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What is a livestock guardian dog?

 
author
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Many folks are confused about which breeds are considered livestock guardians and why these breeds are different from other dog breeds. Here is an article I wrote explaining this and listed the breeds that are considered livestock guardians.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/is-this-breed-a-livestock-guard-dog-zbcz1408.aspx
 
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Thanks for that link Jan, it answered a lot of the questions I had in regard to LGD, and you even quoted specifically the dog my wife and I want to get when we move to acreage - the border collie.
I guess we'll just have to have the border collie as a pet, and maybe to round up stock rather than protect stock.

Mat
 
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Thanks for the post and article, Jan.
I plan to set up shop in Morocco. I looked into many of the dogs on your list before, then i ran into the Rhodesian Ridgeback and instantly fell in love with what i read. The more i read, the more impressed i became.
So i'd like your opinion on the Rhodesian Ridgeback. It's big enough, it's origins are African, and it's historically been used as guardian dog in Africa. Is it not on your list because it's hard to come by in the States?
 
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Socrates, not sure if you're still looking for an answer, but I know a few people with Rhodesian Ridgebacks. None of them are kept as 100% livestock guardians, but I've heard they do a good job keeping predators away.

Jan, I love the article. When we decide to move off the grid and started looking for a guard dog (not only guarding the livestock, but the whole homestead), my first choice was a Rottweiler - they were originally bred as LGD's. Unfortunately, local laws make it quite expensive to own one (or more), as they're on a blacklist and require extra registration and insurances (also, maybe not the best breed to attract customers if you want a bed & breakfast).
My second choice was a Labrador; I used to have one, I found them very easy to train and mine barked when there were intruders, and that's what a guard dog should do, right?
We ended up getting a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and this really changed the way I looked at dogs. He has an extraordinary instinct for all things guarding; even as a puppy, he could make the difference between people's dogs visiting our place (he would play with them) or stray dogs / passing hunting dogs - he would chase them away, usually by just barking and looking terrifying. A few weeks ago, he chased away a massive wild boar that found its way to our land (not a predator, but can still do devastating things to our vegetable garden).
Our only regret is that we didn't raise him right; he grew up in the city (we thought it would be good to get him used to things like trains, busses, black people, veiled people, busy places,... - however, none of those can be found on our piece of farmland. And now he goes nuts when he sees a goat (wants to play! They're all jumpy and fun!) because he's never seen one before... Yes, that part we would do differently!
 
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I think this a pretty good explaination of what a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) is:



And this is a little about just the Great Pyrenees:



This is Brenda Negri on livestock guardian dogs, and an article she wrote:



These are some of the breeds of livestock guardian dogs out there:





 
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I didn't see the Akbash on any of those pictures. Perhaps because both akbash we have SUCK at guarding anything. lol

Fantastic kid dogs though. lol
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elle sagenev
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LGD tea party?

Haha. I mean I love them but only one of them is capable of guarding and he's the Pyr. The other two are just people dogs. The electrician once sent me a picture of him hugging our akbash over the fence. I was like......what a killa.
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From what I've read, an Anatolian Sheppard is the biggest toughest livestock guardian dog there is. In its traditional farm uses, it would stand up to bears and cheetahs. It stands 2 1/2 feet tall and weighs well over 100 lbs, yet is still nimble and quick. It won't just stand by and guard a herd, it will roam and hunt down the predators before they attack the herd. In North America it would stand up to a cougar. This breed is fearless and most any predator would rather just avoid a fight with a dog this big, even if it's a fight the predator would win. Thing is, for a wild animal an injury is often fatal, it doesn't matter if the cougar would win the fight and then die from an infection a week later it still doesn't want that fight it would rather just go hunt deer instead. Just be aware that an Anatolian Sheppard is an independent minded dog and requires an owner and trainer who does their due diligence in training it properly... They may even be afraid of humans if not properly raised. Its not like raising a black lab to try to own one of these dogs.

 
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thing about guardian dogs...at least with my experience with them...and i went through 4 lifetimes of great pyrenees males...is that they are just what they are supposed to be...no exception to my knowledge :)

i dont know if there is a better method of obtaining a companion, guard, and protector in all the pkg...other than buying a pyrenees...for me...it was an amazing ride...and i will miss them...

see, we sold our big farm and we moved...and the place we moved to wasn't big enough...and we had to leave noah.

noah came after moses, elijah, and eli (ALL pyrenees...our years on that farm were many...where i raised my boys...the pyrenees kept safe, so that i could rest a little easier--3 BOYS)...they were all wonderful and they all did their job...all were able to live out our life on the farm...from 8 weeks to the end of their lives...except noah, he was the last...God saved the best to last... and although he lived out our life on the farm...he has yet to live out his. he was the light of the farm...taking care of our goats, chickens, pigs, us and believe it or not my mother...who became his number one when she walked out of the front door...mom came to my home when she was diagnosed with alzheimers in 2009...we bought noah in 2013 , and during the time we were on that farm, as her condition deteriorated...noah proved himself in a way i had never heard...he became her service dog...all on his on...no training...no urging...really, mother never did anything to or for him that i know...it was just....well...it was just that it seemed that he knew...and he stayed by her side...if she wandered...he would jump up...walk RIGHT BESIDE HER...and head her back when she got to the light pole...no crap...100% of the time...would just move right to the front of her and gently turn...around her...and bring her right back to the front door...it was the most INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE thing i have ever witnessed...1 year gone and momma still asks about him!!!

i don't figure he would have done well any where off of the farm...he was a big huge boy known for pulling up coyotes hides from the back 40 pretty much every few days to the front yard...where he would commence to making his perch in our front yard under the big shade trees...looking straight towards the front door for all to see and just chew on it...deer, and a few other things too...dont know what they did and when he would go hunting God only knows...i only ever saw him laying around and would almost tell you he never left his spot...but i know he did...cause of all of my blessed years living on that land...we never lost not one chicken to a predator during noahs juvenile or adult life...our chickens were free ranging and had no barriers whatsoever...they just went wherever they wanted...noah raised them!  as they grew, they chose to roost just a few feet from...you guessed it...noah!!! :) they would all sleep together...was so cute...figured out that i would never get any eggs that way though...cause noah was an egg sucking dog...and my guess is that is why he so loved and protected his chickens...so, i cooped my younger hens, and gave him his very own older hens to watch over...they would now and again drop him an egg...and he would get it...and carry it to his spot...ever so gently...and crack it and eat the whole damn thing...NO JOKE!!! LOL...the vet would tend to him by coming out to the farm...as noah would NOT get in a moving vehicle and he would NOT leave that farm!!! other neighboring dogs would come to see him...he would walk the place with them...ended up with quite a harem...but, he never let them near his flocks...and he never let them near his kills...would just lay there...king of his own little palace...

any way we never lost a goat or any other thing with four legs on our farm due to wild creatures...never knew him to kill a raccoon...but never saw one of those little masked bandits on my place either...and i know they had to be there...

such as it is...when we sold the farm, although noah had our hearts...all of our hearts...we would in the end, be asked to make one of the most difficult choices i have ever had to make...see, that was noahs farm...that was HIS farm...and the people who were buying it...fell in love with him too...so, instead of us keeping noah and uprooting him...we made the choice to leave him there...it was the right thing to do for noah...for all of his love and commitment to us...we knew it was the farm that held his heart...now, he has him a girlfriend pyrenees who stays by his side...and every now and again i get an update...

point of all of this rambling is that, for me, that is what a guardian dog is...noah...and i miss him...and i know he is doing just what he has always done...on his own terrain...in his own way...calling his own shots...with his girlfriends by his side, and being loved by another family...yet, i think of him in a selfish way and wish he were here...with us...and i also know that it was one of my saddest days...leaving him there...as i drove away...that i can never see him again...i was never his job...mom was not his job...his job was to make sure that farm was watched over and protected..and that he still does well!!!
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I would have to agree; I am not sure there could be a better dog for a farm then a Great Pyrenees.

My dog not only guards, but herds the sheep, loves the kids, plays well with us, never asks for anything but food and water. Yet with (2) Fox, and (2) coyote kills to her name, what more could I ask for?


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teri morgan
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Travis Johnson wrote:I would have to agree; I am not sure there could be a better dog for a farm then a Great Pyrenees.

My dog not only guards, but herds the sheep, loves the kids, plays well with us, never asks for anything but food and water. Yet with (2) Fox, and (2) coyote kills to her name, what more could I ask for?




awwww travis...she is BEAUTIFUL!!! HOW I MISS MY NOAH!!!:(
 
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My neighbors have four dogs, a great Pyrenees, a huge I don't know what and two Bassett hounds. They bark for hours on end. to the point that we've contacted the animal control officer and the sheriff The sheriff had to explain to them that after 1/2 hour they are breaking the law. They claim that they are guardian livestock dogs so the law does not apply. They have chickens, 3 fainting goats, and a horse. I say that if the dogs do not live with the flock then they don't qualify as LGD. They sleep in the house, not the barn. The one deputy agrees with me. What say you?
 
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Josephine Howland wrote:My neighbors have four dogs, a great Pyrenees, a huge I don't know what and two Bassett hounds. They bark for hours on end. to the point that we've contacted the animal control officer and the sheriff The sheriff had to explain to them that after 1/2 hour they are breaking the law. They claim that they are guardian livestock dogs so the law does not apply. They have chickens, 3 fainting goats, and a horse. I say that if the dogs do not live with the flock then they don't qualify as LGD. They sleep in the house, not the barn. The one deputy agrees with me. What say you?



The barking is what I'm most worried about with LGDs. We'd really love to get one, but our nearest neighbor is 500 ft from our house. That's too close if we have a dog that barks all night. Supposedly the Colorado Mountain Dog, a new breed, is being selected for less of a bark instinct. Of course, maybe if the bark is gone, so is the protection?
 
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Erica Colmenares wrote:

Josephine Howland wrote:My neighbors have four dogs, a great Pyrenees, a huge I don't know what and two Bassett hounds. They bark for hours on end. to the point that we've contacted the animal control officer and the sheriff The sheriff had to explain to them that after 1/2 hour they are breaking the law. They claim that they are guardian livestock dogs so the law does not apply. They have chickens, 3 fainting goats, and a horse. I say that if the dogs do not live with the flock then they don't qualify as LGD. They sleep in the house, not the barn. The one deputy agrees with me. What say you?



The barking is what I'm most worried about with LGDs. We'd really love to get one, but our nearest neighbor is 500 ft from our house. That's too close if we have a dog that barks all night. Supposedly the Colorado Mountain Dog, a new breed, is being selected for less of a bark instinct. Of course, maybe if the bark is gone, so is the protection?



It really depends on the breed.  Pyr's tend to bark a lot.  Central Asian Shepherds, Anatolians, Tatras, Maremmas usually don't.  There are always exceptions but any good breeder will discuss it with you and you can see what the parents are like.
 
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We live at the edge of town & have a Pyreneese.  We were concerned about the barking, so put a collar on him.  We tone him when he barks just to say "I'm here". ( a woof. . .woof).  But totally ignore alarm barking, or barking that only lasts a couple of minutes.  And NEVER shock!!   (Reserve shock only for an animal that is trying to kill your chicken or animal)  After a couple years of toning & turning on the back light, now we just turn on the light.  If it isn't that important, he stops barking.  But if he continues, we know something is right there by the fence.  The neighbors actually really like him.  He's repelled a cougar, coyote, possum, evil tom cat, & killed at least 1 possum.  My chickens, goats & I are safe.  He doesn't like strange men near me, but backs off if I tell him it's okay.  He was an adoption from a shelter.  He started out stepping on chickens & pulling out their feathers, jumping out of the fence & taking off, & knocking me down.. . a total disaster.  But now, he's probably the best LGD we've had. Oh, and the hawks don't even fly over our property anymore. . . they actually turn at our fenceline.
 
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So, I love the look of Pyranese, and Anatolians. As the " farm" will be hill country in West Virginia, and I will have enough work just with the animals (planned are meat and fiber goats, alpaca, chickens, and perhaps eventually mini cows) and food plants, I'm not sure I will want to brush a dog. As I've never done LGD training, that will have to be a skill to learn out on my list of skills to acquire. So I'd like to find a shorter-haired LGD, or a different animal entirely to perform most of the herd protection duties.

I've read all 3 parts of the initial poster's article in Mother Earth News. I find myself discouraged by the references to things like "needs an experienced handler", "requires grooming", "not a good choice for hot and/or humid areas". So I am asking you readers for recommendations on which breed(s) would be most suitable for the region and critters we will be working with. Please include some of your reasoning.    Thanks in advance.
 
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teri morgan wrote:...
noah came after moses, elijah, and eli (ALL pyrenees...our years on that farm were many...where i raised my boys...the pyrenees kept safe, so that i could rest a little easier--3 BOYS)...they were all wonderful and they all did their job...all were able to live out our life on the farm...from 8 weeks to the end of their lives...except noah, he was the last...God saved the best to last... and although he lived out our life on the farm...he has yet to live out his. he was the light of the farm...taking care of our goats, chickens, pigs, us and believe it or not my mother...who became his number one when she walked out of the front door...mom came to my home when she was diagnosed with alzheimers in 2009...we bought noah in 2013 , and during the time we were on that farm, as her condition deteriorated...noah proved himself in a way i had never heard...he became her service dog...all on his on...no training...no urging...really, mother never did anything to or for him that i know...it was just....well...it was just that it seemed that he knew...and he stayed by her side...if she wandered...he would jump up...walk RIGHT BESIDE HER...and head her back when she got to the light pole...no crap...100% of the time...would just move right to the front of her and gently turn...around her...and bring her right back to the front door...it was the most INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE thing i have ever witnessed...1 year gone and momma still asks about him!!!

Teri Morgan: Are Noah's offspring available? Where was Noah from?

Brian
-

 
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Cindy Haskin wrote:So, I love the look of Pyranese, and Anatolians. As the " farm" will be hill country in West Virginia, and I will have enough work just with the animals (planned are meat and fiber goats, alpaca, chickens, and perhaps eventually mini cows) and food plants, I'm not sure I will want to brush a dog. As I've never done LGD training, that will have to be a skill to learn out on my list of skills to acquire. So I'd like to find a shorter-haired LGD, or a different animal entirely to perform most of the herd protection duties.

I've read all 3 parts of the initial poster's article in Mother Earth News. I find myself discouraged by the references to things like "needs an experienced handler", "requires grooming", "not a good choice for hot and/or humid areas". So I am asking you readers for recommendations on which breed(s) would be most suitable for the region and critters we will be working with. Please include some of your reasoning.    Thanks in advance.



Cindy asked this question several months ago, but I thought maybe someone else would have the same concerns.  I've had a number of Great Pyrenees, a purebred Maremma, and a Maremma X Akbash.  The only one who ever needed brushing was the Maremma X Akbash, Cameo (had her for nine years -- just lost her this last winter).  She had a coat that tended to mat up, and when we moved from Oregon's high desert to hot and humid Kentucky, she also picked up cockleburs in her coat.  You should keep an eye out for matting behind the ears and in the britches on the long-haired dogs, but most of them shouldn't have any problem with it.  If you have cockleburs, though, look for one of the shorter-haired breeds like the Anatolian.  

People do keep Great Pyrenees in all parts of the US, even in Florida.  I personally would rather have a short haired dog in that climate (or even in this climate); for the most part, the livestock guardian dog breeds were developed and used in mountainous and high desert type environments, and their coats are suited for those climates.  

On barking, the Great Pyrenees do tend to bark a lot at night.  I am reminded of this as my young Great Pyrenees is growing into her guardian powers, now that we've lost Cameo.  I was spoiled with Cameo -- she only barked at night if there was a real threat out there.  Normally, if she barked, I could hear coyotes singing nearby.  Great Pyrenees use barking as a territory marker, and do a lot more of it.  Maggie is a good girl, but I don't like the night barking, particularly because we don't have AC, so I keep the windows open at night!  I'm hoping my neighbors all have AC and keep their windows closed so she won't be bothering them as much.  Even so, she doesn't bark for hours on end, just for a few minutes at a time.
 
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Eureka!!! Livestock guardians dogs. We have a very serious problem here that I don't want to go into on permies. Too complicated & too ugly. I hadn't considered LGDs yet. Need to research & ponder this but it seems like an excellent solution!!!
 
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Mike Barkley wrote:Eureka!!! Livestock guardians dogs. We have a very serious problem here that I don't want to go into on permies. Too complicated & too ugly. I hadn't considered LGDs yet. Need to research & ponder this but it seems like an excellent solution!!!



Hey Mike.  I'm involved with a few different breeders, both of LGD and home and personal protection dogs.  If you want a recommendation or have questions about things you don't want to go into on the forum, feel free to PM.  Suffice to say, a good dog can be the answer to lots of ugly issues :)
 
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Nobody ever mentions Romanian Mioritics. Hands down the best dog I've ever met.

The thing that convinced me it was the right investment for the homestead was a video of one Mioritic taking on a pack of 8 wolves, by itself, like it was nothing. The kind of militaristic precision that has been bred into these dogs just blows me away constantly. In that video the dog would rush the pack of wolves to break it up, then isolate the weakest one and take it out, just in time for the rest of the pack to regroup. Rinse, recycle, repeat. No more wolves.

I've never seen one in a fight with a bear or big cat, but those are the other things they were bred to protect against.

But I've seen that precision with mine, too. She has one confirmed coyote kill, and we only know that because she brought the head back as a trophy after eating the rest. We didn't hear coyotes at all for a few weeks after that. They like to lure dogs out and then gang up on them... and I think they made the mistake of trying that with mine. I'm sure she's gotten a few since then and we've just never seen the evidence. She definitely showed up one morning recently, all proud of herself, tufts of fur missing, but no blood. I suspect that was another coyote kill.

She always finds high ground to perch on so she has a vantage point from which to view her surroundings. Stairs. Gravel piles. Hills. Retaining walls. Anything to get her up above everything.



We had friends out recently that she'd never met, and I noticed that when I called her over to me, she stood at my side instinctively facing behind me so she could watch my back. Not aggressive or unfriendly toward our friends, just constantly vigilant and analyzing the situation, and positioning herself in the most defensive position she could take in the event something happened. To anyone who didn't know my dog, it would have looked like she was just cuddling up to me... but she is not a cuddly dog. Everything she does is calculated.

She's gentle and takes commands from my 2 year old niece, whom she protects tirelessly and will come running any time she hears crying.

At 9 months old I was able to leave her alone with my chickens without any training when a hawk started picking off my pullets. I figured there was a chance that she'd kill the chickens, but they were getting killed anyway, so it was worth a shot. Never had a problem with her. Mioritics were bred to work with small animals, and it stuck. She has no prey drive, and no resource guarding tendencies. She's only ever killed one rooster, and he was an asshole, so I 100% believe that he started it and she only killed him by accident trying to get him to stop. She never ate him. He was just laying there dead with her looking at me like "It stopped moving. How do we make it move again?" If anything, I find it annoying that she has so little prey drive; she won't chase the deer because they're "not a threat." Though, she doesn't keep them out of the immediate area.

Despite the lack of prey drive, she will actually hunt for food, just not for sport. And quite effectively. I suspect she hunts for food most nights, since her eating patterns suggest that she's really only interested in kibble if she didn't manage to catch anything. And I have seen her burying caches of food, so I suspect she's eating on coyotes for a few days after she gets one. I've also seen her bring home gophers on a couple of occasions, so she's pretty clear on which animals belong to her and which don't. In a typical week, I'd guess I fill her food bowl 3 or 4 times, but she maintains her weight and doesn't beg for food. It's rare to fill her bowl on consecutive days because she doesn't usually finish it.

Landowner has an older rescue that was picked up off of the street and does not like other dogs. At all. Drives my dog crazy because she just wants to be part of the pack. Sometimes the owner's dog will start something, especially if she thinks my dog is getting too much attention from her humans. My dog understands that as grumpy as the old dog can get, she's still part of the pack and isn't to be harmed. The one time I heard them going at it, it was over before I could get out there. No blood, and no injuries except maybe to the old dog's pride. My Mioritic just pinned her down and held her there until she stopped fighting. Once the old dog submitted, that was that. Honestly, in 4 years, I can't only remember them fighting 3 or 4 times. Mostly the old dog would just try to take my Mioritic out into the woods and ditch her before coming back alone. Haha.

She chases thunder... because nothing could possibly be bigger than her, and she needs to protect us from it.

Literally, she doesn't understand that things are bigger than her. She hates vehicles and has tried to tear the bumper off of a 3/4 ton pickup as it was driving away. The only thing I can think of is that she thinks the vehicles have captured the people??? She's way more likely to attack them when they're going than coming, and WAY more likely if I'm a passenger, so that's the only thing I can think of. She's starting to chill out on that finally, after 4 years, especially with vehicles that she sees very frequently. Unless they're electric vehicles. She really hates electric vehicles (maybe they're too quiet and she thinks they're sneaking around?)

She's AMAZING with aerial predators. One time the neighbor was over and she just wouldn't stop barking. I assumed she was barking at the neighbor since she hadn't met him before, but when I finally looked she was staring up at the sky. Lo and behold, there was a hawk circling overhead and that's what she was barking at.

Impressively strong. She was able to break a 150-pound cable tie-out as a puppy. Switched to an invisible fence after that, which she respected for the most part. Now that we're settled in she free ranges without issue.



The gentlest animal I've ever met, unless she's fighting something. She scares people because of her size, and if you offer a treat she'll lunge at it until right at the last second when she gingerly takes it from your hand.

And patient. The most patient. If you're doing something she doesn't like (like grooming her, pulling out thorns, or just general poking and prodding), she'll tolerate it for a VERY long time. When she's finally really starting to get annoyed, if she can't just get up and leave the situation she'll start licking your hand as a way of asking you to stop. If you still don't stop, she'll tolerate it for a quite a while longer. Once she's finally reached her limit she'll put her mouth over your hand and just hold it. Like a "I'm not going to bite you, but the thing you're doing with this hand has to stop." Landowner's dog has bitten me when she was going after some contractors and I grabbed her from behind and she didn't realize it was me. Never once have I been worried about my dog biting me, even when doing things that other dogs tend to get snippy over.

And smart. Wicked smart. All animals will eat grass for an upset stomach, but I was absolutely shocked when I saw her chewing on willow branches for a painkiller. Chewed on some willow and then laid down to start picking a thorn out of her paw. I have no clue what other things she's using medicinally, but I've never seen another dog use willow before.

Strong. Loyal. Smart. Gentle. Great companion... if a little less excited to see you than other dogs. Once I'm on my feet financially, I hope to get a couple males so that puppies can happen. It's an absolute shame that these dogs aren't more common.
 
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I have been considering a Caucasian mountain dog. What might be the pros and cons of this breed and how might I obtain a young puppy?
 
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Matthew, what a great dog!! You said, "Unless they're electric vehicles. She really hates electric vehicles (maybe they're too quiet and she thinks they're sneaking around?)"
I can't help thinking the opposite may be the reality. Electric vehicles put off an incredibly high-pitched, often undetectable-to-humans sound that may actually be painful to her ears, especially if her senses are so finely tuned in, for her job.

Definitely a breed we will be looking into, considering our predator pressure now includes not only coyotes, wildcats, raptors, and foxes, but also bears!
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Matthew, what a great dog!! You said, "Unless they're electric vehicles. She really hates electric vehicles (maybe they're too quiet and she thinks they're sneaking around?)"
I can't help thinking the opposite may be the reality. Electric vehicles put off an incredibly high-pitched, often undetectable-to-humans sound that may actually be painful to her ears, especially if her senses are so finely tuned in, for her job.

Definitely a breed we will be looking into, considering our predator pressure now includes not only coyotes, wildcats, raptors, and foxes, but also bears!



That makes way too much sense... and I don't even know what I could do to address that.

The only people who had bred them in the states when I was looking were a family that had brought their dogs from Romania, but they were no longer breeding them when I started looking. My ex-girlfriend's grandmother lived in Romania at the time and still had them (which is part of why I knew they were the right dog for me), but it was just too expensive to get one over here. Finally got to talking with a breeder in Romania who breeds them as show dogs and explained that I was looking for a working dog. Got back to me a few weeks later, just before we were supposed to move out here, saying she found one. Born on a farm to working parents. Old enough to fly.

Totally nerve-wracking to wire money to a stranger in a foreign country for an animal you've never seen in person, but yeah... My contact had enough of an online presence to give me the confidence that she'd actually drive this before.

My breeder contact was awesome. Made all the arrangements with the other breeder on my behalf. All the paperwork and pre-flight veterinary care taken care of, everything sorted out with the airports, everything. Literally all I had to do was show up at the airport and pick her up, complete with her passport/vaccination records, and her pedigree with the Russian kennel club (you know, since the AKC doesn't recognize the breed.) Shipping from Romania wasn't cheap, but the total including shipping and everything was still at the low end of what people pay for purebred dogs domestically. Stressed about whether it was actually a good investment at first, but it's probably the best one I've ever made. She's earned back every penny in saved livestock and plants.

If I'm never able to get males, our neighbor has a gorgeous Pyrenees that I've thought about breeding her with. Best of both breeds.
 
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Mathew Trotter wrote:That makes way too much sense... and I don't even know what I could do to address that...

If I'm never able to get males, our neighbor has a gorgeous Pyrenees that I've thought about breeding her with. Best of both breeds.




I don't know that there is anything you could do, other than not get an electric vehicle? If you ever do manage to breed her, please let me know. I'm not in any hurry, as the bears are only a somewhat recent resurgent species in our area. They never completely went away, but their numbers are only just beginning to reach a point of mild concern, here, and I do have means to confine my livestock, when I know they've been sighted nearby. But, I can see a point on the horizon, when it could become necessary. I'll do some more research, and if it becomes a need, I'll check back with you.
 
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I would also be interested in  a pup if you ever get her bred. My Brother in law and his family are moving out into a very rural area here in Texas. and  its known for  having foxes, coyotes and cougars, feral pigs, etc;  My sister in law is going bland and having a dog like this would  make my mind rest easier for their sake.

 
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Nathan Watson wrote:From what I've read, an Anatolian Sheppard is the biggest toughest livestock guardian dog there is. In its traditional farm uses, it would stand up to bears and cheetahs. It stands 2 1/2 feet tall and weighs well over 100 lbs, yet is still nimble and quick. It won't just stand by and guard a herd, it will roam and hunt down the predators before they attack the herd. In North America it would stand up to a cougar. This breed is fearless and most any predator would rather just avoid a fight with a dog this big, even if it's a fight the predator would win. Thing is, for a wild animal an injury is often fatal, it doesn't matter if the cougar would win the fight and then die from an infection a week later it still doesn't want that fight it would rather just go hunt deer instead. Just be aware that an Anatolian Sheppard is an independent minded dog and requires an owner and trainer who does their due diligence in training it properly... They may even be afraid of humans if not properly raised. Its not like raising a black lab to try to own one of these dogs.



We have one of these now and yeah, everything you said. He was not properly raised. Neglected is a better term for him and hit, a lot. He eventually bit a kid and they said they were going to kill him if we didn't take him. My hubs had bonded over a shared love of food with this dog, who is half great pyr/half anatolian. So, here we got this dog. He was really skinny and drooled a lot. We wormed him and now he's super fat. He bonded with our akbash who was the same age as him. Unfortunately that akbash died. Anyway, he is really gentle with all our animals. Accidentally left the barn door open once and woke up expecting everything to be dead, as our great pyr is a massive chicken killer. Everything was fine and he was just hanging out with them. So, considering he was raised in the burbs with an electric shock collar to prevent him barking his instincts are spot on.

We have this mini pig I was tricked into taking and she attacks him every time she sees him. He's so big and has so much hair he's convinced she's trying to play with him and he adores her. I have no doubt that any kind of predator would have a big problem taking this dog on. Add up his attitude with his size and his excessive amount of hair and you have a killer on your hands.

The problem with him is his ferociousness. The other dogs will attack unless we are present. Then they're fine and just want pets. Not Brewster, Brewster hates strangers, all strangers. He will bite. Adult, kid, he doesn't care. Strange is strange. He's great with our kids, probably mostly because I've always told our kids that you should always treat the dogs like they can kill you, because they can. So they're gentle with the dogs. We did have to keep him away from the baby for about a year. He snapped at her, which shocked us. I wanted to put him down, to be honest. I can't have a massive dog trying to bite the baby. Husband prevailed though. For some dumb reason he really likes this stupid dog. Anyway, we kept them apart and now that she's older he seems to have no problem with her. Still wouldn't trust them alone, because the last thing I need is a dead baby. Anyway, yeah. I don't know what we'll do when the kids have more friends over. We already have to lock him up when family visits. He makes me nervous. He's a liability. He's also an asset because let's face it, we have meth heads robbing the neighbors but no one bothers us at all.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:
The problem with him is his ferociousness. The other dogs will attack unless we are present. Then they're fine and just want pets. Not Brewster, Brewster hates strangers, all strangers. He will bite. Adult, kid, he doesn't care. Strange is strange. He's great with our kids, probably mostly because I've always told our kids that you should always treat the dogs like they can kill you, because they can. So they're gentle with the dogs. We did have to keep him away from the baby for about a year. He snapped at her, which shocked us. I wanted to put him down, to be honest. I can't have a massive dog trying to bite the baby. Husband prevailed though. For some dumb reason he really likes this stupid dog. Anyway, we kept them apart and now that she's older he seems to have no problem with her. Still wouldn't trust them alone, because the last thing I need is a dead baby. Anyway, yeah. I don't know what we'll do when the kids have more friends over. We already have to lock him up when family visits. He makes me nervous. He's a liability. He's also an asset because let's face it, we have meth heads robbing the neighbors but no one bothers us at all.



This is exactly why people that want livestock guard dogs need to do their due diligence.  Lots of people think they want one, and for some people, like me, they are perfect.  We don't have children, we rarely have visitors, and we live in a very rural area with most every North American predator you can imagine, as well as two-legged vermin.  Your dog is exactly what I want from a dog.  I have one like that myself.  I'm fine with locking him up when we have people over, which is extremely rare anyway, and I want my dog to bite intruders without question.  We have three very large dogs.  One won't bite you, one will probably bite you, and the third will most surely kill you if you come onto our land uninvited.  I have fences and signs.  A person ignoring those things is doing it at their peril, and that's just how I want it.  If our living situation was different, my dogs could be a huge liability as you said.  For us, they are perfect.
 
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Kim Huse wrote:I would also be interested in  a pup if you ever get her bred. My Brother in law and his family are moving out into a very rural area here in Texas. and  its known for  having foxes, coyotes and cougars, feral pigs, etc;  My sister in law is going bland and having a dog like this would  make my mind rest easier for their sake.



There are some very good breeders in Texas.  I don't usually give recommendations because in the wrong hands, a good LGD can be dangerous, but if you decide to get one, just know there are some really good people in Texas with really good dogs.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:
The problem with him is his ferociousness. The other dogs will attack unless we are present. Then they're fine and just want pets. Not Brewster, Brewster hates strangers, all strangers. He will bite. Adult, kid, he doesn't care. Strange is strange. He's great with our kids, probably mostly because I've always told our kids that you should always treat the dogs like they can kill you, because they can. So they're gentle with the dogs. We did have to keep him away from the baby for about a year. He snapped at her, which shocked us. I wanted to put him down, to be honest. I can't have a massive dog trying to bite the baby. Husband prevailed though. For some dumb reason he really likes this stupid dog. Anyway, we kept them apart and now that she's older he seems to have no problem with her. Still wouldn't trust them alone, because the last thing I need is a dead baby. Anyway, yeah. I don't know what we'll do when the kids have more friends over. We already have to lock him up when family visits. He makes me nervous. He's a liability. He's also an asset because let's face it, we have meth heads robbing the neighbors but no one bothers us at all.



This is exactly why people that want livestock guard dogs need to do their due diligence.  Lots of people think they want one, and for some people, like me, they are perfect.  We don't have children, we rarely have visitors, and we live in a very rural area with most every North American predator you can imagine, as well as two-legged vermin.  Your dog is exactly what I want from a dog.  I have one like that myself.  I'm fine with locking him up when we have people over, which is extremely rare anyway, and I want my dog to bite intruders without question.  We have three very large dogs.  One won't bite you, one will probably bite you, and the third will most surely kill you if you come onto our land uninvited.  I have fences and signs.  A person ignoring those things is doing it at their peril, and that's just how I want it.  If our living situation was different, my dogs could be a huge liability as you said.  For us, they are perfect.



When we got him he was 1 of 4 LGDs on our property. I'll have to find our family picture from last year, we each are holding a dog and it's a really good one. Anyway, we had 2 die last year which was super depressing. Now we just have our ancient pyr, he's 12 and Brewster. Maybe I'd be less worried if I didn't work for lawyers but I'm well aware of what harboring a known biter could do to us. He's alright with our older kids. To be fair to him the family he came from had both the adult and kids hitting and kicking him. I knew he'd bit the kid but I'd seen what the kid did to the dogs so I figured the fact the kid wasn't dead was a testament to how much restraint this dog has. He didn't even break the skin.

Jiki, our 12 year old, best dog in the world for kids. He's great pyr and will kill animals no problem but man oh man is he great with kids. He was 2 when we had our first kid and we've had 3. Every single one is attached to the Jiki. Our baby right now treats him as her best friend. She's always trying to bring him canned food and laying on him. He's a kid dog. The best kid dog. Husband even sent me a picture series where the baby had a basket on her head and then she stuck it on Jiki and he just sat there with this basket on his head while she laughed hysterically. That dog. When he dies a large part of our house will die. Anyway, I got off track.

I don't disagree with you. LGD's aren't for everyone. They aren't traditional people dogs. Our dogs don't do tricks. We don't take them off the farm except to go to the vet. We don't have people over often, but it's getting more frequent with our oldest daughter and her girl gang wanting to hang out a lot. It worries me.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:I didn't see the Akbash on any of those pictures. Perhaps because both akbash we have SUCK at guarding anything. lol

Fantastic kid dogs though. lol



Elle, I had not heard of Akbash before, but your dog looks just like our mystery shelter pup! Do you think this dog (pics below) might be an akbash?
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Dog in Snow
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Dog in car
 
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Mk Neal wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:I didn't see the Akbash on any of those pictures. Perhaps because both akbash we have SUCK at guarding anything. lol

Fantastic kid dogs though. lol



Elle, I had not heard of Akbash before, but your dog looks just like our mystery shelter pup! Do you think this dog (pics below) might be an akbash?



I don't think so, for a couple reasons.  Akbash are rare, have thicker coats, and the head shape is different.  They are usually more white, though can have a bit of yellowish.  I would bet yours has lab in it.  DNA tests are pretty cheap now, and interesting even if you don't really care what breed your dog is.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Mk Neal wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:I didn't see the Akbash on any of those pictures. Perhaps because both akbash we have SUCK at guarding anything. lol

Fantastic kid dogs though. lol



Elle, I had not heard of Akbash before, but your dog looks just like our mystery shelter pup! Do you think this dog (pics below) might be an akbash?



I don't think so, for a couple reasons.  Akbash are rare, have thicker coats, and the head shape is different.  They are usually more white, though can have a bit of yellowish.  I would bet yours has lab in it.  DNA tests are pretty cheap now, and interesting even if you don't really care what breed your dog is.



We had been guessing lab/Anatolian Sheperd. Like a super tall curly tailed lab who acts like an LGD.
 
elle sagenev
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Agreed with Trace, not an akbash. Though people often thought what we had was a very tall, rare white lab. They're similar in appearance.
 
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Mk Neal wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:

Mk Neal wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:I didn't see the Akbash on any of those pictures. Perhaps because both akbash we have SUCK at guarding anything. lol

Fantastic kid dogs though. lol



Elle, I had not heard of Akbash before, but your dog looks just like our mystery shelter pup! Do you think this dog (pics below) might be an akbash?



I don't think so, for a couple reasons.  Akbash are rare, have thicker coats, and the head shape is different.  They are usually more white, though can have a bit of yellowish.  I would bet yours has lab in it.  DNA tests are pretty cheap now, and interesting even if you don't really care what breed your dog is.



We had been guessing lab/Anatolian Sheperd. Like a super tall curly tailed lab who acts like an LGD.



Either way, it's a beautiful dog.  Looks like a complete sweetie with the family too.
 
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Did somebody say "sweetie"?.....  :-)
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