Pros & Cons of Great Pyrenees for an LGD

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Trish44, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Trish44

    Trish44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,587
    47
    211
    Jul 25, 2011
    Winfield, KS
    Can those who have the Great Pyrenees for an LGD for their chickens tell me the pros & cons of this breed? I'm seriously considering getting a puppy & want to hear from people who have them first. We have had predator attacks on our birds a couple of times already in the few months I have had chickens & guineas & would love to have a dog to watch over them. We only have 10 acres in a rural area & there are neighbors surrounding us. We have problems with coyotes, raccoons, opposums, skunks, foxes, & occasionally a bobcat. Our neighbors also have chickens that free-range 24/7 & they are always losing them to predators. My chickens are shut up at night in a secure coop, but free-range during the day. We have a lot of outdoor cats, so the dog would have to tolerate those because they have a purpose here too & we have 2 very small dogs that are in the house most of the time, but come outside when I'm out. One of the questions I have is can this breed be taught to stay on the property & not roam all over? There are people around us on all sides with other livestock such as cattle, horses, & goats. Also what kind of shelter do they require? Can they stay in a regular dog house for shelter? Can they stay outside in the winter or do they have to be brought in the house? I was hoping the dog would be able to live outside most of the time. Can anyone give me some input, I would really appreciate it.
     
  2. LotsaChicken

    LotsaChicken Out Of The Brooder

    78
    0
    29
    Sep 22, 2011
    My first advise would be for you to consider adopting an adult instead of a puppy. Puppies are going to be puppies and you'll have to watch them really closely with your chickens until they are grown. There are lots of adult pyrs in rescues all over the country..just put in your state and the breed at petfinder.com and you're sure to find one. It seems to me sometimes that for every three pyrs born atleast one ends up in a shelter. The two you see in my profile pic were both adopted as adults from shelters and they are wonderful. They both were AKC registered. One reason so many of them end up in shelters is because they do roam. You would have to have a good fence to keep them on your property. I have 10 acres, fenced, and they do great on it. It's a myth that they have to live 24 hours with the animals they protect. That is true if you turn them out in a 400 acre field with a herd. You want them to stay with the sheep, or goats, and not become people oriented, but if, like mine, you want them protecting different animals and property, you train them differently. On a small farm like mine I want them protecting everything from the chicken to the cow to the house. It's about property for them not the actual animals. By raising a puppy that is going to live with sheep on a big operation you teach them that their boundaries are whereever those sheep are. Ranchers begin by putting them with a few sheep and then will move them from small pen to pen, gradually increasing the size of the enclosure as they get older. They never show the puppy any human attention. The puppy never believes it is a sheep, but it believes it belongs with them, that is it's property. This is why they stay with the sheep on big operations when they could walk away. You don't want a dog to behave like that on a small family farm like mine. I need my dogs to protect the chickens, cow, turkeys, cats, pigs, kids...everything within my fences and they do. Instead of the sheep being their boundary the fence lines are and everything within is their property. They are possesive, protective dogs. We walked them along our fences many times a day when they first came to live here, until they understood.

    My dogs live outside for the most part. They do have access to our barn at all times, that is completely enclosed with a floor, however they usually prefer to sleep outside. I have allowed mine inside, mostly so that my disabled daughter can spend some time with them. She just loves them, but they don't ever want to stay in for long. Daisy will stay in longer than Duke...Duke only wants to be in for a few minutes. I'm in SC, so it's pretty mild here. The summer is harder on them than the winter. It gets really hot here and that's tougher for them than our winters. Your big issue would be fencing. I would never recommend anyone get a Pyr without fences and microchipping. Way too many end up in shelters for that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  3. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    You say you have neighbors all around you. One big thing you have to consider with a Pyr is they bark. A lot. It's their guarding style. They like to let any potential predators know that they are on duty and to stay away, so they make their presence known. That is one of the reasons I chose Anatolian Shepherds instead of pyrs. If you do get on older rescue dog, find out why it was surrendered. Many LGDs end up not being so good with poultry. They bond with sheep, they don't really ever bond with chickens but will protect them anyway. A pyr can stay outside all winter with shelter, no problem.
     
  4. Mountain Man Jim

    Mountain Man Jim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good advice above, I concur. Though I never tested if Fluffy would mind sleeping outside ... That would way too much barking while I'm trying to sleep [​IMG]

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote:My GP mix could be trained to NOT bark all the time...I'd let her bark a few warning barks but never settle into a rhythm. Not necessary unless you have hoards of 'yotes prowling the perimeter of your property at all times.

    They like to dig holes....big ones...in which to lay in the summer in order to keep cool. They do much better outside than in because they are uncomfortable in a warm house. I agree with getting an older dog than a puppy...lots of time training a pup.
     
  6. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,375
    13
    153
    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    Fencing is a must. Not only will they often wander, but if a neighbor dog comes to visit, it may not go home. We all know that's a fact of country life, but neighbors still tend to get mad when their dog gets killed. Besides that oyrs are the worst barkers of the LGDs but like guineas, some people love it, some hate it. Last, consider the coat care. Some pyrs have. More wash n wear, some have a coat that needs more work. All pups have fluf, so you can't really tell. So be prepared for some coat care. Where are you located?
     
  7. Trish44

    Trish44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,587
    47
    211
    Jul 25, 2011
    Winfield, KS
    Thanks everyone for your input, it gives me a lot to think about. Maybe I should find another breed of dog for an LGD. I have been very drawn to the Great Pyrenees, I have seen them on TV working wth livestock & think they're beautiful dogs, but maybe they aren't what I need for my situation. So I guess I'm back to the drawing board on that score. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? We don't have fencing around the property for one thing & it's not feasible for us. We live in the Flint Hills in Kansas & our house is built into a hill. The driveway winds around the hill & comes up to the house. We used to have a fence at the other side of the property by the opposite road, but it got torn down when they worked on the road at one point. So any dog we have that stays outdoors will have to learn to stay on the property. As far as the barking, it would bother me probably as much or more than the neighbors. They all have dogs also & most of them multiple dogs, some of which do bark at night. But none of my close neighbors have dogs that leave their properties & come onto mine. We did have a problem with some from downhill that came over & caused property damage, but they are gone now. I would just like to have a dog that would run off the predators we have problems with & keep them away from the chickens. Another consideration is that I can't have a dog that attacks visitors when they come. I do have a 7 year old granddaughter that comes to visit & I will be selling eggs also, so any dog I get has to be able to let people come without attacking them or making them afraid. My granddaughter has a great dane, so she is used to big dogs, but I can't have one that is aggressive with humans.
     
  8. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    quite honestly, without fencing, no LGD breed is right for you. These dogs have thousands of years of breeding that teaches them to roam large areas protecting their stock. If not confined by fence, they will decide that their patrol area is MUCH larger than the 10 acres of acreage you wish for them to stay on. Most of them roam pretty bad unless confined with GOOD fences (usually electric is necessary to teach them to respect their fenced boundaries). Really....no breed can be trusted to stay on your 10 acres all the time and that's how dogs get into real trouble.
     
  9. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,375
    13
    153
    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    Quote:X2

    I hate invisible fencing for 99% of situations, BUT if you are in a place that the dog won't see other people going by, and such stimulus, it might work for you. Dogs in invisible fencing in suburbia are at high risk for developing aggression b/c they see all these people going by and get frustrated. Way out in the country, its less of a risk. So, as long as the dog will stay in it, that might be an option.

    Other breeds would be easier to train, but won't do true LGD duty. They may run off predators out of territoriality, but not because they are protecting your animals.
     
  10. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,981
    22
    141
    Aug 8, 2011
    you're not that far from us - you might try searching springfield.craigslist.org (springfield, MO)for "anatolian" or "chicken dog"... there was an anatolian listed on there who's guarding chickens - and if I recall, the dog is free!
    I think the folks may be moving from their farm, they're looking for homes for 3 LGDs. if we didn't already have a pair, I'd be looking at their dogs quite seriously.

    the anatolians aren't as barkish as the pyrs, and not as prone to roam, although they still dig and will climb fences (hot wire at the base and on top solves this). I think you'll still need a fence on your property line.

    let me know if you don't find the ad on craigslist, I may have saved the info.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by