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Good evening everyone,

I am looking for a guard dog to help me keep my free range chickens safe at night. I run a small herd of cattle, a couple of pigs a year, and some free range chickens. This is mostly for the consumption of my family. We had an Anatolian/Lab mix that was the best guard dog in the whole world, in my honest opinion. Unfortunately I think he may have wondered onto someone's property and was shot. I have not seen him in several months. He was gentle with all the birds, cattle, pigs and my three small children. I am looking for the same. I need something gentle for my kids but with a loud presence to keep coyotes and raccoons away at night. We live in central Texas and it gets HOT and muggy during the summer and not very cold in the winter. Any advice/breeder information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
 

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Good evening everyone,

I am looking for a guard dog to help me keep my free range chickens safe at night. I run a small herd of cattle, a couple of pigs a year, and some free range chickens. This is mostly for the consumption of my family. We had an Anatolian/Lab mix that was the best guard dog in the whole world, in my honest opinion. Unfortunately I think he may have wondered onto someone's property and was shot. I have not seen him in several months. He was gentle with all the birds, cattle, pigs and my three small children. I am looking for the same. I need something gentle for my kids but with a loud presence to keep coyotes and raccoons away at night. We live in central Texas and it gets HOT and muggy during the summer and not very cold in the winter. Any advice/breeder information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
Hello, I would suggest great Pyrenees. They are gentle and great guard dogs on the farm.
 

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I have a neighbor with two Pyrenees. One is 8 and she is pretty long in the tooth. The life expectency isn't typically as long as other breeds. Heavy thick coats and the heat does slow them down.
They will bark every night and all night. Great dogs for guarding and keeping his livestock safe but you had better be comfortable with the noise. They also tend to have their own ideas of what their territory is, and it will likely be more than your land.
 

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I had an Anatolian. she was awesome with everything.
bull headed, though.. she lived to almost 17 years.
since then I have Maremma LGD. great family dogs.
don't bark except when necessary . that can mean during the night. but if they are barking, they are doing their job.
they are a little head strong, too. but my female that I have now does obey quite well.
she doesn't wander like the neighbor's pyr's do.
the male I had claimed everything for a half mile all around as his domain. Not a bad thing if the neighbors don't mind.
we have a bear just across the field , down by the river,
the neighbor a mile away picked up seven wolves one night on his trail cam in his yard. and then we have all the usual nuisance predators.
I never locked my chickens up at night. they free ranged all day. nothing comes onto my acreage unnoticed by the dogs.
they do shed in the spring time. the long hair doesn't seem to bother them, as they are not the kind of dog that is constantly moving around..
the deer stay away from our gardens, too..
even when the dogs appear to be sleeping, they are on alert. they can smell a deer from a half mile away..
also we don't have any stray dogs or cats showing up anymore..
 

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And will bark all night......but not sure they would be good in Texas tho, with all that hair?
They do bark all night. They are primarily used for livestock. I prefer German Shepherd myself. You just have to train them not to kill your animals though Australian Shepherd is also an awesome livestock breed and are extremely friendly to family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone who responded. Pyrenees does fit the bill, however, I feel bad seeing them in our summer heat. temps that regularly get triple digits and a heat index that is sometimes 10-20 degrees above that. All of that hair! I don't know if I can do that.
 

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I had Anatolians when I lived in Tennessee. They were not barkers....they simply waited for whatever to enter the pasture and then either chase it away or killed it. They were great with people they knew, very stand-off-ish with strangers, and great with my grand kids. Never lost a goat kid, a lamb, a calf, or a chicken when I had them.
 

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My Pyrenees are miserable in Kentucky summers. They stop eating during the day and hide under the chicken coop. Though I'm sure they'd adapt to Texas... not my first choice for your environment. How many acres are you trying to cover? Will they be exclusively outside with the animals?
 

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There are many LGD breeds that work great. More importantly, try to find a pup from a line that is actually guarding livestock 24/7. (Open range is best). You don't want a dog that wants to hang around a house or the people in it. We had an Akbash a number of years ago that sat beside every ewe that went into labor, thundering across the fields at the slightest scent of an intruder.
 

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Probably best not to focus on getting a dog for your chickens but on one for the stock you have. Many if not most breeds will chase chickens until they learn not to. (My lab had to be taught. He has a prey drive and we have free-range ducks/geese/chickens/guineas that he would bother until I caught him, slapped him on the rump with a rubber hose while my son held the goose he had been bothering up next to him. This goose pecked him on the head; so with the hose, our scolding and "disturbed" emotions he recogized and that goose the deed was done! Not once has he chased any of the fowl again.)

My other canine is an LGD. I lucked out with the breed I chose, i.e. a Bulgarian Karakachan. Yes she has long hair and we live in an area where the summers are hot/humid; however, a good brushing 1-2 times a day during these times and a kiddie pool for her to play/stand in worked wonders. She has no prey drive; so her interest in the free-ranging fowl has been playful...brought her home at 8 weeks of age. Our place is smaller than most farms; so as she grew she was constantly around a variety of fowl as well as they dairy goats we had got her to guard. Now grown she even keeps flying predators away! (Funny to watch because we have a flock of guineas that live here and they can fly across the acreage and land right next to her without her even being concerned; but let anything unknown to her fly around and she is after it like a shot!)
 
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