submitted by the breeder and, if all the paperwork is in order, the breeder will be sent a registration application for each pup in the litter.  When you buy a pup, you should get a registration application AND health records. 

3. Longest is not always the best! But a good question.

4-5. These questions are ones that raise red flags for breeders. Anti-breeding, anti-pet groups (like HSUS and PETA) might ask things like this.  SO -- no harm if the breeder hedges a bit.  You might just ask if pups would be available later from another litter if you don't get one from this litter. And then ask if they have pups often. 

6. Some issues that breeders have struggled with over time are demodectic or "puppy" mange (now curable but there is a genetic component - be warned), entropion, markedly overshot or undershot bites (tooth misalignment resulting in canine teeth penetrating palate or in premature tooth loss respectively), lack of adequate angulation in the hindlegs resulting in "straight stifles" or "postiness" and potentially crippling ACL/stifle injuries. These issues are all readily visible after a certain age and simply require a knowledge of good conformation. Genetic diseases like epilepsy, heart disease (cardio-myopathy, etc.) have rarely been reported, if at all, in the breed. Likewise joint issues, like hip dysplasia, are not common but nonetheless should be screened for.  Genetic testing for diseases, while a tool for early identification of diseases, does not identify multi-factored conditions like dysplasia, entropion, etc.  There is no "one" answer to all the questions! 

7. Avoiding the offspring of dogs that have required stifle or eye surgery to correct conditions is SMART and, in fact, no responsible breeder would breed a dog that has required that degree of intervention to be functional!  Even siblings and grandparents need to be critically evaluated before being bred again! 

8. OFA tells you what ONE dog looks like at ONE stage in life; PnHip measures a trait that is inherited and thus is a better predictor of what puppies from that dog will be like: sound or unsound. Thus, the second method of evaluation is much preferred; however, it can cost ~$500/dog for a PnHip evaluation.  Many breeders feel that PnHip evaluation on one often bred dog (perhaps a male) is worth 3-5 OFA evaluations on dogs that might have a litter. 

9. This question is always interesting.  Look for a genuine response - not a sales pitch!!! 

10-11. The seller should provide complete health records, including dates, age, and labels of vaccinations (usually given at 6, 9 and 12 weeks as "puppy shots") and worming as well as flea/tick preventives if needed on older pups. Please do NOT take home an apparently healthy pup that has not had parvo vaccinations (at least one and preferable two).  No one needs the heartbreak OR the cost of trying to save a pup that contracts the parvovirus. 

12. Socialization to people (learning to trust them -- NOT to go to the house with them, NOT focusing on them, simply trusting them) is learned beginning in the "nest" with gentle but slightly stressful handling, petting, talking, and then calling and feeding the pups. By 10 weeks if a puppy has not been handled and learned not to fear humans, don't buy it unless you are into feral dogs or intense dog pyscho-therapy. 

13-14. This gives you an idea of what the puppy is accustomed to doing. If the fences have not contained the pups, your young pup will NOT suddenly abandon the habit of traveling wherever it wants to go! 

15-18. The conversation that these questions prompt give you a good idea of how committed the breeder is to YOUR success with one of their dogs. If the breeder seems to have no requirements for their buyers and seems to be uninterested in maintaining a commitment to mentor you, maybe you need to visit with a few more breeders -- not just puppy sellers!! 

Puppies are adorable. Do not fall in love with a cute face; don't "rescue" a dog -- you are a novice and uninformed. You are like a 16 yr old with a new drivers' license getting behind the wheel of a 18 wheeler -- don't do it.  Regret will come at a high price in terms of time, emotional stress, and dollars.

Don't start with a problem!  Those will come up later! Save your energy for investing in that good pup who will need your guidance. That good, healthy, correctly built pup that will give you a decade or more of itself.   

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