Farm Dog

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. I've been researching the LGD breeds and while they sound great I can't deal with the apparently ceaseless roaming (if I have to surround my land with impenetrable, unleapable, pallisade fences I wouldn't need a guard dog anyway) or the constant night barking for no practical purpose. Also the destructive digging...if the dog has its head in a hole somewhere it isn't guarding the farm, and I can get a poodle if I want my asparagus patch destroyed.
    I've got about 45 mostly wooded acres, two miles from the nearest neighbors. My house, barn, and stock (cattle and chickens and possibly a sheep someday) is on one side of the highway, where the majority of the land is, and there's a little strip of land across the highway on which I'd someday like to put some kind of fruit/veggie stand. Therefore I don't want a dog that feels it necessary to meet and greet and possibly terrify everyone who may stop to buy a tomato- or a dog who can't figure out how not to get run over when crossing the highway- or for that matter a dog who won't stay put on this side of the highway unless there's a specific need to cross the road. Also there's no sense in a dog feeling driven to rid the entire countryside for a ten mile radius of all wildlife- just keep them out of the pasture is all I ask. If my dog goes roaming onto the neighbors land, either their dogs will get it or they will very rightly shoot it. So I want a dog that will stay close to home, with the livestock.
    The main predators are bears, wolves, hawks, and the occasional wildcat or weasel...and of course deer trying to get at the grass and hay. This is a fairly remote area so the predatory wildlife is a serious concern, especially bears. Therefore I'm thinking of a largish dog, but most of the LGDs seem to be "giant" or "massive" breeds which means they need a ton of food and they don't have very long life expectancies.
    I'd prefer a dog in the 70-100 lb range.
    Crime and such is pretty minimal here, but since I live alone I would like to be notified when someone comes into the driveway and feel that the dog would be willing and able to protect the farm from the average drunken thug if necessary.
    The two LGD breeds I've been most interested in are the Anatolian Shepherd and the Tibetan Mastiff. I have friends who owned a TM, a spayed female, and possibly because of that it didn't roam noticibly despite miles of unfenced flatland. I thought it was a really great dog, loved the strong personality, not super large either- but I sure wouldn't have wanted to get on her wrong side. All the TM web sites I've looked at have emphasized the unstoppable roaming and the continual night barking...maybe she was just a freak.
    So any suggestions for a good farm dog for me? Please skip the usual LGD personality/dominance lecture, I'm well aware of the characteristics.
    Thanks.
     
  2. bulldinkie

    bulldinkie Well-Known Member

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    we have 40 acres here some fenced but I never had any of my dogs roam.I have 2 labs a black & yellow.They dont miss a thing very loyal to thier owners.Great dogs.salesman wont even get out of cars.The few that do try. Then he brought home a jack russell.what a dog.shes not afraid of anything.She circles the longhorns,horses,barks.Not afraid of anything...
     

  3. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

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    Well I know that a lot of people will disagree with me but invisible fencing has worked for me. First off it is the dog owners responsibility to keep their animals on their own property period. To me that was either keeping my dogs chained [did not want to do that] fence off an area and that would mean not having access to the entire property, or invisible fencing. We opted for invisible fencing and I am really happy with it. The new ones have different setting for the collars depending on how high of a jolt you need for a paticular dog. Training is the key here, people that say it doesny work did not train properly.

    It took us one day to install about 5 acres and my transmitter will fence up to 50 acres so next spring it will be expanded. Also if there is a break in the wire the charger will beep to let you know. The cost was about $400.00 and that was for 2 dog collars.

    Now for the dog question. I can not answer about the 2 breeds you posted about but I have Great Danes. Yes a Giant breed dog but if you buy from a reputable breeder and feed high quality food [I do not feed commercial dog food at all] there life expentancy can be 10-12 years. These dogs are not outside dogs though so if you are looking for a totally outside dog this is not the breed. If you want a family oriented dog that is good with children, allerts you when stangers are around this could be it. Danes where originally bred to hunt Boars.
    My dane will corral goats if they get out but will not hurt them. They are also around free range chickens and ducks and my rabbits. They do not shed a lot either. And believe me when you have dogs this size people take notice. I love this breed.

    Good luck in your dog search.
     
  4. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    As I read your post my 1st thought was of collies, (the lassie dogs) there are of course other types, But as far as I know all the collie breeds have the same basic way of doing things, a "hang back, watch and learn, If I don't know you, your not ok, I watch over and protect what I know is mine", way of thinking. Two or three, could handle most wild animals and several stray dogs at a time, most train well, but limit free time interaction between pups (up to about age 2) they can and will reinforce bad habits that they think are fun but will become problems if allowed to continue into adulthood.

    I think the best way to start working dogs is to get one, raise and train it, then add one, the older dog will help train the younger, because the older dog is less likely to ingnore you just to play with pup and puppy has a role model for good behavior. And I like to raise the first one in the house much like a child, it's own bed, dishes, etc, just like you make room in your life for a new child. I really belive that when they have the confidence of knowing they have a place to belong they regard their people as part of themselves. And they seem to pass some of this on to younger dogs even if the younger ones are never "house dogs"

    Over all I think the herding dogs like to interact with people and stay home the most.
     
  5. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I would recomend the border collies as well but I would recomend that if you own a dog, you're responsible for keeping it at home and you should consider a kennel. It's not when you're home that dogs wander, it's when you aren't at home and I don't know of any breed that is exempt from that rule.
     
  6. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    You may want to look into Old Time Farm Collies. They don't look like the traditional Lassie-type dogs but more like a cross between a border collie and an aussie. Some of them have those breeds in them to varying degrees but also other breeds like Enlish Shepherds too. I can get the email addys of some folks on some other lists that raise them if you're interested or you can look them up on the internet. They're supposed to be super dogs. I have never owned one but from what these folks claim, they do it all.

    DebF
     
  7. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    Your place sounds wonderful! If it were me, I'd field fence the whole thing. I just can't stand the thought of my dogs or livestock possibly getting out and either getting hurt or bothering others. It's not fool-proof against predators, but it would be mandatory for sheep. Our sheep can squeeze under a fence that is only 5 inches above the ground... I don't know of any dog that would not be tempted to wander at some point. We have a neighbor who fenced with New Zealand fencing. It's fine when the power is working and no big trees fall on it. But field fencing is a lot easier to "patch up" if you have some damage.
     
  8. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    I don't care if you have 1/2 acre or 200,000acre. Dogs should be controlled or contained. Dogs should never be allowed to run free. If you want to own dogs,you have to train them. You can't just get a dog,teach it to sit, roll over,etc, & turn it loose on your property. There is not a breed of dog that will do everything. If you can't TRAIN your dog, then you shouldn't own it.
     
  9. Slim

    Slim Member

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    We have Orginial Mountain Curs (Kemmer Cur). They look like Labs, but no tails. They are like the dog in the movie Old Yellar. You can take them hunting during the day or night. They will herd livestock and protect your animals and your homestead. they make a great all around dog. they weigh between 45 - 55 lbs. they are very smart and easy to train. Good luck, Slim
     
  10. Henny

    Henny Guest

    A couple of thoughts...
    Any dog will roam if given the opportunity. A guy built a house on the 10 acres across the road from us and he leaves his 2 black labs out all the time. For some reason he leaves the 3rd in a kennel. The dogs do "guard" the house, but they will also roam the neighborhood when something interests them. Last week the dogs saw me walking our dogs on our property and less than 5 minutes later they crossed 7 acres and were in my back yard marking the spot where my 12 lb rat terrier had peed. Its winter so the chickens are staying near their coop, but come Spring I expect to have problems with those dogs going after my chickens.

    If your land is next to a highway, then I would definitely fence the land. Your dog might be smart enough to avoid the highway vehicles, but unfortunately some drivers will swerve to hit your god. Once I was driving on a highway behind a truck and witnessed the truck swerve to intentionally hit a large dog that was crossing the highway. The dog was torn in half and as I slowed to avoid hitting the body parts the truck suddenly sped up -disappearing around a turn. I had nightmares about it for several months afterwards.

    Great Danes are wonderful dogs, but they have fairly short lives. If you get one I would recommend that you have it neutered at a young age because it will definitely increase its life span. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Unneutered Great Danes.
     
  11. Pops2

    Pops2 Well-Known Member

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    not all large breeds are short lived. among the ones that have longer lives are the major LGD breeds. the tibetan isn't properly an LGD it is more of an estate or home guard and will require more work to perform the way you want. many dogs will do what you want IF you take the time to train them properly.
    most of the old cur breeds were multi purpose but they tend to be heavily bred to a specific purpose now (mostly hunting but a few herding strains). some individual dogs still throw to the oldstyle & will do it all. off the top of my head the lacys are probably the main cur breed still bred to "do it all" but they are on the small side. all the other cur breeds are mostly hunting dogs & hunting dogs are hard to keep at home & must be dilligently trained to keep them from killing stuff.
    based on your wants i would go w/ a well bred LGD or two. the breeds i would consider depending on the look you want are Akhbash, Anatolian, Kangal & Pyr.
    also if bears are really a concern & if they are a concern for your neighbors as well, if they have a season in your state consider granting permission to a club to hunt them on your property(s). if your state allows dogs on them it will help the LGDs do their job since the bears will learn to run from all dogs. and when you grant the permission you can put in writing the rules like 3 days notice & your verbal okay before actually being there so you can make your preps. and if dogs are involved experienced stock broke dogs only, no training pups, only X amount of people on the property, every legal bear (& other predator) must be taken. for example you wouldn't want the big fun we had going on tuesday.
    about a dozen people including 5 kids & 25-30 dogs in 5 trucks. i don't think we ever had more than 12-15 dogs on the ground at any one time, and half or more of the dogs running (my pup included) were young dogs "in training" some of whom may not be stock broke & didn't stay w/ the pack. we treed a yearling who was barely legal for harvest. even if his mother hadn't charged the tree & helped him "get away" he would have been let go to get bigger & be hunted next year. his mother was a nice bear 250-300# and when she treed she would have been harvested but she had a cub from this year also, so ethically & legally she had to be let go. now in your situation it would have been in your best interest to harvest both the sow & yearling if she hadn't had the young cub.
    good & bad here, bad the bears are still there & could be a problem, the good they all now know barking dogs are bad news & will run from them.
     
  12. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When mature, Great Pyrnees do not eat much. 1-2 cups a day. Not a joke. I have a friend who has had two. They ate a bit when they were growing pups but once mature, their metabolism slowed to the point 1-2 cups a day was all they needed. I hate long hair, inability for them to stay on the property so they're not my preferred LGD...do Kangals roam?
     
  13. Cheribelle

    Cheribelle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My Pyr is a mixed breed, smaller, less hair. We love him. Nuetered, he stays home, and he does his barking job at night. He has a flock of chickens turkeys, and ducks to look after.
     
  14. netexan

    netexan Well-Known Member

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    I have 2 German Shepherds, both females and have had but a few minor instances of trouble and they're both only 16 months old. Mind you they are registered dogs out of Eupopean working dog bloodlines and not the show dog type lines that a lot of people have had trouble with. I have been giving them at least 1 hour of leash training a day since they were 4 months old and another hour of off leash training and I think that they're wonderful.
    I will breed my "baby girls" both of which are over 70 pounds now during their next cycle and I'm looking forward to another generation of loyal, intelligent, lovable, hard working dogs.
    JMO
     
  15. 4nTN

    4nTN Well-Known Member

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    I`ve had several breeds of dogs over the years,working,herding,companion and toy`s.Right now and for evermore I`ll have Australian Shepherds.
    My AS Dundee will be 18 years old in June.He has had weak hips since he was 16 but.I give him an aspirin and glucosamine.This is the ONLY thing that`s ever been wrong with him.AS are very hardy dogs,but look for working lines if you get one.I bought dundee for $50 he`s not AKC reg,but he is reg with the National Stock Dog Registry and with The Aussie Shep Club of America.You might even consider a rescued AS because a lot of people buy one and they are not the AS "type".
    The breed is unsurpassed as far as reading what thier humans need from them.I don`t even have to speak or move my hands when I want Dundee to go in a certain direction I only use my eyes..and though he`s special to me all of the breed responds in this way.They only need to be told something one time.As a dog trainer they are my fav breed to train as well.They are way more into pleasing you than the other herding breeds.
    My vote of for the Aussie Shepherd..here`s a pic of dundee....I hope

    [​IMG]
     
  16. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Only downside to having an Aussie is the excessive hair. Seriously, mother in law has 6 and my fiancee has two. She has agreed not to get anymore Aussies because we live in the city suburbs and it drives Mick the Aussie nuts guarding his yard. He's neutered but keeps losing weight because he guards so ferciously that he wastes his energy. My fiancee hates to do grooming but got the aussies only because her mother had them when she was growing up. The 2nd aussie is deaf/blind which is a serious issue with backyard breeders breeding Aussies with too much white.
     
  17. keljonma

    keljonma Well-Known Member

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    You may find this book helpful....
    "Storey's Working Animals Livestock Guardians: Using Dogs, Donkeys and Llamas to Protect Your Herd" by Janet Vorwald Dohner
     
  18. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    I am so happy to see this thread! I'm getting an Aussie next Friday! Now I can't wait! He's going to be trained to keep my free range chickens in our yard and away from the neighbors.

    He's mostly black with tan and white feet. I'm going to call him Rhonin.

    :) RedTartan
     
  19. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    We have an Aussie/Border Collie cross and I think he is the smartest dog I've known. I think the Aussie part damps down the Border hyperness but he does love to run. Together with our two Great Pyrenees and of course the "ranch pug" this place is invincible. Grizzly bears, wolves...they slink away in terror. :p .
     
  20. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm "Please then, preface your opinions properly." Supporter

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    You want a dog that will guard your livestock,but NOT bark at all strangers who show up to "buy tomatoes" but will also guard you from "drunken thugs"
    A dog that wont "roam" but will guard your 45 acres
    A dog that "wont cross the road unless it needs to" and
    "won't dig holes."

    There is NO SUCH DOG !!
    If you get ANY dog youre going to be disappointed with it