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Great Pyrenees crazy cross. woah!!!  RSS feed

 
brandon gross
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So I want a livestock guardian and will get one, one day. I plan on doing more research about different breeds when I have less pressing matters to research and even own a sweet book about the subject matter. My question/random thinking is what breeds of dog would be better to cross with a great Pyrenees to meet the needs of most homesteaders. From my very limited research most things about the breed (great Pyrenees) seems great. The negatives I have found seem to be that they eat alot and develop joint problems. Some personal homestead concerns of mine are that they grown long hair (i live where it is hot most the year) and the fact that I don't have any large predators to contend with so I don't need a giant dog. I know there are many other livestock guardian breeds Paul mentions a small dog in one of his podcast, but the Pyrenees just seems so awesome. All this rambling leads to a fairly simple question "if I could convince some on to breed their great Pyrenees with another breed to make some awesome puppys what breeds would make the best match?" I am not into dog breeding so a true bloodline is not as important but what breeds would have great characteristics to add to the Pyrenees bloodline. And if any of my concerns are non valid please let me know.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Here are some to think about: http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/best-guard-dogs/
 
Kelly Smith
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depending on your property size, a GP will wonder. they are also loud barkers at night (may or may not piss neighbors off)

i have most commonly seen a GP bred with an Anatolian shepard.

i have also seen GP crossed with Maremma and even some Akbash.


Greg Judy says that the GP he had werent very smart. sounds like they dont get out of the road for cars (mat or may not apply to you)
Judy seems to be stuck on a GP/anatoilian/maremma cross.

also - the long hair of a GP helps them stay cool in the summer
 
brandon gross
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Sweet thanks for a place to start. I love learning new shit everyday.
Hair keeping them cool never would of thought it makes sense now though.
 
elle sagenev
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Crosses I've personally met are:

Pyr/St Bernard

Pyr/Newfoundland

Pyr/Akbash

With a cross you are guaranteed nothing, obviously. You hope to get the desired genes but who knows.

Our pyr/akbash is stereotypical pyr in every way. I don't have super personal experience with the others but from my intros with them they seem to be reserved to new people and then happy as can be to meet ya.
 
Tina Lee
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We had a GP x Boxer and he was so good natured. Actually one of my favorite dogs in 50 years. Pros were short hair, very smart and loving. Cons. He needs 5 miles around the property to run in. You can't keep him in, he will either climb or jump any fence. Our Jake finally met his demise in the interstate last February. The interstate that is over a mile away. So I would suggest a smaller breed.
 
taylor arneson
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I have what I assume is a GP crossed with Golden / Chesapeake Bay Retriever or even Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. When I got him in Vermont about 6 years ago all they said was he is a "St. Bernard mixed breed" but really looks nothing like a St. B other than his coloring. He was from Quebec where GP is a very popular breed.

He is an amazing dog, but due to the fact he was found living on the street in Montreal, he has some issues around food and is also emotionally needy / separation anxiety but has gotten much better over the years. He learns fast, gets by on much less food than a GP weighing between 90-100 lbs. Also as he is almost 7 most people who meet him recognize he still acts like a puppy. Good with kids, other dogs, and livestock. But he does have a mind of his own and will wander if not fenced in or with people. I plan to get a GP or LGD and cross with a retriever as he gets older, it would help for him to have a companion and since he was neutered before I got him, sadly no chance of breeding him.
 
Su Ba
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I'm not a big proponent of crossing breeds, basically because you have lost the advantage of knowing what you'll get. But having said that, my current farm guard dog is out of a GP/German Shepherd bred to a Czech German Shepherd. He's among the great farm guard dogs I've had. He's only 1/4 GP, but many of the GP traits come through in him. The only negative trait is that he will occasionally heavily shed his fluffy undercoat, which requires hand removal so that it doesn't felt. Other than that extra maintenance step, I'm totally happy having him as part of my homestead.
 
Craig Dobbson
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I Love my Maremma. He's super smart, attentive and loving. He's great with kids and keeps us abreast about what's going on on the land. He practically talks. He tracks and will run down foxes and other predators. I've never seen him catch one but I've heard a few fox yelps long after they both have left my sight. He will often take off for an hour or so just to walk the property and check up on the farm critters. He doesn't eat nearly as much as I thought he would either. For such a large dog (roughly 90 lbs) he only eats a couple cups of food each day. A thirty pound bag of food lasts us months. He also eats quite a lot of raw meat from our slaughter/butchering processes. Even still.... not at all what you'd think a dog that size would need to eat to maintain his weight. That being said... he does spend a lot of time laying quietly on the driveway just keeping an eye out. And...He can jump up to head-level too.

so yea

Maremma Good dog! I don't know how well they would mix with a GP but they have so much in common that I can't imagine it not working out.

Good Luck
 
Bob Blackmer
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This is Michael from Polyface Farm in Virginia. He is an Anatolian/Akbash cross. We have one of his brothers here in Rhode Island. Shepard. I've also met Michael and can say they both have much lighter coats than Pyrenees, which is what all of our other dogs are. We really don't have to brush Shepard out in the spring like we do the other dogs. We still do because he seems to enjoy it. Also he personally eats quite a bit less than the other dogs, but this may just be him. Shepard kind of loses it over thunderstorms and I know Michael will spend the whole night during a storm running around and barking. Shepard seems more scared by them, and Michael, challenging of the big noises. This all may just be individual to the dog though and not a trait of the cross.
 
patrick canidae
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"the fact that I don't have any large predators to contend with so I don't need a giant dog."

The primary predator of livestock is domestic dogs. Your guard dog should be the biggest dog in the neighbor hood. Actually, bigger than a lost, roving dog from miles away or tossed from a car from miles away could theoretically be.

Bars hire huge bouncers because they seldom have to get physical. Intimidation gets a lot done with less blood. If your LGD has to kill another dog, you want it to pick up the stray german shepherd or boxer by the back of the neck, punch holes in its skull, crush its vertebrae, shake it like a rat, drop it, and have nary a scratch to show and get back to the flock no muss, no fuss.

Why piss around and re-invent an inferior and easily broken wheel. Get a mature dog bonded to the kind of stock you want to manage, shell out the cash for it, and be successful. Or if you want to wait the full two years to develop a mature, mentally and physically capable dog, get a puppy from real working parents living out with the kind of stock you have.

Kangals and Akbash have more manageable coats. I've had plenty of long coat dogs in the Great Lakes, Appalachian, and Ozarks regions do fine. Water tanks or ponds to cool off in, a little shade, and care to manage ecto-parasites are crucial.

I've never had a crippled heavy LGD unless it had a severe injury. Poor, grain based cheap dog foods without enough collagen, connective tissue, and gelatin and American fat dogs are the culprit more than the breeds. Migrating dogs with transhumance flocks don't get to stay in the gene pool if they can't keep up with the flock.
 
Natasha Lovell
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As a future homesteader/dairywoman, the most interesting Pyrenees type dog will be a dog with a family and/or personal record for success with small livestock. I have a couple thousand dollars wrapped up in genetics I've been carefully shaping the last 10 years, and one hour of a visiting domestic dog could wipe most if not all of that out. Let alone a cougar (if you don't think they don't hunt for sport in addition to food, let me introduce you to Kenagy Katahdins...), bear, coyote and the increasing threat of wolves. Bobcats and eagles can also take kids and lambs. I anticipate being in the market for between 2 and 5 depending on my predator load. My first one, I will be interested in ability with stock, staying home, and repelling threats. The subsequent ones I will become more selective on breed and health (hips, etc). Likely an adult if possible for the first one and then pups after that (a good adult can be $1000 or so).
I will be looking for purebred LGD breeds or crosses between nothing but LGD. For a general farm dog, a non-LGD cross can be fine, but I don't play Russian roulette with a couple thousand dollars of hard work! Should I be able to add another goat breed I have my eyes on, and dairy cows, then the stakes raise yet higher.

Pyrs seem to have a reputation, at least in my area, for being wanderers and hard to contain. Some of them simply not showing back up because they wandered so far. I've heard varying reports of great and awful on Anatolians, Kangals and Akbash, generally good reports of Maremma, and then you get into the less common and downright rare breeds (which ethically should be bred pure - at least the females - in order to preserve the breed...I breed rare breed goats...crossbreeding pure rare breed females makes me cry inside). Some of the less common Turkish and Eastern European breeds have also been bred as fighting dogs, and if you aren't careful, you wind up with an unstable, useless dog. You also see the LGD/nonLGD crosses from time to time...again, they are great for general farm and family dogs...but you are better off with a full LGD for your stock.
 
Jack Fluse
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I Love my Maremma. He's super smart, attentive and loving. He's great with kids and keeps us abreast about what's going on on the land. He practically talks. He tracks and will run down foxes and other predators. [..]


Seconded, we have two of them and they are absolutely awesome! They eat very little and yes they do quite often (especially at night take a round to check if everything is okay). They take their job (guarding) very serious, they will not look at their favorite food if there is some predator you won't even mention, as it can be 100 or so meters away.

Though they really need quite some space, they are always outside and do not care if it rains/snow whatever only heat they don't like that much and stay in the shadow. Even if it seems they sleep, they never really do and have always at least one ear checking the environment.

Indeed they very rarely fight, usually they drive predators away by barking (different tones depending on the predator) and as those are also not dump most of them return seldom as they know there are these lgds. Lately found a dead fox near but it was not clear why he died? Could have been just some poison? The dogs do not like hunter in addition, likely because of their dogs and drive them away.
 
John Weiland
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These three are all considered Anatolians except for the blue-collared brindle in the second photo which I think is a Plotthound or mix. Should be something between all of these posts and possibilities to meet your needs. They have been great for deterring foxes, coyotes, and the like....even scare off owls and other raptors. They also tend to keep visitors at the gate instead of helping themselves to the driveway access. The Plotty is the best rat-dog I've ever seen....will plunge his snout blindly into whatever debris is around and emerge victorious.
Yagmur-Boon.jpg
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tomas viajero
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I vote for Maremmas. We had a female to take care of our growing goat population... she never let us down. She chased off bears, foxes, coyotes and who knows what else. Smartest dog I've ever met.
 
Maja Gustavsson
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I'd say don't cross them. It's just such a gamble - there was an attempt a while back to cross Labradors and German Shepherds to establish a new breed, as both of them were excellent blind dogs. They repeatedly ended up with litters where the puppies were completely unsuitable for the task. You might as well go to a shelter, pick up a random mix breed, and hope for the best. Getting a good dog by crossing can be done, have been done and will be done in the future, but it is a lot of work and don't count on getting a good dog in just one generation.

Why not an Anatolian or something? There are plenty of breeds already specializing on guarding livestock.
 
Joanna Sheldon
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The advantage of Maremmas over some of the other breeds being discussed is that they were bred for and are still being used in highly populated areas, so they're used to keeping to a small range, and they're not likely to attack people. This is the primary reason I chose a Maremma for my little flock of sheep and goats in NY State. She was brilliant. The neighbor's dog, 500 yards away, had to ask her permission to get off his own porch. (That is to say Maria would bark at him when he looked like taking a stroll in our direction.) My farmlet was safe for the chickens as well as for the flock because she kept the place totally clear of foxes and coyotes. Slept on top of her straw bale house, instead of inside it, even when it snowed, so that she looked like part of the landscpe on mornings when there was a heavy fall of snow. I did have to teach her not to bark at night. I'd allow her three barks and then I'd shout from my bedroom window. She'd give a protest Wrf! and shut up. So I recommend keeping any of these dogs close when they're young so you can teach them not to get started with the entertainment barking. When I left my farm Maria moved to Wisconsin where she took the task of overseer with two males under her. Whipped those boys into shape. The older one, who'd become lazy, suddenly started to do his job, probably just to show off. And Maria disciplined the younger one when he got boisterous with the sheep. She wouldn't even let Canada Geese land on the pasture where her sheep were grazing. One in a million that dog -- but perhaps I shouldn't say that since so many others seem to have similar feelings about their own Maremmas. As for crossing the breeds -- I'm against it. You have no idea what you're going to get. Instead, read up on the breeds to decide which one best fits your circumstances, find people who seem to be breeding responsibly, take a look at the family trees of litters you're interested in back eight generations to make sure there's not too much line breeding, go and meet the parents if you can, ask the breeders to give you the email addresses of people who've bought dogs from them before--and then make your choice.
 
brandon gross
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Please noone freak out to much, I am a long time from getting a livestock guarding dog. I am not gonna buy dogs to start a breeding program, just to mess up bloodlines, or gamble with traits. I am more so interested in how others feel about there chosen breed rather mixxes or pure bloods, and breeds that work well with a warm, humid climate and small acreage.
Thanks for all the responses, some of you guys have some really beautiful animals.
 
Tristan Vitali
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I Love my Maremma. He's super smart, attentive and loving. He's great with kids and keeps us abreast about what's going on on the land. He practically talks. He tracks and will run down foxes and other predators. I've never seen him catch one but I've heard a few fox yelps long after they both have left my sight. He will often take off for an hour or so just to walk the property and check up on the farm critters. He doesn't eat nearly as much as I thought he would either. For such a large dog (roughly 90 lbs) he only eats a couple cups of food each day. A thirty pound bag of food lasts us months. He also eats quite a lot of raw meat from our slaughter/butchering processes. Even still.... not at all what you'd think a dog that size would need to eat to maintain his weight. That being said... he does spend a lot of time laying quietly on the driveway just keeping an eye out. And...He can jump up to head-level too.

so yea

Maremma Good dog! I don't know how well they would mix with a GP but they have so much in common that I can't imagine it not working out.

Good Luck


Craig - is your Maremma fixed? If not, we just might have an opportunity to find out about that GP/Maremma mix first-hand Our Penny is 3/4 Great Pyrenees, 1/4 Anatolian Shepard, and is now (as of this month) 2 years old. We originally planned to raise up a companion/partner for her with 6 months to a year of lag but the money was just never there.

Here's a vimeo of Penny when she was younger: https://vimeo.com/101984062
and a few more recent pictures: http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/40/32322#387384

Purple Moosage if this might be something you'd be interested in.
 
Corbin Shviets
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Hi Brandon
      Just signed up to this sight to tell you about the most Amazing dog I have ever seen and that I grew up with in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range just south of the Canadian Border in Western Washington. His name was Skag my Dad seen him as a puppy in somebody's yard as he was driving by and just had to get him. Anyways his Father was pure bred Pyrenees and the Mother was Saint Bernard/German Shepherd, but he looked like a pure bred Pyrenees. The Father had been put down because he supposedly killed a full grown Bull that had gotten in with the family's personal Hurd of Cattle. They told my dad a little about the Pyrenees breed and he thought the pup would be perfect for protecting me and my little sister growing up playing in endless miles of Forest and creek bottoms where there were lots of Cougars and Bears. He would follow me everywhere I went and was the cutest Puppy I've ever seen I would sneak him into my room to sleep with me until I got caught. His personality was amazing.
           Pros and Cons, pros 1.he barked at everything at all hours of the night with a deep loud but badass bark that gave me goosebumps. 2. He Shed enough to start up a coat factory, garbage bags full of hair when brushed. 3. He was a little bit too territorial when it came to other male dogs on our road. When he was barely 1 he decided he was going to go next door to fight the 185 lb. Dangerous Saint Bernard that was always on a chain and that we were told to stay far away from. Anyways he wasn't full grown and got his ass handed to him. But as soon as he felt he was big enough to show who was in charge still not yet in his prime decided to head back over and this time he nearly killed the Saint Bernard and would have if it weren't for my older brother bending a pipe over there heads. After that it's like the two of them became friends. The other time that pops into my head was when he was in his prime and some sketchy people from California moved in on the property next to ours and they had 3 retired fighting Pitt Bulls and two of them decided to show them selves on the Rd. In front of our house and all I remember is screaming and yelling because Skag had went out at a dead run to greet them with his hair sticking off his back 3" and his huge teeth showing and proceeded to throw these Pitt Bulls around like rag dolls. My Brother was closer then me but said Skag threw one from the center line of the Rd. All the way into the ditch. The owner said if we didn't pull him off that he was going to let his bitch out who supposedly was a killer anyways he let her out and Skag met her at a full run and had her down thrashing her around and I don't remember what happened but they stopped and I never seen those dogs again. Then there was the huge Rot up the Rd. that chased after my little sister on her bike and Skag Heard my sister screaming and then took off again the same way and the two of them met full blast Skag probably weighing less but that dog looked like it hit a brick wall and Skag was on top of it and had it bye the throat it took both my brothers to break it up as they were pulling as hard as they could to get him off, so hard they were dragging both Skag and the other dog that was down on it's side sliding accross the chip sealed rd.gasping for air. Pros 1. Amazing with all humans and kids. 2. Sweetest dog ever! 3.Very Handsome dog and Athletic and Graceful. Could keep up with my Brothers Hunting Lab running threw the woods and he was an amazing swimmer because of his webbed feet. 4. My Dad and Mom never worried a bit about us being out in the woods or up on the mountain when he was with us. When I was 13 my Dad dropped me and Skag off on the top of the mountain we lived on without a firearm and I slept over night in my sleeping bag under the stars in the middle of a clear-cut on a big rock the size of a small house. In the middle of the night Skag woke me up with the most ferocious bark I ever seen him do frothing at the mouth with his hair up on his back looking over the edge of the rock. He finally calmed down and the rest of the night he slept on me with his front leg over me and his head on my chest. This dog was like something out of a movie I will never forget him he lived until he was 14 when we had to put him to sleep, he died with his head on my lap and tears in his eyes. Sad day for a teenage boy. Everything I have said is the God honest truth 100% a true story. I think that people say when they breed the Pyrenees to other dogs that they mainly have the Pyrenees traits and I think it's because the Pyrenees Genes are more Superior than the other breeds and take over in the growth of the dog. Amazing breed, it's said there's nothing they won't stand up to and I have no doubt he would have died to protect our family. One more memory when my brother was sixteen his buddy threw a older guy in his 20s off the dock that was being a drunken ass and so the Sheriff shows up at our house to ask questions and it was a K9 unit, the Sheriff opens his door and Skag jumps up in the car over the Sheriffs lap and tries grabbing the German Shepherd. Luckily the Sheriff was a friend of the family and till this day 25 years later still talks about that day when I see him.
 
Joshua Parke
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my 2c
I've had a male GP, who wandered many miles all the time, and I had a female GP.  Being raised around a few different breeds of dogs, I feel that I can say the GP is kinda dumb. LOL

I've also had a maremma, and she is smart, and much more athletic than a GP.

Having been around both, I personally prefer the maremma over the GP.
 
stephen lowe
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Seems like the best tactic would be to visit people near by keeping livestock that youd like to keep and see what kind of dogs they have. Most of the LGDs around my neck of the woods seem to be not so much pure bred as practically bred. The ranchers keep a number of dogs and breed their best ones with the best ones the neighbors have, there's no strict adherence to any AKC type stuff and the resulting packs are amazingly diverse.  For the most part it seems like AKC breeds are for looks and for people who want a particular aesthetic. For practical working dogs it seems better to find a breeder who is working dogs in the way you'd like to and get a dog or puppy from them.
 
Todd Parr
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There are a number of studies showing why mixed breed dogs are healthier than pure breds.  Dan Blasco's site has links to lots of them.
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