Input on LGD Breeds?

Discussion in 'Guard Animals' started by Wonderland, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. Wonderland

    Wonderland Well-Known Member

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    We have two Pyrs which I love very much. They are AWESOME dogs. However, we will need to add another LGD sometime in the near-ish future. As much as I love the Pyrs, I think a different breed may be more well suited for this particular job.

    My Pyrs each currently live with my goats 24/7. Protecting the goats is their sole job, and they can't stand to be away from them. The new dog, however, probably won't be with one herd all the time. What s/he will be doing is to move into additional goat areas when they are occupied, which is not year round. For example, I have three goat pens going right now due to kidding season...unfortunately this leaves my bucks without a guard. But by winter, it will most likely just be bucks/does again, no extras. So during the times when extra areas are not occupied, this dog would be a perimeter worker or, possibly, go from working alone to teaming up with a Pyr. ( S/he would learn to work with the herd from a young age with my Pyr, of course, before being expected to do perimeters OR work solo.)

    Other unique things about the "job" would be that my extra goat areas are smaller than the areas that are most often in use. Pyrs like their space, so I was hoping there is a breed out there that doesn't like to roam as much and would be more content in smaller spaces. I'm not sure if such a one exists, but I'm hopeful.

    I would also love to know which breed is least likely to kill chickens. 😑

    So basically what I'm hoping to be able to find is a breed that can...

    1. Work a herd and/or perimeter
    2. Work as a team and/or solo
    3. Be content in smaller spaces
    4. Be comfortable with change (I've noticed my Pyrs are not)
    4. Maybe not kill my chickens, and therefore be able to work in their area.

    Any ideas or is that asking way too much of one breed/dog?
     
  2. Muleman

    Muleman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a Anatolian cross that worked out well. She is tall, big boned, but fairly thin. This allows her to squeeze through the bars in a cattle panel or simply jump them to move from one area to the other. The down side is you can not keep her in any fenced area except with electric fence, the up side is she can move between pastures at will, as needed. When she was a puppy she did puppy stuff like all dogs, now that she is a little older, she pays the chickens no mind. She never killed one as a puppy mind you, she just thought chasing was fun and had to be disciplined in that area.

    You may not want your new dog to be able to move from pasture to pasture like this, but if you do I would look at a thinner more athletic dog. Most big bulky dogs simply will not be able to go through fences or jump them to move between pastures. Also keep in mind Anatolian, Kangal, Akbash and several others are all American names given to these basically American breeds. I would offer that you not go by name as much as physical build and ability.
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    My Pyr doesn't roam and stays in a smallish area. She patrols outside the pens and patrols the house yard too. She is not fenced in at all. Other pyrs I've had would roam. It is really more a personality trait of the individual dog as much as a breed trait.
     
  4. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    I am still a fairly new user, and I've been using the folks here as a resource as I make my plans. They've been the best in terms of informing my research for LGDs. My unofficial poll of the majority here is that you're right about the Pyrs.

    But the personality of Cyngbaeld's dog raises some questions for me. So I'm going to throw them out there for selfish reasons, and if people respond maybe it will give you some ideas.

    1. Obviously every dog has his/her own personality, but is there a way to predict traits in Pyrs like Cyngbaeld's? Are the less dominant pups in a litter more likely to stay close or handle smaller enclosures? I'm guessing they wouldn't be used for breeding, and may not be able to hold off formidable threats, but are their other LGD instincts "watching, warning, herding away from danger, throwing their bodies at threats if needed" intact?

    2. Are the pens permanent-ish, as in will they be inaccessible to your 2 main Pyrs at night? If not, what about some of the more general all around farm breeds out there? Any good farm German Shepherds around your area? You could probably train them to hang with the goats during the day or when you aren't there to watch things. At night your Pyrs could take over and your GS could go inside. As for general farm dogs, I've been looking into it and I'm hoping to find a good farm raised German Shepherd line, and possibly a good Boerboel breeder.

    Lastly, as some of the others here have suggested to me in the event I want to stick with true LGD breeds, check out the Karakachans. One of the top threads in this forum is a great source so just head back to the thread list and it should be there.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Muleman

    Muleman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just to be clear with my earlier post. I do not care what breed you get, whether a real breed or a Americanized version of a real breed. The bottom line is. You could get a puppy from the best LGD sire and dam out there and if you take it home and do nothing with it, all you will have is a DOG. However, that is not to say all dogs if properly trained will be a good LGD. A Chihuahua will not make a good LGD no matter how much you train them. I know that is an extreme example, but you get the point. The physical build must match the task you are asking of them.

    Having one LGD will always be a compromise of size and speed. A good guard dog will be lean and quick. A good fighting dog will be muscular and stout. A single dog must try and fill both positions. Fast enough to patrol the entire area and possibly catch the predator, but muscular enough to kill it, or at least defend itself and your herd from it.

    I do not think there is any magic sign that you can look at in a puppy and KNOW with any certainly it will be a good LGD. You can look at the parents build and abilities as an indication, but that will not always be a certainly of the pups ability. Generally speaking a shy pup will be a shy dog. That can be a good thing, depending on your goal. But there again, that is not always a certainty, with some training and time spent a shy dog can become more assertive as well.

    I think the main problem people have is emotional attachment. You either have a pet that you will keep regardless of ability, or you have a guard dog that if it is unable to learn to do its job you cull. A guard dog can be a pet to some extent. But if there are not some requirements it must meet, then it is just a DOG. and you may as will be feeding another sheep, goat or whatever as to feed just another DOG.
     
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  6. Wonderland

    Wonderland Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for your input!

    To answer some questions/respond to a couple of things...

    My pens are permanent and I have to use electric to keep my Pyrs inside. I don't have any doubts either would climb a fence to protect goats in another area (and yep, they are adept climbers and diggers -- hence the electric), but unfortunately I live on a busy road and a pretty well populated area. I am not very concerned about them roaming, because when they have gotten out they've never gone far, but I *am* concerned about them getting in the road, bothering neighbors, etc. So a dog able to move from pen to pen isn't an option for that reason.

    As for a general farm dog, I do have one of those. She's a short haired Collie mix and is great around all the livestock. However, she's afraid of the goats and I wouldn't trust her to be able to defend against predators. Her job is more to protect me while I'm outside from any possible two-legged threats. :) She's inside when I'm in, out when I'm out.

    I'm definitely willing to train and willing to cull any dogs that don't work out. My current chicken eating Pyr gets a pass because he is the best LGD otherwise and frankly I value my goats more than my chickens. As long as the chickens stay out of his fence, they're fine. I figure when they fly into his area, that's their own fault. Now if he were making a point to escape to eat them, that would be a different story. Another reason he gets to stay is that we didn't have chickens when he was a puppy, so he never really had a chance to acclimate to them from a young age.

    I would not, however, tolerate chicken-killing in the new dog. S/he would have to be rehomed to a poultry-free farm.
     
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  7. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    The wandering and inability to tolerate smaller pens is one of the reasons I've been leaning away from the LGD breeds for my situation. It's one thing that can't really be trained. I've been told the LGDs know their job, and they're going to do it how see fit.

    I'm pretty serious about this stuff, because I've loved dogs since I was a kid. We never had a dog that couldn't fit into our lifestyle, and I believe everybody needs to do their best to pick the right dog, so this isn't a sales pitch. I've been doing a lot of researching on the Boerboel breed. Every dog has to be trained, every dog has his/her own personality, but the Boerboels in general seem to have what I'm looking for because of the size of my land and the population density of my region. I'm planning to check out US breeders, but sadly I'm not expecting to find someone who's breeding them as the farm/utility land-race they are. I really do believe that if we could get a decent breeding stock here, they would be a great small farm small herd dog, which is the situation most people getting into livestock now seem to be in. I think for the niche your new dog would fit into, a boerboel might cut it? If you look into it at all, let me know what you think.
     
  8. Muleman

    Muleman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If I am nit mistaken there is a member here that has one, can't remember just who? I want to say she lives down in the southeast somewhere, Georgia, Alabama maybe ?
     
  9. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7

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    It sounds as though you want a dog that will be satisfied within three (3) small pens, going from one to the other AND at times teaming with your Pyrs. However, you've also stated you want it to work your parameters as well. (I'm guessing you will have doggy doors in those small fences.) This is all quite a bit to expect of ONE dog, even an LGD.

    If I were in your shoes, I would get a general farm dog. One large and quick enough to deal with predators. One you can socialize with your Pyrs as well as the different goats (and fowl) you have in those separate pens. I actually had a "mix" (Shepherd,lab,chow) as well as a German Shepherd that were great at guarding the entire farm and protecting my goats/fowl. One really doesn't need an LGD to do this. What would be needed is an owner who knew how to train the dog chosen; and any large guard-type dog would work with quality training.
     
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  10. citxmech

    citxmech Well-Known Member

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    I've got a Kangal x Boerboel cross. She's a pretty good dog. Hell on predators. Great watch dog. Good guard dog (She will back down two-legged predators, but generally doesn't go overboard). She respects fenced boundaries and doesn't roam. Loves kids. She's more than a bit dominant and opinionated, however, so buyers beware - These breeds are not for the faint of heart or inexperienced.

    FWIW, I've seen pure Boerboels that'll watch stock, but I get the impression that this is not generally their best purpose as they're so people oriented.
     
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  11. citxmech

    citxmech Well-Known Member

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    Check out: http://www.olympicdogs.net
    Andrew breeds Boerboels and Boerboel mixes for general farm and LGD work.
     
  12. carlosinseattle

    carlosinseattle New Member

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    I'd love to meet your dog sometime so I can see what an example of Andrew's dogs are like.
     
  13. IrishCowgirl

    IrishCowgirl Active Member

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    I'm a new owner of LGDs, but mine are Anatolian/Maremma cross boys--sweet as sugar, but a tad slow to learn. One of them does show particular interest in chasing the chickens, but he never interacted with them before he came to our place. Just so long as you are good and firm when you tell them no, they should learn not to hurt chickens.
    Supposedly, Anatolians naturally will perimeter property--which I've noticed with both my boys. They respond well to change too because we moved them to three different pens in like the same 2 weeks and they did just fine.
    Btw, they're about 6 months old.