What kind of Livestock Guard Dog?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aoxa, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I know a lot of people swear by the great pyrenees, but are there other breeds out there recommended for guarding chickens? The thing is, the great pyrenees are quite hard to find around here, so we were wondering what other kinds are suggested.

    We will be moving soon, and want to expand our flock while free ranging in a more rural place. We need a dog that will protect us from loss.

    Thanks for your suggestions!
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    There are lots of LGD breeds, but none of them are especially suited to guard chickens.

    http://www.lgd.org/

    Pyrs are popular because they are the most common, and usually the cheapest.
    They are also the most likely to be cross breeds so you really won't know what you're getting

    Unless your property is totally fenced, there is a good chance a TRUE LGD breed would wander off.

    Reality is, most any breed can be trained to NOT harm your chickens, and their territorial instincts will help keep predators away.

    Getting a true LGD breed JUST to "guard" birds doesn't always work any better than getting a mutt from a shelter
     
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens


    I already have two dogs that don't hurt my chickens, but they aren't big enough to interfere if a fox or something came after the chickens. I have seen my corgi mix get defensive with a cat, but I don't want him to try anything against something that could take him out.

    I will have an electric inground fence for my dogs, would that keep a LGD in? I had a friend that had one and it did not keep her husky in, so it might not work for a dog that is set on running. :/
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Huskies like to roam. It is in their nature.

    I think you could get many different types of breeds to serve as a guard dog for your chickens. You will have to train any dog not to chase the chickens, though. Most dogs know what to do if a fox, raccoon or something comes on your property.

    A Queensland Heeler (Blue Heeler or Red Heeler) is a good choice. They were bred for cattle herding. But I think many breeds, especially herding, hunting, and guarding breeds, could be trained for the job.
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens


    Do you think a Newfoundland dog could do the job?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I see you are in Canada. It might be good to have a dog that is adapted to the cold.

    Yes, a Newfoundland would be a good dog to have. They are supposed to be calm dogs, so hopefully it wouldn't be running around and scaring the chickens.
     
  7. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What you may get is a big dog that hangs around the house and keeps other critters from getting too close to the house. I wouldn't really expect a Newfie to do the job of LGD. That is a breed that is meant to be around people. They are bred for the water and are used for rescuing people out of the water. I also would never suggest a hunting dog, at least not a bird dog, to guard a flock. Probably your best bet for an LGD to guard your chickens would be an Anatolian Shepherd. They have often been trained for just that purpose. I would look for a breeder even if it means having one shipped to you. You would want to be assured that no matter which kind of LGD you get, it comes from working parents and that it has been started on it's training (hopefully with poultry). Just because the dog is of a certain breed, it does not in any way mean that it is a livestock guard dog. You might also find one from a rescue group! Good luck!! [​IMG]
     
  8. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe I should have explained a little bit...a lot of people who breed LGD''s and train them, especially for large herds, work to be sure that their dogs have focused on the herd as "their herd". If you were to get a puppy, say a Pyr, and the family fawns over the soft, fluffy puppy and loves on it every time they go outside, that puppy is very likely to decide that the family is it's "herd" and the puppy may hang around the house instead of staying with it's other herd. Their instinct to guard is just as strong but directed at a different target. Also, the other thing you want to keep in mind is the kind of LGD out there. The Pyr is a perimeter guard and they will walk and pace the fence line (yes, you will need fences!) and if there is ANYTHING out there making noise, they are going to bark, and bark, and bark..... In contrast, the Anatolian Shepherd is a guard that stays with the herd. They will often be found lying among their herd and around them while the Pyr will spend their day lying in a good vantage spot so they can watch their herd. Please note these two breeds work very well together as you get the perimeter and up close guarding at the same time. However, I would have to agree with Bear Foot Farm in that you would need to have fencing to keep the dog(s) in. Hope you find what you need!!![​IMG]
     
  9. Run-A-MuckRanch

    Run-A-MuckRanch Out Of The Brooder

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    (i was a member of this site over a year ago,then lost our home internet, and now have it back so i had to rejoin the group, as none of my old info musta been saved whenever the site changed...)

    I have personally had the Pyr. dogs (both purebred with papers)... one as a puppy and another aquired as a 3 year old... love love loved those dogs... sadly our puppy 2 weeks after getting him neutered had a major seisure and passed away( he was very unique in the fact that he not only would guard the animals, but anytime one of the birds would wonder off he would round them all up into a group and lead them back to their pen area--reminded me of Babe the talking pig). As for the 3 year old male, he came from a truely abusive situation... Sadly he became very aggressive and was unbreakable of this and had to be put down. Not only aggressive towards animals,but people as well.
    We have a 3/4 pyr. 1/4 collie cross... she is wonderful with the animals. We also have a Newfoundland St. Bernard cross... he is a god send with the animals as well...We also have a great dane (purebred with papers) puppy that we haven't introduced to the animals yet, as we just got him less than a week ago as a 7 month old bundle of energy... our 'mutt' is probably the best around the animals... she is 1/3 australia shepard, 1/3 blue tick, and 1/3 rat terrior... she is wonderful with all the animals and keeps all in line... we also have a year old australian shepard blue tick cross who is a bit hipper around 'smaller' animals... but does wonderful with the bigger ones. (pigs, goats, sheep, horses, cattle)...
    Yes we have a large variety of dogs... and each one has their own pros and cons... i think not only do the breeds, help, but as always the raising and training... if the dog is going to go after an animal it's not the animals fault... its the owner... dogs are only doing what natural to them....
    we have never lost an animal to a preditor.... even though they are out there... have seen and heard them... our dogs all do their best to protect our other animals. each has it's better quality and all seem to work together... i would so love to get another great pyr. and swear hands down on the wonderful job ours did...
    it does seem though as our smaller dogs (2) seem to be the vicious warning dogs... barking and what not to scare them... the larger 2 dogs seem to be the the patrollers and walk the property, do warning barks and then start to chase anything away... the 2 smaller dogs will also chase... when needed...

    sorry if this is soo confusing to read as i know it probably don't make sense...
    guess my point is.... it's not so important the breed of dog as the raising and training that is involved in the dog if you need/want it to guard your birds...
     
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Thanks for the info, that is very helpful. So really, any well trained breed of dog you had is good with them? I'm really not worried about that aspect of it (though maybe I should be..?) it's the defending against predators I'm worried about. Do I have to train them to do this part of it, or does it come naturally? I do plan on getting larger livestock in the future, so they would need to take care of both. I probably won't have many - maybe 2-3 goats on top of the chickens.
    Thanks, that makes sense :) That may be tough, but I understand the importance. We didn't plan for the dog to go indoors at any time. It will be sleeping in the barn with the chickens. This is all in the future talk. We are looking for a nice property with 5+ acres to expand and want it to be in a rural setting. I know that will mean more predators, so I just want to be prepared. I will fence it for sure. My two dogs now are runners :rolleyes: More like wanderers.. They always come back, but annoy the heck out of anyone they come across. They are very territorial. They protect the chickens, but I'm sure they would not stand a chance against any predator of size. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] If I could use my black one as a guard dog, I would. He would be perfect for it in every way.. except the size.. He's only 40 pounds. I wouldn't want to lose him. :/ He's a very important part of my life. Got him when I was 16. He's 7. Right now he only has to protect against stray cats. We don't have any ground predators (except raccoon at night, no issues with that) and maybe the occasional hawk. We don't have anything bigger than a cooper hawk in my area, and I was told there are not many losses to hawks or birds of pray. It's usually coyotes, raccoons, stray pets, foxes, or even large felines (bob cats, cougars, etc). in the country-side here.
     

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