Before submitting a puppy application, please read below the following frequently asked questions about the Sarplaninac breed and LGD (Livestock Guardian Dogs) as well as our policies regarding purchasing a puppy from our breeding program.
Feel free to Contact Us with any questions!
What is a Livestock Guardian Dog?
A true livestock guardian dog is a dog with specific breeding that was designed to guard and protect their charges. They have been bred over hundreds of years with very specific traits to be instinctually good at guarding livestock. Not just any breed of dog can be used as a trustworthy, dependable livestock guardian. They must naturally be alert, sharp, agile and bonded to their charges, as well as adaptable to extreme climates and fluctuations in temperature. They are not the same as a herding breed. LGD's should have a low prey-drive, though all pups usually go through a period in the teen phase where they need some corrections.
How do Sarplaninacs differ from other LGD breeds?
Sarplaninacs are more aloof and wary of strangers than many other LGD breeds. They are fierce guardians, and extremely courageous in the face of danger. Being smaller than some other LGD breeds, they are very agile and quick, and make up for their size with increased tenaciousness. If you were to take a Great Pyrenees or Maremma, for example, you will see that Sarplaninacs are on the complete opposite side of the scale when it comes to people friendliness. This is something to be aware of before getting this breed, as they can be intense and are not recommended for inexperienced dog owners. As with all LGD's they do require a firm owner as they can be stubborn.
Shars come in a variety of colours, most of them being a form of grey, but they do on occasion come in white as well. Their coat varies from extremely fluffy, to a coarser, less fluffy version depending on the dog. Because of their thick coat they often appear larger than they are; however, they range from around 66 lbs - 100 lbs on average, depending on if they are male or female.
Are Your Dogs Health Tested?
Yes, they are. The parents of our breeding dogs also undergo health testing.
We are committed to being responsible, ethical breeders and doing the necessary breed relevant X-rays through OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), as well as DNA genetic testing and health panels through Embark.
We make all results public on our website with links to the results (you can find the links in the Sarplaninac page), and you can also search for them on the OFA and Embark websites. Along with that, we make sure our dogs and puppies are evaluated by a veterinarian, up to date on all vaccines and on a regular deworming schedule. We want to ensure that the pups out of our breeding program are set up to live long, healthy and functional lives.
Do you offer these dogs to non-farm homes?
Generally, no. Because of the special traits that make this breed an excellent livestock guardian dog, it unfortunately means that are not well-suited to town life. Nuisance barking, aggression and destructive behaviors can become more prevalent with this breed of dog living in a town lifestyle, so generally we do not re-home our dogs to town homes. They do best on a farm or acreage where they have a job to do and are not annoying neighbours.
Why do we require a spay/neuter contract for puppies?
We acknowledge that there are an abundance of dogs in general, and there are becoming more and more poorly bred LGD's from irresponsible breeders. We know that many people are not able to follow the practices necessary to be a responsible, ethical breeder including health testing, possible culling of bad dogs in a breeding program, routine vet care, screening potential buyers, and standing behind their breeding program etc. Sarplaninacs are a very special breed worth preserving.
Sarplaninacs are an intense breed of dog meant for a specific job. Due to the nature of the breed and the desire to preserve this precious breed, we have made it a goal of ours to make sure that our puppies do not end up in the wrong hands. One way for us to prevent bad breeders from acquiring our dogs, and preserving our bloodlines is to make sure that the puppies coming out of our program are spayed and neutered. As an added bonus, spayed and neutered dogs are often better, less distracted workers and you don't have to worry about the extra risks and management that comes with keeping intact dogs. Scroll down to read about our incentive for altering your pup from us.
Are your puppies registered?
Yes. Both our female and male dogs in our breeding program are registered with the UKC (United Kennel Club). The Sarplaninac breed is not a recognized breed with AKC or CKC yet.
How old are puppies when they go to their new homes?
Puppies should be a minimum of 10-12 weeks old before leaving for their new homes. During these first few weeks of life, the pups learn a lot of important life skills from their mother, and as these dogs are from working LGD's, they get used to our livestock, as well as a crash course in proper behaviour around them.
After the age of 14 weeks, there will be a boarding charge of $15/week applied to the total bill until they are picked up in order to cover feed and labour costs of keeping your pup. Please plan ahead for when your new pup is ready to go to its new home.
Can these dogs be good family dogs?
Yes! They become extremely bonded to their people. All our puppies are socialized with our family, including children. We also socialize them to outside visitors.
Though as they mature, they often become wary of strangers, they are very loyal and loving towards the people they know well, including young children.
Should I get a male or a female puppy?
Both a female and a male puppy should grow up to make excellent livestock guardian dogs.
That being said, the gender of your pup does matter. Males generally take a bit longer to mature mentally.
The biggest concern is if you have other dogs already. Generally a male/female ratio is best, so if you already have a male dog, I would recommend getting a female, and vice versa.
Female/female or male/male can and often does result in fighting. There is a saying in the LGD world “Males fight for breeding rights, females fight for breathing rights.” Fights between 2 female dogs can become very serious and dangerous.
Should I get 2 puppies?
No. We will not sell 2 puppies to the same home at the same time.
Littermate syndrome is a very real thing, and as responsible breeders, we do not condone the practice of acquiring 2 puppies at the same time. Even 2 puppies from different litters usually develop littermate syndrome. If you would like to get a 2nd LGD, we recommend getting a mature working dog and letting it acclimatize after which you get a puppy, or waiting until your pup is older and matured (over 1 year of age at least), before adding a second one.
This prevents the pups from bonding to each other instead of the stock, and accepting your position as their leader, as well as a whole host of other issues. There is lots of great information out there on LGD blogs and Facebook groups about littermate syndrome. If you need help to find more info, please do not hesitate to ask us and we will help direct you.
Is an LGD right for me?
Not every situation warrants an LGD. There are other options of predator control that may work better for some. Proper fencing, locking animals up at night, maybe even adding a donkey. These may work better for people with close neighbours or in a more suburban setting. If you have poultry, keep in mind not all LGD's do well with them and they will likely also require more training and supervision to become poultry safe.
A dog is long commitment of around 10-14 years. Depending on the individual dog, they take around 2 years to fully come to maturity and be able to work completely unsupervised. If you have a very high predator load, it would be better to have more than one dog (beware of littermate syndrome though). LGD's do best on a farm where they are completely contained, where they have stock to protect, and are not bothering neighbours by wandering or barking. They truly are the best defense for your livestock though, and offer a way to cohabitate with natural predators as well. They are hard workers and amazing dogs in the right home.
Do LGDs need training?
Absolutely. Though a good livestock guardian should naturally possess certain traits, that's not to say they don't require training or corrections.
Simply throwing a pup into a pen of sheep and expecting them to know what to do would not necessarily be a recommended practice.
There are a few things you can do to set your pup up for success with their new charges. Pups will also go through a phase where they test boundaries and seemingly look for trouble, and you will need to correct them for unacceptable behavior. As mentioned before, this can be an intense breed. They require a firm and fair owner who is not a pushover.
When they leave our farm, they have had basic handling and socialization to our livestock and to people. It is highly recommended to continue with that.
Being able to walk on a leash, understand basic commands like come, sit, stay, or lie down are also important. Even though they are farm dogs, we still like to get them used to car rides, vet visits, going into buildings, jumping onto tables or higher surfaces, kennel training, being tethered and going off the farm. This is important if they ever need vet care or have to be cooped up due to an injury etc.
Do LGD's wander?
Yes. Part of what makes an LGD an LGD is their tendency to wander. Why?
They are bred to expand their territory and keep out potential threats. They may go many miles in order to achieve that goal. They do not understand that your neighbours properties are off-limits.
To be a good neighbour and ensure the safety of both your dog and your livestock, it's very important to make sure they stay home.
In the puppy stage, it can be misleading. They may seem to not stray far from home at a young age, but you can be sure that as they grow and mature, they will wander. It is not an "if", it is a "when". This urge is also stronger if you have more than one dog.
How do I keep my dog from barking all the time?
Barking is a part of owning a Sarplaninac and LGD's in general. It is how they alert to and scare away threats. Remember, they have much better hearing and smell than us humans and may detect a threat that we cannot see.
LGD pups also tend to bark a lot more when they are young or if they are alone as they are not quite confident in themselves yet.
Barking comes with the territory of owning these dogs, so if barking is something you cannot handle, or if you have close neighbours who may complain, you need to keep this in mind before acquiring this type of dog.
However; it's important to note that there is such a thing as nuisance barking. Barking can be a self-rewarding behaviour, and may require corrections if they are going overboard.
What do the puppies come with?
All of our puppies will come having their first set of age appropriate vaccinations, dewormer, microchip, a vaccination passport and a health check from our veterinarian. They will also come with a bag of their current puppy food to help you transition them at home.
How much is a deposit and why is it required?
A non-refundable deposit of $500 CAD is required to be on the waitlist for one of our puppies. This deposit will be put towards the total cost of your dog.
If by some chance, you have not received word that a litter is due within 1 year of placing your deposit, we can refund you this deposit and remove you from the waiting list. If your chosen puppy unfortunately dies before coming home to you, we will also refund your deposit (if you would like to be removed from the waiting list instead of waiting for a puppy from a future litter). These are the only circumstances that we will refund you a deposit. If you just decide to back out because you no longer want the pup, you will not be getting the deposit back.
We like to create a waitlist and get deposits for puppies ahead of time, as we don't want to plan a litter if we know there are no interested buyers. To us, that is irresponsible, does not set the future pups up for success and creates undue stress on us if we are stuck with a bunch of puppies for longer than necessary.
What is the price of a puppy?
The price of a puppy is $1200 CAD. Your $500 deposit will go towards this final purchase price.
We do not believe in charging various prices for different genders or colours. Those do not pertain to the functionality or working ability of the dog.
Upon pickup of your pup, your payment is due in FULL. Sorry, but we do not offer payment plans. If you cannot afford a pup, please do not speak for one and then back out when it's time for them to go home. Your deposit will NOT be returned to you if you back out.
As we do require a spay/neuter contract to be signed on all of our pups, upon sending us legitimate proof of spay/neuter of your dog, we will gladly return to you $200 CAD to help offset that cost.
We are able to ship puppies across Canada or the United States at the expense of the buyer.
What if our pup doesn't work out? Will you take it back?
We highly encourage our buyers to do a ton of detailed research before acquiring one of our pups, and we are more than happy to answer any and all of your questions about keeping an LGD and about the Sarplaninac breed in general. We want to ensure our puppies and their new owners are set up for success so that the pup does not have to return and you have an amazing working dog for many many years to come. It can be hard for a dog to acclimatize to a new place once they are used to their home. Before giving up your dog, we would like to try to help you work out problems, so please don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
Yet, we understand that there may be extenuating circumstances that could occur that would mean you can no longer keep your dog. If absolutely no other option is available, we will help you re-home the dog from your farm or as a last resort, take the dog back to our farm. We stand behind our breeding program and want to ensure our dogs stay out of shelters and out of potential wrong hands.
Do you stud out your male dog?
In short, no.
We will not cross-breed our dogs or stud out to unregistered dogs.
The only time we would ever consider studding out our male dog is if it were to a very specific Sarplaninac breeder that we knew well and trusted to have the same breed goals as us.
So short answer, no.