Livestock Guard Dogs
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"Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”
- Orhan Pamuk
Livestock guardian dog, or LGD as it is commonly abbreviated, is a general term that encompasses a variety of dog breeds. These breeds all have one thing in common- they were bred to guard livestock. LGD are large breeds, have a strong work ethic, and are devoted to their charges. The most common in our area are Great Pyranees, Anatolian Shepherd, Maremma, and Akbash. There are several other breeds to look at- such as Kangal, Kuvasz, and Komondor- though they are less common in the United States.
An LGD is an investment in both time and money, but a well bred and well trained LGD is worth their weight in gold. Do not expect to simply toss a puppy in with your livestock and have all your predator problems disappear. To become effective guards they need training, they need to bond to their charges, and they need to mature both mentally and physically.
We live in an area with a high predator load; coyote, bobcat, bear, and mountain lion roam the Sans Bois. We are nestled into thousands of acres of wildlife management lands and huge stretches of private woodlands. These dogs are the first line of defense on the farm and bring me peace of mind. However, they know I am always here to back them up when needed. I couldn't imagine keeping the farm without these dogs.
Mochi is a female Great Pyrenees. She joined us at six months old in June of 2019. Mochi lives full time with the doe herd and the bond is obvious. When the goats head into the woods, she is right behind them. You can often find a sleeping pile of goats with a giant white fluffball in the middle. During kidding the does allow her to clean up both them and their kids. She is tolerant and gentle with kids, attentive, and devoted. During the day she follows the herd and naps whenever possible, at night she makes regular perimeter checks and you can hear her deep bark warding off the coyotes. Mochi is the boss dog of our LGD group.
Macaroni is a female Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd cross. She joined us in September 2022 at four months old. Macaroni's personality and temperament seems to be more influenced by her Anatolian heritage. She is not obnoxious but is more vocal than Mochi, serving as the main alarm system and is often the first to alert to any disturbance. Macaroni is still young but shows good instincts and work ethic. She will stay in the doe pen to work alongside Mochi.
Mudbug is a male Great Pyrenees. He came all the way from Louisiana to join us in August of 2022 at three months old. This boy has a more aloof and chill personality. He is wary of strangers but loves his mama! Mudbug stays in the main yard area during the day, but at night he is let out and works the perimeter. He is always happy to see his girls, Mochi and Macaroni, in the morning. But he gets worked up by evening and is ready to hit the woods. He is showing amazing instinct and drive, I am thankful to have him and can't wait to see him grow into himself.