Livestock guardian dogs have so far been one of the best investments to our farm. The are absolutely incredible & amazing to see in action.
There are so many things to consider when thinking about a livestock guardian. Which breed is best? Is a craigslist or shelter dog good enough? Can any dog be a livestock dog?
We lost a couple of goats then had a unbelievably close encounter with a cougar when finding one of the goats the cougar had stole for food. It was right outside our barn door literally 28 feet & so was the cougar! A Fish & Wildlife Warden came to our house & told us about a young boy who was taken by a cougar a few years past from a yard. The story was horrifying to say the least.
ok that’s it not only for the goats safety, for our family’s safety, we need LGD’s!
Originally we wanted to adopt a dog from a rescue, the typical breeds like Great Pyrenees have rescues where people get these dogs as pets but they are so big they don’t fit in their house & then they end up in a shelter.
Unfortunately if you were to go that route, there is no way to know if they have the instinct to protect or to hang out with your livestock! Plus if they are used to being an indoor dog they are less likely to work for what you need them to & that again is to protect your herd.
One thing to watch out for is people on Craigslist trying to sell a herding dog mixed with a livestock dog. These two dogs have totally different purposes in life so it creates one confused dog that is worthless for either job.
When looking for a dog, look for a dog that has on site training from another working dog. Unless you already have a working older dog that can teach a puppy, puppies need to learn on site from an adult.
Also keep in mind, do you need dogs right away because you have cougars? Don’t get 12 weeks old puppies, they will not be able to fend off predators.
The main breeds such as Great Pyrenees, Akbash, Kormodor, & Anatolian Shepard all have very different personalities so it really depends on your situation. Research the breeds personalities before getting one. These dogs do great work solo but are really best as teams when it comes to fending off predators. They usually have a different purpose, some hang with livestock more others are more athletic & check the fence lines.
We went thru a LGD breeder who has all the breeds. Originally we ended up with two older dogs that were Akbash/Kormodor mixes one mostly Akbash & the other mostly Kormodor. The Kormodor didn’t work out for our situation & the breeder swapped him with another male was much younger. A one year old Great Pyrenees/Akbash mix. Their personalities were night & day, the GP/Akbash is a great combo & he works really well for our situation which is a small homestead herd where we see our dogs multiple times a day & interact with them.
Our dogs are fairly elusive around humans, they will not guard against your home being robbed that is for sure. However our dogs do know who is part of our family & they love kids.
They also live outside all year round. We have several shelters up for the dogs to choose from to retreat from the elements but they mostly just hang out in them. Rain, snow or shine the dogs love being outdoors. They were bred for it & they prefer it – really!
The dogs make enough noise & their scent keeps the predators at bay. Sometimes at night between our dogs barking at things & the neighbors dogs barking it gets exhausting but then we just think about how not only are the goats safe but so we.
If you are in the market for a LGD, we know of some excellent breeders & professional transporters so feel free to contact us!