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Hello,

So we just recently lost 4 out of our 6 chickens to an unknown animal, therefore we are considering getting a guard dog for the livestock. We do not yet have our goats, we are currently building the barn, but hope to have around 6 before next spring and potentially some pigs (maybe some sheep instead of pigs, not 100% sure) We have seen a lot of information on Great Pyrenees but just spoke with a neighbor who mentioned Bernese Mountain dogs and also Great Pyrenees - Bernese Mountain dog mixes. Could anyone give us some insight or suggestions? As stated, we are on about 4 acres, so not huge but plenty of room, not sure if this would be an issue. We are also currently redoing all the fencing around the property as the previous homeowner(it was a foreclosure) tore pretty much all of it up or ruined it. We do have a black lab that is about 6 years old and is a protector of us (but not aggressive in anyway) but of course is not a livestock dog although she gets along perfectly with the chickens. We are planning to get a puppy so that we can raise and train it exactly how we like and need, would there be any issues with our current dog or not if we get a puppy?
Thank you so much and we REALLY appreciate all your advice!
-Alex and Aaron
 

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My understanding is that the pyr barks frequently. Four acres insn't much distance for nightime barking. Close neighbors? Back in IA, I used to have a neighbor across a 20 acre field, and I could still hear his dogs all night. Annoying.

On the other hand, I have a friend with 5 acres, and 2 pyrs. She has close neighbors, but apparently no one minds. Also, they haven't been barking when I've been at her place. YMMV???

You might want to look into the Spanish Mastiff, or the Pyrennean Mastiff (spell?). Cinco Deseos Ranch has considerable information on these two breeds. Big dogs, but sounds like a possible better fit for a small holding.
 

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I have an Anatolian Pyrenees cross that is on 5 acres now and she is doing fine so far. Does not seem to roam to far away from home and goes down with the pigs at night. We brought her home when she was a few months old and I penned her (16'x16') with a young boar that was about her same size. She lived with him for 2 months, before I started letting her out. She will come to the house some, but on her own will return to the pasture with the pigs frequently and at night. I understand the Pyrenees tend to try and enlarge their territory more than the Anatolian, but of course individual dogs very quite a bit.
 

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We got an Anatolian GP mix a couple of weeks ago, and though I can't know for sure yet, I think he's going to be a good dog for us. We have about 12 acres, about a dozen sheep and goats, some chickens and ducks. Our dog does roam the property some, but hasn't left it yet, and he always seems to end up back in the barnyard. He hasn't barked much and he's very good natured. He gets along with our three pet dogs, though he's a little overwhelmed when they are all with him. He doesn't hang out with the sheep and goats a lot, though he seems to be on alert when necessary.

A couple of nights ago, he was barking at something about 1:30 in the morning. We have a lot of deer around and can hear coyotes at night. It seems like he's turning into more of a farm dog than strictly a livestock dog, but since we will never have a lot of sheep out in distant fields, that works for us.
 

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Alexz, your situation is pretty much like mine, except that I already had the goats and barn built. I do have the place entirely fenced and it is only 6 acres; so I wanted a dog that would be content on such a small homestead. I, also, have a grown black labradore that the breed I got would need to get along with.

You can read about the breed I chose and the situations that occurred in raising a "puppy" as well as getting it socialized with everything here and familiar/respectful of our 6-acre boundaries. That thread is in this forum entitled, "Made my choice...a Bulgarian Karakachan." (Feel free to laugh at the mistakes I made during my pup's first year. I certainly did!)

As for barking, my lab barks more than she does; and she will not copy him. If she sees an intruder, she will bark/growl/howl (all similtaneously) as she charges. If she is just alerted to something at a distance, she may bark once or twice and howl a few times; then she is quiet.

What I've learned about this breed, my Karakachan specifically, is that she has not once tried to "broaden" her territory; but is content with where I told her the boundaries are. And though she started to play with a rooster once (and did eat a guinea keet once), she has been very respectful to all the fowl. I actually have a guinea running around now with 13 baby keets trailing after her. They were in the front yard this morning waiting for me to throw out the usual cracked grain (now with some added chick starter); and Valentina (my LGD) sat watching them...not once made a move in their direction. I've grown to love and respect this breed!
 

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All those breeds would do fine for your size spread but be aware the Berners need their people- they can be outside dogs (indeed they often prefer it) but they will be a homestead guardian vs livestock dog-
we have an anatolian- pyreenees and he is actually a homestead guardian not a livestock dog strictly- but he does assume control over all the farm and protects its inhabitants as a matter of course.
His bark is EXTREMELY loud though. and we are running into problems with the neighbors (to make matters worse we are close enough to a quaint, touristy town that there are people walking back and forth to it, sometimes drunk, and sometimes vagrant, so he barks at them at night as well)....
So the sound thing is def an issue.

The Pyreanan Mastiff is my dream dog as well, and the ranch mentioned above is an excellent excellent resource she has a great web page and probably could answer all your questions....


PS we have a Bernese mt dog as well, and he is actually more dominant than the LGD, which is fine but the LGD has that bit of an edge in terms of herding the livestock away from danger when he senses it, whereas the Berner just barks, also the LGD instinctively patrols at night whereas the Berner sleeps unless he hears something....
 
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