Our Maremma puppies have all been placed in working homes (even if that is just a small flock of backyard chickens), although we are open to other environments pending we have a puppy with a matching temperament. Our Maremmas are from strong working lines and thus, they are largely born with an innate desire to guard and protectiveness of their owners, charges, and property. We observe our Maremmas closely and match them to the best environment for their personal needs, strengths, and natural abilities.
Naranjo Hills Farm does not discriminate against smaller hobby farms and homesteads, as long as the property is at least one acre. There must be enough room to run and play without bumping into livestock, as well as room for a fenced off area/run when you are not there to supervise during transition and adjustment to your property. Please consider your neighbors if you have a smaller property. Rural residential tracts mean neighbors within ear shot who might complain when your Maremma barks late at night and in the early morning.
Most Maremmas are not tolerant of strangers on their property. While some breeders have different opinions, our experience is that Maremmas are not suitable for agritourism type properties where visitors have free reign to walk the property and interact with livestock. Maremmas, again in our experience, do not do well at farm stands where they are expected to greet and interact with visitors. Any on-site farm visits by the public require the Maremma(s) to be in a secure fenced, preferably locked (to prevent curious people from walking in against instruction), area away from visitors. Maremmas need slow and proper introductions to new individuals, with their owner(s) present, to understand these people belong on the property and are not a threat. Our Maremmas are fenced separate from where our deliveries and mail are dropped off and no one interacts with our Maremmas unless we are present and escorting, or they are regular visitors the Maremmas already know and trust. For customers looking for a "softer" livestock guardian dog that is more likely to welcome human visitors, we recommend the Great Pyrenees. For those looking to keep both human and animal predators off their property, the Maremma is a great choice and in our opinion, the best livestock guardian breed out there. This is part due to their affection and love for their family, that some other guarding breeds are lacking.
We currently have two 12-month-old male Maremmas that are priced at $3,000 each due to their level of experience. These are not puppies, but almost full grown males that are reaching maturity. They are working unsupervised here on our farm. Each is ready to go to work on a new farm, ranch, or homestead following an acclimation period (we'll walk you through this process) to their new property and owners. They have had complete veterinary services including PennHIP testing, microchipping, all first year vaccinations and boosters, and are regular on heartworm and flea/tick preventative.
PennHIP costs are already included in the sales price and are not be a separate fee.
Our tentative plans are to have one more litter from the pairing of Eureka Sammie June and Benson Ranch Giovane sometime in late 2024/early 2025. We have retained one female (Naranjo Hills Hanna) from our most recent litter as a future breeding dam and will add a new sire from overseas in the coming months. As a responsible breeder, we will not produce another litter until we have homes lined up on a waitlist with paid deposits. Our waitlist as of January 2024 is approximately half filled. If you would like to reserve a puppy from a future litter, you can request more information by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The market is saturated with backyard, poorly bred Maremma Sheepdogs and other livestock guardian dogs at present. We expect these "COVID breeders" (individuals who bought dogs in 2020/2021 thinking breeding would be easy money and are now finding out otherwise) to slowly fade out of the market over the next 1-2 years. We only recommend one other Maremma breeder in all of California and one other in the remainder of the United States. Make sure to do your due diligence in selecting a breeder. We hear regularly about Maremma Sheepdogs that are sold with genetic issues, including seizures and hip dysplasia. As well as breeders that disappear when there is a training issue, refuse to take back their dogs if it is not a good match, and do not educate families about the common behaviors and temperament of Maremmas prior to selling. They promise a perfect dog that can immediately be thrown in with livestock and loves all people. This could not be further from the truth. A livestock guardian dog on a new property will need a supervised adjustment period, especially puppies, which will take several months if not 1-2 years to be fully trustworthy around poultry and livestock. Maremmas are naturally reserved with strangers. With time and patience, they will bond strongly to their human family, but will need extensive and repeated socialization over the first 1-2 years of their life to learn to go against their naturally ingrained wariness of strangers. In short, we will not compromise our responsible breeding program to compete in the current market and sell families false promises.
At this time we are losing money at our sale price when you take into count prenatal care, premium dog food and supplements for our dam and sire, whelping and cleaning supplies, dog behavior/training courses, vaccines/dewormer/microchips and vet fees, large breed puppy food once weaned, PennHIP testing, and miscellaneous expenses such as collars, leashes, grooming supplies, and training treats. This doesn't include our time that revolves 24-7 around caring for and cleaning after a litter of puppies, daily training and supervision around livestock and poultry, socialization, grooming practice, teaching leash walking and getting comfortable on car rides, checking fencing and the property for any dangers multiple times per day, answering questions from and mentoring customers, and the list goes on. Some customers request specific needs that we accommodate for no additional cost such as teaching their Maremma house manners, crate training, using a Dremel instead of normal nail clippers, etc. Doing farm chores with a litter of puppies tagging along makes feeding/watering livestock and cleaning coops and barns an all day event. When all is said and done, we are doing this job for zero financial profit because we love the Maremma Sheepdog breed and want other families to have the ability to protect their farms and ranches from predators in a manner that works with the ecosystem.
This is a difficult question to answer.
Livestock guardian dogs do best with a partner. This allows one to sleep, while the other stays alert, reduces the risk of serious injury and death (one dog, even a mature adult, can be overcome by large predators like mountain lions and bears), and provides an appropriate playmate to get out energy. At the same time, two puppies at once can be more than a new livestock guardian dog owner can handle. Two puppies means if one is engaging in inappropriate behavior, the other will likely join in and you need to do twice the training. Each dog needs individual training time daily and you will need to be supervising two puppies until they are safe with the stock. We strongly feel that each family should make their own decision about whether one or more livestock guardian dogs are appropriate for their situation. However, regardless if only buying one Maremma or multiple Maremmas, all puppies are at risk for being attacked by predators. They cannot properly defend themselves until fully grown and confident in their skills, usually around 18 months to two years old. As such, we strongly encourage a safe area where the puppy(ies) can be kept when not supervised.
We believe the best age to send our puppies off to their new homes is around six months old for a few reasons: in order for the puppy to learn foundation livestock guardian skills and behavior from our trusted adult Maremmas, to have PennHIP testing completed (which cannot be done prior to 16 weeks old), and to complete the puppy vaccination series, including rabies. They also have already gone through the "shark phase" (nipping at hands and clothing and chewing on everything), which is a frustrating phase for many owners. At the same time, as an older puppy (versus an adult dog), they remain malleable and adaptable to the expectations and roles required in their new home. It is important to note, that while an older Maremma will arrive to your home with more skills than a puppy, they will initially see you as a stranger. As such, they may bark or growl at you if restrained or confronted, try to escape, and need a safe space to decompress and learn you are safe. We recommend a "bonding pen" for an older Maremma. This is a large barn stall or dog kennel/run (not a crate) that is shaded and protected from the elements where you can interact safely over that initial week or sometimes even longer. You'll want to visit frequently and bring lots of yummy treats you can toss near them on the ground. Bring a book and read out loud and just hang out together. Forming a bond with your Maremma takes a bit of time, but it is well worth the effort! The trade-off with an older Maremma is that while it will require extra time and patience to develop a bond with them, once that bond is established, they pick up their job skills on the new property much quicker than a puppy who still growing and learning how to be a livestock guardian dog.
We prefer to deliver our Maremmas to families as this significantly aids in the adjustment process, especially with our adolescent Maremmas. However, we do charge an extra fee for this service. The fee depends on the cost of gas and standard mileage rates, time to travel to your property, the number of nights we will need to book a dog friendly hotel, and the total number of meals we will need to eat on the road. If we agree to deliver your puppy, an invoice will be sent via email and must be paid in full via check/Zelle/Good Dog/Barkd, and have cleared through our bank, prior to the scheduled date of our departure. For most families, the cost of private transportation is substantially more than air cargo.
Our puppies are too large at the time of go home to utilize air nanny services or for the family to fly home with the puppy in cabin. As such, air cargo has to be utilized instead. The new home will need to pay for the airline approved crate, health certificate (CVI), and purchase the ticket directly from the airline. Naranjo Hills Farm does not charge for our travel to/from the airport, any required vaccines, or for the harness and leash.
We used a livestock transporter in the past to deliver our puppies within the US. The company was cheaper than air cargo and a trusted, well run company. Unfortunately, the company is no longer in service as of January 2023. We remain open to other transport companies, but have yet to find one that costs the same or less than air cargo. Please note, we will not release your puppy to any transporter until our contract has been e-signed and the purchase price has been paid in full and cleared into our bank.
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