Devil Goat Farm is one of a handful of Code of Ethics contract breeders with the Maremma Sheepdog Club of America (MSCA). What does being a CoE breeder with the MSCA mean?
As a breeder, we aim to improve the Maremma breed in the United States and provide their services to responsible homes. We are culpable for all offspring and will take back any animal that no longer has a quality home available or assist directly with finding a new home. Our dogs are health tested, hip and eye tested and often more. The breeding pairs have been chosen by more than just proximity and we will never breed to a non-MSCA registered animal. What’s more, these are working dogs with great temperaments and proven ability.
As a buyer,
you have a lot of responsibility to the animal you are purchasing and to the breed itself. While the instincts of these animals are astounding to witness, they are not going to work for you if you don’t put in your own time.
If you have a working LGD already that is trained (at least for the most part) to your liking, you’re ahead of the game. An adult can mentor a puppy and save you valuable time with introductions and guidance. For most buyers, that’s not the case. Your puppy will need your time, supervision and above all an environment that prevents the development of bad behaviors. Many LGDs lose their home due to mouthing or playing with young stock or poultry when allowed unsupervised access. These puppies might have the genetic disposition to one day guard a chicken by leaping into the air to stave off a juvenile owl, as I have seen mine do, but they start out as silly puppies that like to play. By keeping them from developing a habit of it (through avoidance and guidance during monitored interactions) you will eventually have the kind of dog that the chickens roost around for safety at night and baby goats think just might be their mother.
Another large issue for so many LGDs is complaints about their barking from neighbors. Our experience has shown us that Maremmas can bark less than other breeds, however it must be made very clear that first and foremost, Maremmas guard by barking. Training your dog to bark at appropriate times and at appropriate intervals is a process for both of you, as there are times when your dog may know better than you. Either way, night barking will occur, and it will keep your farm safer.
Maremmas deter predators from entering your property through their marking, barking and physical existence. Fighting is a last resort and depending on the predator could be risky for your dog. It is highly recommended that you have at least two LGDs – for their own backup and to protect the stock should one be engaged or distracted. I have truly found that having more than one dog causes less barking, as the dogs feel less concerned.
If you’re looking at Maremmas, you’ve been reading a lot and researching already. It’s important that you understand there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there. If you choose to purchase a puppy from Devil Goat Farm, we will certainly advise you at any time about the methods that have been proven to work for us and for those who mentored us. You will be required to have strong fences, not tethers, at your home. We expect these animals to be socialized and able to attend a vet when needed, to be able to get in and out of your car and to manage to walk on a leash (at least in and out of the vet). These are not simply dogs left out back with a dog house and fed once a day – as I’m sure you are aware if you’re willing to invest your time and money in the breed.
the responsibility does not end at sale. We do not want these dogs in shelters, abused or ill. We don’t want them bred for income purposes. If we produce 8 dogs a year and find them exceptional homes, we do not want to then have 8 more breeding farms producing animals that will then also be bred- this is not a safe or healthy growth for the breed in the Pacific Northwest. You need only look at Texas and their epidemic of Great Pyrenees dogs in shelters, foster homes and sadly euthanized every year.
Regardless of the sheer number of breeding animals, in order to maintain Maremma breed standards in the United States, it is simply a fact that not all of the dogs born will be top breeding quality. We will only select and sell a few that appear to have the potential to excel for that purpose. Once the dog has then proven itself through temperament and health testing, a final determination can be made.
It is vitally important to us that the breed standards be upheld, that Maremmas not end up in shelters around the country and that all Maremmas descended from our choice to breed have happy and healthy lives. As we write this, there are numerous crossbred puppies available online around the PNW. The owners claim that the puppies are some percentage Maremma crossed with anything from Pyrenees to Anatolian Shepherd and even non LGD breeds. There is simply no proof that this is true and often the breeding partners are chosen solely through proximity and not for health and temperament reasons.
By choosing a registered animal and a Code of Ethics breeder, you are proving that you care deeply about the safety of your stock, the Maremma breed and the quality of the dog you are purchasing. Therefore, our dogs are sold with limited MSCA registration applications. If you are purchasing a dog with the goal of breeding in mind, we require the following:
- An additional conversation to discuss mutual goals
- Passing hip certification through OFA or Pennhip and eye CERF or OFA
- An additional $350 fee (paid at time of registration expansion through MSCA)
- A breeding contract detailing requirements similar to those outlaid in the Code of Ethics agreement from the MSCA.
- A limited number of eligible animals may or may not be available in any litter.
If any of this does not seem appropriate to you in a purchase agreement, we’d prefer to be on the same page from the outset. We are available to answer any questions you have about this agreement and our breeding program and welcome you to visit our farm before purchasing or selecting your puppy. We are always committed to providing continued education and open communication.
The first step in purchasing a puppy is filling out our questionnaire and submitting it via email.