Erick Conard's Lucky Hit Ranch

Selecting a Breeding Male for Your Good Working Female
By Erick Conard, Lucky Hit Ranch, Leander, Texas
Lucky Hit Shadow Kasif (Case) working in the big pasture
Lucky Hit Shadow Kasif (Case) working in the big pasture at Lucky Hit Ranch
Selecting a Breeding Male for Your Good Working Female

What are some factors to consider as you think about breeding your working female, a female with a good conformation, a wonderful temperament, and who is great with her animals?

It is vital that you pick a superior male (superior both in conformation and working ability) and that you consider the genetic health of both sire and dam. The criteria you use for selection of the male should be specific to the female being bred. Don't pick a male who has the flaws you see in your female. Pick a male whose traits compliment your female, and hopefully will result in pups that might be superior to either the male or the female.

I believe that raising Anatolians in the pasture with all the stresses found there is important because all breeding Anatolians are potentially the parents of actual working Anatolians. A dog raised indoors with heating and air conditioning faces far fewer physical challenges than a pasture dog, which must face extremes of heat and cold, a wide variety of predators and the fleas and ticks they bring in, fire ants, snakes, dealing with their sometimes unruly and aggressive charges, poor and uneven footing, and soil and fecal bacteria in the pasture environment, to name a few. Anatolians raised with the extreme physical and emotional stresses of the pasture are more likely to express hidden genetic flaws when exposed to pasture stress than those raised in a physically comfortable home environment.

I've found that it is difficult to obtain accurate genetic information from most owners. While they are quick to share positive genetic information, I have not found many owners willing to share negative genetic information. One way I identify excellent genetic health on my own is by determining that a specific dog has actively worked as a pasture flock guardian for years. I know it is likely a working dog, one who has always been healthy during its years of work in the pasture, has an excellent genetic health picture. Unhealthy guardians cannot tolerate the physical challenges found in real world flock guardian settings. Therefore, when considering genetic health, I place a high value on those dogs who have maintained years of flock guardian service in a real world pasture setting and have always remained healthy and sound.

As a bonus, you also know you're getting the genetics of an Anatolian with proven working ability!

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