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Looking to get a dog for my parents homestead. Cold snowy winters, goats and chickens in the barnyard, Moose bear and deer to keep out of the yard. Dont want one that sheds terribly either. Must be intelligent and calm but fierce when needed. What should I look for as far as breeds go or cross breeds?
 

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We love our German Shepherd Dogs. Unfortunately, they do shed. A LOT! They train easily, are increadibly loyal, stay on the property, and will guard you with their life. Well socialized shepherds (this is very important) are safe around visitors and children as well. I can't stress enough early socialization. They need to be exposed to as many people, places, situations, and animals as possible. Any big dog who has not been well socialized is a risk. Mine do not bother livestock. They have been exposed to chickens, ducks, horses, goats, and cows. I've heard other people say they will kill poultry. Mine are exposed to them, and supervised around them from the day they are born, and they know it would displease me if they touched one. All of my shepherds have been very sensitive to my commands, and do not risk a scolding. This sensitivity means that they do not require a heavy hand. The only time I've ever had to smack one is when my border collie attacked him (she is possesive about toys and food), and he grabbed hold of her out of defence. I had to startle him into letting go. They have a double coat for winter protection, and don't seem to mind the weather. Mine stay in the house at night, because their primary job is to guard the family. If a livestock guard is a priority, a Great Pyrennes might be a better choice. I've never owned them, but have known many, and they have countless noble qualities as well. If you do consider a shepherd, you might look for one whose parents are OFA certified. If you can, inspect the pups grandsire and dam. If they are over 8 years old, and still displaying good movement, the hips of your pup will have a good chance of being sound. If you choose a large breed, remember to discuss puppy food with your breeder or vet. Too much protien can be detrimental to a large pups development.

There is nothing wrong with a mixed breed either. If you have livestock, consider testing the dogs prey drive with a ball or toy. Very high prey drive may be a problem with a dog who is not allowed to chase small animals.

Best of luck! A really good farm dog is a joy who will never be forgotten! Just thinking about it makes me want another puppy!
 

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Just check with the homeowners insurance company before acquiring any of the following: Chows, Dobermans, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers & Collies(regular not border collies). Tose breeds are all excluded from coverage for liability on our farmowners policy and if we chose to have one of those breeds we could lose our insurance. :eek:

I like Border collies or Australian shepards. None of my dogs bother the livestock including lots of poultry, people or other pets and I have a cocker, a brittany, a springer and 2 border collie/australian shepard crosses.
 

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:) I think you and your folks need to sit down with a very good and comprehensive dog book. Look at all of the livestock guardian breeds and other working breeds from all over the world. See what catches your eye. Then check them out on the net too and talk to some breeders. You are saying very cold and snowy..to me this indicates you need a dog with a decent coat. If it has hair, of course it's going to shed! Forgone conclusion.

It sounds like you need a dog of a good size....not necessarily one of the giant breeds but a good sized dog. There are dozens of breeds that fit this catagory.

Then invest in a good pup, from good breeders, who will be there for you and be prepared to put in the time to love and train the pup.


Good luck and have fun...LQ
 

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Once you figure out a good breed, look into rescues instead of getting a puppy! There are alot of dogs in breed rescues that are there due to no fault of there own. I know of one guy who had a large dog for several years and lots of time and money invested in the dog. A new girlfriend came around who didn't like the dog and the dog ended up in a rescue. :no: The dog had perfect manners, housebroke, etc. Puppies can damage property by chewing on everything or chasing the wrong animals. If your parents are older, they may appreciate a dog that has at least a few manners or knows a few basic commands. Much easier to teach a dog to leave the poultry or cats alone if it alreadys knows "no" or "leave it". Most breed rescues will work with you to to make sure that this is the type of dog that best fits your needs. They will also work very hard to make sure that the individual dog is a match personality wise.

There is alot of good information on www.akc.org about the different breeds. You can also find articles on buying a people or finding a breed rescue in your area. Good luck in your search!
 

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I'm a mutt fan.
Most breeders over-rate the value of purebred dogs & of the worth of various species.
Translation: You will pay out the @$$!
Dogs are like kids, train them to behave the way you want them to, don't let them train you. There are very few genetically "bad" kids nor dogs.
Mutts have the advantage of "hybrid vigor" (heterosis), a proven resistance to more of the infectious & inherited maladies our canine buddies are prone to. Translation: fewer vet bills!
I would try to stay within the working dog group, but thats just me. Any dog with shepherding/hunting tendencies will have a potential to "shepherd" ie; CHASE your livestock, or actively HUNT those of yours or your neighbors. You also have the advantage of a dog large enough for carting. (Make him work for his kibble.)
Go to the local pound/shelter, look in their eyes, you probably won't go home alone.
Good luck, :).
 

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Actually dogs with hair do not shed much. They have hair like ours that keeps growing. They do need some groming to keep them healthy. Some dogs that I know have hair and not fur are- Old English Sheepdogs, Poodles,& ****zu's.
 

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Josephine66 said:
Sorry, I have one so it's about time I learned how to spell it! Shih tzu. :eek:
A Shih Tzu is supposed to keep moose, BEAR, and deer out of the yard?! :haha:
It's a cute dog, but I never pegged one as a Livestock Guardian Dog.
All together now, ANATOLIAN SHEPARD DOG! Gentle around livestock, tough on varmits, and can handle a bear when needed. Shoot! They had one in Africa a couple of years ago that guarded goats--when a baboon tribe came through after the goats, the dog killed the Alpha male and the 2nd male. THAT is impressive! Those things have 6 inch canines. The dog survived, and still guards his goats. AND, shows no fear of baboons or cheetahs.
Anatolian Shepards don't shed like Pyrs, are a little sharper on varmit control, and can resist anything but love! A beautiful animal.
 

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Go with a good sized mutt, lab/shepard or any mutt will probaby work better than most "working breeds" which have been bred to conform to an appearance standard. Those registered dogs with long pedigrees usually have a longer list health and temperment problems.
Kirk
 

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I'm a big fan of mutts. Mixed breed dogs seem to be healthier & less prone to disease than pure-breeds.I have 3 pound puppies that are great dogs & I wouldn't trade them for any pure-bred dogs. :)
 

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I have to chime in about German Shepherds. I have a German hepherd girl I acquired from a neighbor a year or so ago - the neighbor was going to dump her at the pound. :rolleyes:

She is extraordinary! :D I've had hounds most of my life and I love hounds, they're my favorite dog ... but let's face it, the primary motivations for hounds are: 1. the nose :rolleyes: ; 2. goodies; 3. drooling and being entertaining. :D

This Shepherd girl, however, is smart as a whip, just a doggie genius. She's a city dog, so there's been difficulty teaching her that cows aren't monsters :rolleyes: etc., esp. given she's an older girl and probably ever saw a cow before her 7th-8th birthday.

Had she been raised with livestock, though, there isn't a doubt in my mind she'd be a brilliant livestock doggie. She's gentle, friendly, smart as the dickens, a fabulous communicator and just wonderful!

You would want to be careful, though, as American GSH have suffered a lot from breeding for conformation. Try to find working stock doggies, if you go this route.

Or find a nice rescue who is still young enough to easily grasp that cows and goats aren't big scary monsters. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussions about dog breeds are always funny. Because everybody with a strong opinion in favor of a particular breed invariably either has or had that breed of dog. They'll come up with all sorts of evidence and facts for what they're saying, but the bottom line is that they love that breed of dog because that is their dog. Everybody loves their own dog.

Which is why my advice is usually to go find a nice mutt at the pound. Take him home, live with him for a couple of weeks, do the work to get him trained and then I promise you that you will never regret your decision. That dog will be perfect; not because it's half shepherd or border collie, but because it's your dog.

Shelter dogs are free and desperate for your help. They usually have a death sentence hanging over their heads. If you've already decided that you need a dog around, take home a shelter dog and you'll never regret it.
 

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If your livestock have a serious threat from predators, then you need a serious dog!!

Anatolian Shepherd Dog


They were made for this! Don't have the really long hair like some of the other livestock guardian dog breeds but can take the cold just as well.

Check out http://www.lgd.org/


If, however, the threat to the livestock is not that serious then I would not recommend a guardian breed, since they are serious dogs!

Good Luck!
 

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Chow and Chow crosses can be dangerously unpredictable- they are the only breed that I dislike for temperment reasons.

I have a wonderful half Heeler/half Sheperd-cross that is almost exactly what you're looking for. I wouldn't give her up for anything! I did have a couple of purebred Heelers, but they are known for killing poultry- and mine did when I wasn't looking. Also if they don't have a job to do they'll find one for themselves, mine would round up the cattle and try to harrass my horses(they ignored them!).

My suggestion would be to look for a German Sheperd cross of some type.
 

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We had a spayed female Chow / German Shepherd cross that was the softest hearted most gentle dog in the universe.
 
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