Livestock Guard Dogs -- UPDATE: puppy home! (pics)

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by farmergal, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. farmergal

    farmergal Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    Hi all,

    After struggling with foxes (and fearing raccoons) I'm considering getting an LGD (livestock guard dog). A friend will be selling 10-week-old puppies (that are now only a few days old) for $300 -- a Maremma/Anatolian/Great Pyr mix -- mostly Great Pyr. Papa's 125 pounds, Mama's 90.
    However, I'm worried that a 100-pound-dog might be a bit much for me to handle. I'm small, and weigh close to what Papa weighs! I'd also prefer a dog that could be part pet, part guard dog -- and Great Pyrs are notoriously bad off-leash, and prone to run away. (Plus, they shed a TON, and are known to bark a lot, even if there's no immediate threat to the poultry. We live in a rural area, but there are neighbors, and they'll already be putting up with our roosters.)
    So, what BYCers here have LGDs? What breed (or mix) are your dogs? Are there other dogs that might be smaller and more pet-like that could also spend nights out in the poultry yard, in a Dogloo next to the coop?

    Thanks for any help. I've been doing tons of research on the internet, but I'd love to hear from other BYCers because you guys are the best [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I'm right there with you. We would love to find a LGD that would be the right fit for our family, but so far, I haven't found a breed I think will work.
  3. Get a well breed Heeler pup and train the heck out of him. You will NEVER just find a breed of dog that will automatically protect you livestock. It really just does not work that way.
  4. purr

    purr Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    east freetown, ma
    I'm bumping this cause I want the answer too. only I'm going to add in hypo-allergenic to boot.
  5. Florida chick

    Florida chick Songster

    Jan 19, 2008
    Great Pyrenees Hands down! They are supposed to bark! Its what warns the intruders to stay away! Ours are perfect off leash, but we train all of our dogs like guard dogs would be< even the lil Welsh Corgi LOL
    Our Pyrenees are gorgeous and amazing with kids, and all animals. A sturdy fence is a must as ours can jump the 6 ft pasture when chasing a fox. [​IMG]
  6. Widget

    Widget Songster

    Sep 30, 2008
    Limington, Maine
    I own a great pyrenees. She is my second one and I absolutely love the breed. I have never had a problem with handling the larger breeds. Both my pyrs could walk on a leash made of dental floss without breaking it. Best bet is consistently train from day one. A 100 lb + dog is too big to be pulling it's owner down the road. Heck a 40 lb dog is too big.
    For a LGD it is usually a good idea to get one from a breeder that breeds for that ability. Just because it is a pyr, or any other LGD breed, doesn't mean it will make a great working dog.
    As for pyrs. They are big. They love to bark at such things as a grain of sand blowing several thousand miles away in the Sahara. They shed. They are often smarter than their owners or at least think they are. Most of the time they are right:). They are usually very gentle with anything that they don't think is a threat. If it is a threat they are fantastic defenders. I know if my pyrs do not like something or someone there is a reason for it and I had better listen. For their size they really don't eat that much. Mine only eats 2-3 cups of food a day.
    Could they do the job? Absolutely. Are they for everyone? Absolutely not. But for those who have been loved by one there isn't another breed out there that can compare to the great dog of the pyrenees.
  7. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    We have a Pyr, and your concerns are 100% valid: They bark, they will happily run off to the neighbor's house off-leash, they are big and they need lots and lots of socialization because they can be biters, more than other breeds.

    Today, my Pyr faithfully guarded us from other dogs, joggers, the mailman, a car he didn't like the looks of, a leaf, a squirrel, an airplane, the kitchen timer, a raindrop, and the other household dog (a Newfie) when she was getting uppity. He barks for about an hour every night after the sun goes down. Our fenced area for him is 80x70' and 6' stockade fencing--he's perfectly capable of breaking down anything less.

    Also, they are smart and can figure out, say, how every doorknob and deadbolt in your house works. This is not fun when you get locked out of your house by your dog. Nor is it a whole lot of fun when they are bored of their regular training and decide they don't feel like listening to you. They are very independent and will only do what you ask if THEY see there is a point to it. They are really not impressed by the tough-guy antics that lots of trainers use to exact obedience. You have to be kinda creative with it.

    After much MUCH patient training, he is now a perfectly competent LGD and herd-manager of any livestock, as well as a loving pet. But it took time and a lot of work and a lot more patience. It's not automatic. They will definitely take care of predators though. My Pyr has saved the flock from hawks, opossums, coyotes, snakes, rats, fisher cats, stray dogs, feral cats, etc. He's a treasure and a joy. But it took a lot of training and a long time to get there.
  8. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I love all 4 of my adult LGD's and they are gentle enough for the grandkids to play with and pet. Also they are fierce defenders of their goats also. When I sell a goat I have to bring it out of the goat pen or Beauty has a fit and will go after whomever has it. she has been known to jump the fence to chase off a critter or coyote. I have 2 females and 2 males. The females stay with the herd always...1 patrols as 1 stays with the girls. The males stay with the bcuks and they do tend to wander if let loose. I had to go 1 1/2 miles to get them as they caught a scent and was checking it out. They will stay home better if neutered, mine arent yet neutered or spayed. I just got 6 new puppies a few days ago and its going to be really hard to let them go.
    I love mine and yes they bark at night but just their way of warning other critters to stay away ...thats their job. I have had them go after a snake to anything else and God forbid something threaten me as my girls will tear them up...very protective and my grandkids play with them.
    My girls know when its time for work and time for play...mine even fetch...Got tho love them LGD's Mine are Great Pyrenees/ Anatolian mix and well worth what they cost me...
  9. farmergal

    farmergal Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    One question to the Great Pyr owners: the seller of the pups said "these dogs are working dogs, not pets." Do you find that they can be both? From the pictures, it looks like the LGDs can do double duty... what do you think?

    & if anyone has smaller LGDs or different breeds, I'd still love to hear from you!

    Thanks so much to everyone who responded... I loved the pics... so adorable [​IMG]
  10. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Well, believe it or not, we have a beagle mix that serves as a LGD. She will keep anything from getting too close to the house or chickens coops. She has even taken on coyotes!! She does not pay any attention to the chickens unless they get too close to her food! If she could fly we would have no trouble at all. Now the only livestock we have atm is chickens, guineas, ducks, one piggy, and horses, but she takes care of them all. If she weren't here we would have so many problems!! The only thing I have lost birds to is hawks and my shepherd pup.

    ETA: She is about knee high to me and around 30 lbs.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2008

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