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LIVE STOCK GUARDIAN BREEDS! Tell me more about them...

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

  
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Mr. Jake the- Beagle

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 9:45am PST 
I would like to know more live stock guardian breeds? Particularly breeds that can be used to guard free range cattle herds and flocks of sheep while they are out in pasture?

What's the difference between a "farm" dog and a "live stock guardian" or are they the same?

Thanks for answering big grin
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 11:37am PST 
Livestock guardian dogs and farm dogs are different. Farm dogs are meant to be "jack of all trades" around the farm. Always some herding (yes, even Standard Schnauzers) and some are highly focused on that one aspect, but minimally farm dogs herd, watch the flock, alert to visitors and interlopers, etc. Some farm dogs also rat, hunt, etc.

Livestock guardians are raised to be one of the flock. They are not herding dogs, but rather protectors. So they consider the flock their own, and will defend them to the death. UNLIKE farm dogs, they tend to be very independent and work on their own. What they do is not trained, but natural. They aren't housedogs and typically live outside with their flock. They are very good with warning barks, but also are pretty freaking serious when they need to be. They tend to have VERY high nerves and be ultra stable. This is because you don't want them racing off and away from their flock. The also tend to be, in comparison to other breeds and types, more serious or sober.

There are MANY flock guards out there, including a lot of breeds most have never heard of. You don't need to get exotic, though, and I wouldn't recommend it either. Some of these dogs can be terrifically hard. The most known flock guard of today is the Great Pyrenees, and they are a particularly level and chill flock guard. Rescue of them is ENTIRELY possible, which is cool because not only are you helping a dog, but you are getting a dog suited to task, as rescue will assess dogs coming in who might be better as flock dogs vs house dogs. Komondors/Komondorok are also flock guards, but the coat is sort of crazy laugh out loud, and their temperament can be tricky. Maremmas are very popular in the role and more available than one might think, and many of the breeders are totally focused on the working function. You can often obtain an older puppy raised with stock and started off on the right foot. Tibetan Mastiffs also are one easily haveable, but they are ultra serious and probably not for a novice. Anatolian Shepherds are yet another.

My personal advice is either a rescued Pyr or a Maremma.
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Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 12:48pm PST 
Where I live livestock breeds still do the work they were ment to do so when someone has them as a housepet it always surprises me. A friend of mine has a Pry and no matter how often I go over he always barks, growls and raises his tail at me.

One time I had to go over and let the dogs in for them, their husky was jumping up grabbing my clothes but I had my back against the wall because the Pry was looking at me. Their Pry is a duel pet/working dog, they have a house in town where he's depressed and acts out and they have an acerage in the boonies where he guards from coyotes and is apparently a gentle giant.

The Maremma is also in this area but I don't know anyone that has one as a pet and lots of people with horror stories about them.

I suppose one that had always been a housepet and never worked would be fine. And as always I'm sure even to working parents there's the odd one that doesn't have the drive for it.

But my friends have mentioned that they might have to make a decision about their Pry because he's so unhappy when they're in town.
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Mr. Jake the- Beagle

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 1:02pm PST 
Thanks tiller. Will keep that information for later.

Can you use these dogs to guard cattle as well as sheep? or are they only good for small animals.


Thanks for breaking down the difference between farm dog and live stock guardian.
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Mr. Jake the- Beagle

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 2:13pm PST 
Thanks for the input Jewel!

That's good to know. I was curious about this since if i ever decide to get livestock it's good to know breeds that can be used for this purpose.
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 2:48pm PST 
They can guard whatever they are raised with. Here's a BREEDER who can select and start a pup on a whole range of stock, and also mentor.

Even when not raised with stock, some dogs still just want to be outside guarding. That's why you often find a good prospect through rescue, as Pyr rescue gets dogs in who are a lot like Jewel is describing....not really "pets," not happy being that. My husband has friends of friends he catered for who had a rescued Pyr from transport, and rehomed because the dog kept breaking outside....that's where he wanted to be.

Pyrs, more than most flock guards, do have a distorted sense of property. They worked extremely large ranges in their original home in the Pyrenean mountains, so often with them if you don't contain them they may think your neighbors property is part of their range. Protocol with Pyrs, in fact, is to alert your neighbors that if they see your dog to call you, as they sometimes wander over to someone else's spread to guard THAT! So with them, often you are best using enclosed fencing, like diamond mesh, etc. Or do lots of boundary work and also make it clear to your neighbors these dogs don't bother stock and that all they have to do is call you.

If you wanted to start with a puppy, a lot of Maremma breeders focus on that specifically. They are extremely focus bred, and can be started to suit your situation smile
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 4:31pm PST 
I know a lady on another site who lived in Italy for a while and has had more than a few scary experiences with Maremma's doing their job. They have charged at her and her dogs and she had no doubt in her mind that they would have attacked had they been closer. She became so scared of these dogs that she ended up doing walks in and around her property and venturing further afield when the dogs were moved elsewhere during the winter months. Very serious dogs when doing their job.
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Mr. Jake the- Beagle

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 11:22am PST 
Wow Tiller that breeder seems amazing. I like that they have finished dogs as well as puppies and are a rescue. Hopefully when the times come to get livestock this place will still be around. the Maremma and Great Pry both sound like good candidates. A Live Stock Guardian sounds like a great way to protect my future investments when the time comes.

Tyler- Thanks for sharing. It's good to know the dog will do it's job of keeping strangers away from my flock or herd or team depending on which animals i choose to raise.

I wonder are they this way aobut guests too?
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Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 17, '13 7:57am PST 
Guests as in people you have over? Don't let your guests wander around the property by themselves.

When I was in high school my friend's family had sheep so they had BCs for herding and a mixed breed live stock guardian dog and I was scared to go from my parents' car dropping me off to the house because I knew that big white dog was somewhere watching me. The BCs were beside themselves with joy to see me but that big white dog would just appear and stare.
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Chance

How You Doin'?
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 17, '13 1:11pm PST 
The woman who cooks at the B&B we stay at in Montana said when she goes to her parents' ranch she has to stay in the car until they come out to get their livestock guardian dog. And she's a regular visitor.
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