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Alternative LGD?

 
Sean Benedict
Posts: 34
Location: Chesapeake Beach, MD Zone 7b
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For Jan,

Any thoughts given to the Catahoula Leopard Dog? I've recently discovered the breed even though it's been around since before our nation. Anyway, they're typically used as herders and hunters. It seems to me that they'd make at least competent LGD's. A couple of them are capable of taking down a wild boar, so I think there wouldn't be a predator they can't handle, plus they're good with people. I like that they're bred for temperament and health (and are not AKC recognized) rather than mere appearances.

Sean Benedict
Chesapeake Beach, MD
 
Jan Dohner
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Posts: 39
Location: Michigan
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I really believe strongly that if someone wants a livestock guard dog that will bond with stock and be willing to take on all predators, small and large, you really have to use one of the true LGD breeds. Herding dogs and hunting dogs, as well, have been selected to be especially good at their jobs, and so are LGDs. This is what is crucially important to remember – the livestock guard dog breeds have been selected for a very low or non-existent prey drive, a longer period of social bonding than many other breeds, and a physical appearance that suggests “friend.” They have also been selected for the essential traits of attentiveness, trustworthiness, and protection of their stock. LGDs are exceptionally nurturing and tolerant of their charges. LGDs also possess instinctual responses to first warn off threats rather than immediately attack. Successful owners take these natural LGD behaviors and carefully monitor and encourage them as their pup grows. These inborn traits can be so strong that some adult LGDs, who were never socialized with stock as puppies, will still make outstanding guardians – because of the strong and correct instinctual behaviors they possess.

The inherited LGD traits are the reason why you can’t take a Lab or a Border collie or another non-LGD breed and easily train and trust it to behave properly as a livestock guard. The prey or chase drives in many breeds are just too high to make them reliable guardians. Some breeds are excellent watchdogs but lack the nurturing instincts a LGD exhibits towards its charges. Other breeds lack the protective coat to work outside in difficult weather. Still others do not possess the size, agility, or sense of responsibility to take on serious predators. These are also the reasons why crosses with a LGD and a non-LGD breed are just not reliable as working livestock guardians. The pups can certainly possess the traits of the non-LGD parent. Yes, many breeds make great all round farm dogs, but they should not be trusted or expected to live reliably with stock 24 hours a day.

Folks I've known with Catalouha dogs have reported that they are indeed very active hard working hunting dogs who were used to round up hard headed cattle. LGDs are low energy dogs that don't chase and drive animals like that. They have hardy weather repellent coats and the size to take on packs of coyotes, etc. While a Catalouha can make a general purpose farm dog they are not really suited to 24/7/365 live with stock.

Most of the LGD breeds are not recognized by the AKC and are not bred for show. Some, like the Akbash, have some of the lowest rates of hip problems because they need to be bred to be healthy dogs suited for a long working life. If tou prefer a shorter coat, like the Catahoula, some Anatolians and Akbash have short coats, as well as all Kangal dogs. If you've never looked closely at them, give it some study.

Here is an article I wrote that lists the LGD breeds.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/is-this-breed-a-livestock-guard-dog-zbcz1408.aspx#ixzz3Kwbs9hOO
 
Sean Benedict
Posts: 34
Location: Chesapeake Beach, MD Zone 7b
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Thank you for the thoughtful reply. You make a lot of sense and confirmed what I suspected. A job for every dog and every dog has a job.

Actually, when I get around to acquiring land, it will most likely be in the Midwest and given the harsh prairie winters, something like a Great Pyr or, as I just discovered, a Caucasian Shepherd (Though that one sounds a bit more advanced and not a good first LGD) might be more suitable and I'll reserve the Catahoula for herding/catching and maybe hunting and guarding the house and outbuildings. I'll definitely look at the articles you've posted. Thanks again!

Non-show breeds definitely interest me more. I've been around enough questionable 'showy' dogs to prefer ones bred with a bit more practicality in mind. I firmly believe that the AKC is one of the worst things to happen to the canine species since Parvo.
 
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