Wanted: A Few Good Bitches


Kavi watching from on high.

Our large pack has six generations and over 25 years of history guarding and herding our livestock, protecting them from local predators, eating small pests and living the good life. With our next generation we are looking for one or two good young bitches to join our pack to enjoy the good life and mother the next generation.

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If you have highly intelligent working dogs on your homestead, farmstead or farm and would be interested in an exchange of genetics then drop me an email and let’s talk. This is the opportunity to get genetics from our pack line by providing genetics in exchange.

This would need to be a multipart trade. Our pack has been working on our farm for six generations. At this point we have multiple males who could breed. Ideally I would like to breed the oldest, the Alpha named Kavi, soonest. Thus getting in a good bitch is the priority first step. Then one or two pups from that line would be able to trade back to you carrying our pack genetics back to your farm. This is not a swap of adults but a long term marriage of packs.

Outdoors: 74°F/54°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F

Daily Spark: We have livestock guardian herding dogs. They care for their animals. When the animals die they ask if they can eat them and then they do. The dogs save compassion for the living. They eat dinner. The overlap is a complexity which they understand quite clearly. The dogs have ethics and morality but are not confused by political correctness.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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31 Responses to Wanted: A Few Good Bitches

  1. David B. says:

    Would love to be a part of your swap Walter but unfortunately I’m not even on a farm yet, and the two bitches I do have are spayed (are they even bitches then?) and they would be horrible farm dogs (one would be a decent hunting dog though, hmm). I do hope to someday have some guardian herd dogs, but not nearly to the extent you have as I don’t plan to have hundreds of pigs.

  2. Gary W. Osborn says:

    Greetings:
    My wife and I have a small farm in Springfield Ohio. Having retired from Law Enforcement I am finally getting to live my lifelong dream, being a farmer. We want to expand, Boer goats, horses and some cows, mainly for the grandchildren to show in 4-H. Due to the number of foxes, coyotes and wild dogs I am looking for a guardian dog to watch over the animals. Do you have puppies available or know of anyone in the Midwest that you would recommend. Keeping the goats corralled will be a full time job. My wife has been following your site for some time, keep up the great work.

  3. Krista says:

    Hi there. I’m very intrigued by your dogs and might be interested in a breeding at some point down the road. I have a male Caucasian shepherd who is very intelligent…For instance we have a gate latch that occasionally sticks in the open position, and he always notices when it is. He will pull the gate open and hold it for his partner in crime, my pyrenees/komondor mixed bitch to let her out, and then they will both go out together for a short walk. if I go out to chastise him for this he trots back to the gate not looking at me but comes in anyways, after a huff or two to show me how annoyed he is that I ruined his fun.

    He is so much more interactive than any other dog I’ve had, it’s more like having another person around, and I’ve love to have more intelligent dogs in the future.

    We are purchasing a female Caucasian shepherd from Russia who will come home in December, and I am hoping she will prove to be just as Intelligent. If you are ever interested in doing a trade some time down the road let me know.

  4. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter,

    Your dogs are of sufficient size, intelligence, and temperament to be of interest to people who breed dogs for law enforcement.

    If you only breed your animals with veteran law enforcement canines, you also know that they have good genes for obedience.

    If interested, you can ask around at a few local police stations with K9 units, and see where they are getting them from. Most police dogs in the states are German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois, but your dogs are of a similar size and conformation. A little hybrid vigor might be of interest, especially if you let the breeder come up to your farm and watch your dogs in action.

    • Farmerbob1 says:

      I can’t edit my own post, so I’ll add a bit more that I should have thought about. You might also talk directly to police stations with male, uncut police dogs who are active duty, and breed them to your females, and never have to deal with breeders at all, or interfere with police.

      You could also start adopting police dogs, if they are young and healthy enough to breed.

    • Interesting thought. German Shepherds are used here in Vermont. I’ve passed by their dormitory many times and meet them out on the street sometimes. Recently I read an interesting statistic that police with dogs are far better, as in much, much less police abuse of the public, than the police officers who lack dogs. So is that caused by the added screening of officers who get to work with dogs, or by the interaction of dog and officer, or the fact that the dog sets a tone to the situations, or something else? Very interesting.

      • Farmerbob1 says:

        Looking at it from the outside, it seems pretty win-win to me.

        Police get new police dogs over time.
        Farm gets new LG dogs over time.
        You get diverse, high quality genetics for your herd.

        If you start taking in retiree dogs that are still fit and healthy, the human officers who were their partners will be thrilled. You would be giving the dogs an amazing home.

        In the long term, your farm might even make a side business out of breeding police and LGD dogs for sale.

  5. Melanie says:

    I would never have expected husky-type dogs like yours to work well with livestock, because the Nordic breeds are supposed to be more primitive in looks and behavior than the average domesticated dog. I guess all dogs are willing to override their wolfish instincts if needed though, that is part of their beauty. Probably just about any breed you choose to incorporate will work well for you due to the amazing relationship between you and your pack. If you are looking to continue breeding dogs like the ones you have, here is a website I just found that a few of the Nordic herding breeds. Some look a lot like your dogs, maybe one of them would suit your needs: http://www.bordercolliemuseum.org/BCCousins/EuropeWestern/Scandinavia.html

    • I’ve read a couple of articles that talk about wolves naturally being farmers of livestock in the wild and that under their care the elk and deer populations as well as whole ecosystems do better because the wolves cull the old the sick and the predators of the young. The original sire Coy showed up and said he was going to work on our farm. I said no. He said yes. We negotiated like that for a while and he won by demonstrating his ability. All the rest are his descendants. Thanks for the link to the web site – I’ll check it out.

  6. Alisa says:

    Hi Walter!

    I just found your blog a couple weeks ago and I’ve been loving it! My husband and I have just bought a farm with my parents, (we’ve enjoyed living in a generational home for about 4 years now and have decided to make it permanent) anyway, I was wondering if you ever got around to writing that post about training herding/guard dogs? Or if there are any books on the topic you would recommend? (PS: I would definitely buy your book on training farm dogs if you were ever inclined to write one!) Also, do you have any advice on what to get first? Pigs or dogs? Would it be better to get pigs after we’ve had time to train our dogs a little bit? Or is it too difficult to train dogs to herd pigs if they’ve never been around a pig??

    • It’s somewhat written but not polished. I would first recommend:
      The Art of Raising a Puppy
      How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend
      Both are from the Monks of New Skeet.

      I find the key is to establish communications, develop basic training and then to work with the dogs a lot.

      If you can only get one first then get the pigs as you can eat them. Then they’ll be there for you to work the dog with.

      Our dogs work pigs very well. Chickens are a much harder target species because they trigger the hunting reflexes so strongly but even they can be done. When first training the dog to pigs I would suggest small pigs.

      • Alisa says:

        Thank you!

        by the way, did you end up finding new dogs for your pack? Are you selling puppies anytime soon?

        I love the look of your dogs, but all the working dogs being sold in my area are ranch dogs, either hounds or border collies. I wouldn’t mind a collie I guess, but your dogs are absolutely beautiful!

        If and when you ever sell puppies how much do you generally ask for them?

        Thank you again for all the info, your website has been incredibly helpful!

  7. Tomas Kalmar says:

    I was struck by the way you mentioned “the original sire Coy” a couple of years ago. I believe he was the grandfather of our Lucha, whom we got from you around 2004 — you called her Cinnamon. (We connected with you via Planfield Friends.) Lucha was a wonderful companion with a remarkable personality. She died a couple of years ago in Arizona, aged about ten. We would enjoy reconnecting with you and telling you more about her if you are interested. She and I made beautiful music together. Here’s a sample:
    https://youtu.be/qC59Jubu9LY

    and here’s one more:
    https://youtu.be/RxDlJh14jaU

    • Actually, Cinnamon was the name of Lucha’s father. It was fun to see the videos of her singing along to the music. This is something our other dogs do with us. Music is a part of their wild culture. Hope you’re doing well.

      • Tomas Kalmar says:

        Bridget just remembered — Lucha was Ginger when we first got her, yes, Cinnamon’s daughter. The more we got to know her the more I was convinced she was part wolf because of how busically she howled, putting in the harmonies. Then I decided she was part Husky, because of how she loved burrowing in the ice. Then we spent three years in Arizona, and she fit right in, at home in the desest, and everyone said she was part Coyote. So I was left feeling all three were part of her inheritance.
        Best wishes to all of you — and BTW it was because today I bought some of your sausage at the Hardwick Co-op that I had the impulse to reconnect with you guys.

  8. Pam Solingan says:

    I’ve searched for the answer to this question, but haven’t succeeded in finding it, my apologies :(

    How do you manage the breeding of your pack? I gather from other posts that only your alpha pair breed, but even that is two litters a year of surplus puppies. I know that in the old days people would simply drown them, but I suspect the more competent farmers did not do that regularly – seems to me that constant breeding would reduce the work output of the bitch, and I imagine that constantly killing her puppies would damage the working relationship – or am I mistaken? It is so difficult to find good information about these things, which must once have been common knowledge.

    Thank you so much for your blog – every time I read it, I learn so much! From all the comments, as well! I am just in awe of how much you and your family accomplish.

    Pam

    • Two litters per year would be a theoretical maximum. The reality is one litter every few years at most. We’ve never had a bitch who had more than three litters in her entire lifetime. Also, unlike the highly domesticated smaller dog breeds our pack has litters that are typically smaller counts, more like their wild cousins.

      • Pam says:

        Most remarkable! Your real world experience is priceless. I worked in animal rescue for about ten years, mostly with feral cats, and as long as there was any garbage around the poor things just kept pumping out sickly and malformed kittens :(
        Do your bitches simply not come into heat? The unaltered pet dogs I know (including mine) do so very regularly, so I have to supervise them carefully.

        I am now also in awe of your quick response time LOL!

        • Wolf society is quite different. They have developed a social strategy for dealing with living in harsh low resource climates by self-regulating reproduction. This is enforced by the alpha pair who keep the subs in the pack from breeding. All of the pack focus their time and energy on the reproductive success of the alpha pair who’s offspring is typically closely related to most of the rest of the pack. The result is low rates of population growth that allow these alpha predators to exist at the apex of their local ecology without overusing their resources. Think of it as if you were to dote on your nephews to maximize their lives rather than having children yourself – this is how the strategy sometimes plays out in human cultures as well. I think that there may be another issue at work that just limited resource. Young members of our pack, like their wild kin, have much longer childhoods – their time of learning the ways of the pack, than many species. This then results in more information being passed down the generations as culture. Singleton dogs and cats raised in human households don’t get that extended mentoring. Although I do see basic language in other dogs I meet their language is far more limited than in our pack. I have wondered how much of that is because our pick is simply with me, how much because they’re working dogs and how much of it is because they have so many generations of culture that has been maintained over the decades.

          As to my quick response time, see here and here. :)

          • Pam says:

            Aha, so those are your quick-response secrets LOL!
            Unfortunately my limiting factors are between my ears, so such magical devices would be wasted on me ;)

            I have come across scraps of information regarding the long mentoring period of young canines, both wild and domestic, and the potential of it looks absolutely fascinating, especially in the case of human/canine cultural symbiosis. As a child I never even knew it was possible to communicate with dogs – I was told that they are stupid – pull if you want them to go, hit if you want them to stop. Having now a wider world to observe, it has been a revelation to learn that communication is possible, but your work with your dogs takes it to a whole new level. I foresee some fun experimenting with my dog, although I also foresee a problem in that we have nothing really important to discuss. In our brave new world there is almost no way for a dog to make a valued contribution by exercising independent judgement as a mature and skilled member of its species. Dogs are expected to remain cute and babyish all their lives – as are the humans, too :(

            Ahem, getting off my soapbox – I must have misunderstood your answer to my question, because it seems to me that with the support of such a successful pack, your alpha pair would be producing more puppies, not fewer? First-world humans have contraceptive options, but if an alpha bitch comes into heat, there will be puppies, no?

          • It seems to be built into their culture and way of thinking to not outrun their resources. Yes, there is plenty of food here, they have a large herd of pigs they look after and get as much meat as they want from that herd. They have the flocks of chickens, ducks and geese as well. Then there are all the mice. So food is not a limiting resource. But they are also a territorial species and there is a limit to the land area. Our farm at about two square miles is very limited to their way of thinking as they’ll often patrol 30 square miles in the wild.

            In our pack there is the alphas at the canine level and then the alphas at the high level. We refer to this as high and low pack. Out in the wild super packs sometimes form up out of multiple packs and there is a high alpha. This is a feature of both human and canine societies. As high alpha I have a lot of say in when there should be new litters. The alpha male literally asks me and there is a phrase in our shared language for this. The alpha female not so much, interestingly. Both of them police the lower ranks.

            This coming together of clans is also a feature of humans. We gather multiple times a year for our extended family and once a year for our clan and once every five or ten years for our super clan. There is evidence of similar behavior in how the wild kin of our dogs come together for big hunts, sharing of lore and transferring of members.

            I suspect that these sorts of social similarities as well as complementary abilities of senses and such resulted in the mutual domestication of wolves and wild humans long ago, over and over around the world.

            The recent population explosion of humans has to do a lot with the transition period that our societies are going through and I expect that will settle down. There are already signs of this.

  9. Pam says:

    Hmm, this supports an observation that my husband made recently – walking our little bitch when she was in heat, they met one of our neighbors’ intact males. Our girl was ready and willing, but when my husband intuitively indicated to the male not to mate, he obeyed the signal. Both dogs were off leash, and I was most interested when my husband told me about it. However, I would not have been prepared to bet that mating would not happen if the dogs were left alone! Which is what you are describing, if I now understand correctly? Does your alpha male obey this signal from any member of the high pack, or only from you? And do the normally hostile surrounding canines truly reject a fully in heat female that enters their territory?

    I personally have no experience of family or clan beyond the nuclear couple, so had no awareness of the real-world existence of the structures you describe in the human or any other species. Of course they are portrayed in the media of human fantasy, along with fairies and spaceships, but I don’t expect to encounter those things in the real world. Human society appears to be well on its way to maximum entropy, with only the legal system maintaining sufficient order to keep tax revenues flowing up the pyramid of power. It is pretty funny to study archaeological anthropology by observing dog behavior :)

    • This is an interesting question. Where and how solid is the dividing line between low and high pack. My observation from over the years is that the top of the low pack, the low pack alpha, perceives some overlap at his perception of the bottom of the high pack. But my reinforcement of the division strengthen’s the line in his mind and then subsequently he enforces that division. This is from observing many low pack alpha males over the past almost three decades. The result is the alpha, and thus all down from them, obey and are highly protective of all high pack even the omega of the high pack. Note that all members of the low pack are also highly protective of all members of the low pack as well against any outside threat. This is the essence of pack and what is so very different from herd social structures. In a pack all protect all from outside forces while in a herd, or flock, all seek the safety of the group but will sacrifice any other individual for personal survival. This is why it is so dangerous to attack any one individual within a pack but far safer to hunt down an individual in a herd. I think this may be fundamental to the predator prey relationship and how it exhibits in the psychology of social thinking.

  10. Tomas Kalmar says:

    I’m glad I’m now getting to overhear this fascinating conversation

    • What is particularly interesting about Tomas’s dog is it came from our pack, so same genetics, but only was raised for a little while within the pack culture before going to Tomas’s family. I would be interested in your comments, Tomas, on your dog’s language and social frameworks… One variable was changed – just the way we want to do good science. Now we need to rinse and repeat.

  11. Tomas Kalmar says:

    Walter, this is why it’s so fascinating to read all this and begin understanding where Lucha really came from. She was an extraordinary dog. As I mentioned in my first comments I came to believe that her maternal grandfather was part wolf/husky/ AND /coyote. Now I think it may be more that she was from your dog lineage. She was unusally intelligent and always curious and eager to learn more. We had an electronic fence. Our older dog, Chueco, only needed one zap and never went near it again. Lucha tested it every single day, and the minute her battery ran out, off she went. She caught and chased chipmunks. It was her musicality that moved me most of all. She would not put in her harmonies unless the music was good music. Dolly Parton — yes. Bob Dylan — no. At first I unthinkingly took the lead and learned that she would listen to my notes and then add hers. But after a while I realized I could also follow her lead. Our duets were very intimate indeed and after each one we felt very close. That’s my first report, just off the cuff. Feel free to ask more specific questions about her language and social frameworks. It warms my heart to be able to report back to you and your family (and packs) like this. Here’s another video clip. This was when we reconnected after having been apart for a few months. The feelings were strong. The pitches of her notes are musically chosen, to create harmonies. I’m quite sure that if I could hear those higher harmonics, like she could, I would appreciate the beauty of her music even more.
    https://youtu.be/PzJIPNWPLy8

  12. Gayle Torrey says:

    I miss seeing photos of the pack

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