Livestock Guardian Dog

Getting a puppy for Cash was 100% the right thing to do.

Cash has remained true to his job, never wavering from his commitment as a livestock guardian dog. He works so hard it’s been a challenge to get him to eat enough throughout the day since his dog food is kept in his house. Since the puppy came around, Cash is spending more time in his house and eating all of his meals (and gaining the much needed weight for winter.)

I watch them play endlessly, nap frequently and cuddle together to stay dry or warm. It’s adorable and emotional at the same time. Cash wasn’t raised like other puppies and many times we doubted that what we were doing was “right”. He spent endless amounts of hours, days alone. Our domestic dogs rejected him instantly since he liked to play too rough. We wanted to cuddle him and bring him in to the house so many times, feeling sorry for him and his loneliness. But we were committed to our goals of raising a good livestock gaurdian dog, and that we most certainly did.

Bagel has allowed Cash to be a puppy again but this time with the maturity and attitude he needs to be a good teacher and farm dog. I trust that Bagel will learn everything he needs to be equally as balanced and with the same work ethic and adorable personality we see so often in Cash.

I know we share this often but it’s true in saying: Cash is the best dog. We love him so much and there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing him laying low to the ground, as gentle as a giant dog can be, playing softly with his new puppy Bagel.

Livestock Guardian Dog · Uncategorized

Wayah, The Livestock Guardian Dog

Introducing our first and most important livestock investment: A 24 hour Livestock Guardian Dog security system. No batteries required.

We have named her Wayah “way-yah” Cherokee for Wolf. To further explain the unique name, she simply looks like a Wolf and is bred to “keep the wolves away.” If she is a Wolf then she is certainly hiding in sheeps clothing or lambs clothing at that. She currently has a very dense soft wool like fur. At 10 weeks old she stands taller than our smallest dog and is catching up quickly with our German Wirehair Pointer, Hex, who stands at 50 lbs and almost 36″.

Wayah was born 9/26/2015 in a shelter in Georgia. From what I have been told her breeder mother and father were dropped off at a high kill shelter. After being dropped off they discovered that the mother was pregnant. These, unfortunately, are some of the first animals to be destroyed since they lack the funds and space to raise their puppies. The kind folks at the Great Pyrenees Rescue of New England pulled the mother out of the shelter and put them into their rescue. They were transported from Georgia to New Hampshire, just two towns from our house.

From the American Kennel Club description:

General Appearance

The Great Pyrenees dog conveys the distinct impression of elegance and unsurpassed beauty combined with great overall size and majesty. He has a white or principally white coat that may contain markings of badger, gray, or varying shades of tan. He possesses a keen intelligence and a kindly, while regal, expression. Exhibiting a unique elegance of bearing and movement, his soundness and coordination show unmistakably the purpose for which he has been bred, the strenuous work of guarding the flocks in all kinds of weather on the steep mountain slopes of the Pyrenees.

Great Pyrenees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Other names:
Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Montañés del Pirineo
Gos de muntanya dels Pirineus
Chien des Pyrénées
Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées

Country of origin
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in North America, is a large breed of dog used as a livestock guardian dog. It should not be confused with the Pyrenean Mastiff.

The Great Pyrenees is a very old breed that has been used for hundreds of years by shepherds, including those of the Basque people, who inhabit parts of the region in and around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain.[2] One of the first descriptions of the breed dates from 1407, and from 1675 the breed was a favorite of The Grand Dauphin and other members of the French aristocracy.[3] By the early nineteenth century there was a thriving market for the dogs in mountain towns, from which they would be taken to other parts of France. The dog was developed to be agile in order to guard sheep on steep, mountainous slopes.[4]

As late as 1874 the breed was not completely standardized in appearance, with two major sub-types recorded, the Western and the Eastern.[5] They are related to several other large white European livestock guardian dogs (LGD), including the Italian Maremma Sheepdog, Kuvasz (Hungary), Akbash Dog (Turkey) and Polish Tatra or Polski Owczarek Podhalański, and somewhat less closely to the Newfoundland and St. Bernard. According to the Great Pyrenees Club of America, the Great Pyrenees is naturally nocturnal and aggressive with any predators that may harm its flock. However, the breed can typically be trusted with small, young, and helpless animals of any kind due to its natural guardian instinct.[6]

The Great Pyrenees breed has experienced a dramatic fall off in the number of U.S. AKC breed registrations from 2000 to 2010.[7] The breed was ranked at #45 in 2000 and by 2010 Great Pyrenees had dropped to #71. In 2013 the breed was ranked #69. Other large breeds in the same working group classification, Newfoundland and St. Bernard, have fared far better in maintaining their breed rankings. In 2010 Newfoundland and St. Bernard were ranked #44 and #45 respectively.


A Great Pyrenees guarding sheep
Males grow to 110–120 pounds (50–54 kg) and 27–32 inches (69–81 cm), while females reach 85–100 pounds (39–45 kg) and 25–29 inches (64–74 cm).[6] On average, their lifespan is 10 to 11 years.[8]

The weather resistant double coat consists of a long, flat, thick, outer coat of coarse hair, straight or slightly undulating, and lying over a dense, fine, woolly undercoat. The coat is more profuse about the neck and shoulders where it forms a ruff or mane, which is more pronounced in males so that it may fend off wolf attacks. The longer hair on the tail forms a plume. There is also feathering along the back of the front legs and along the back of the thighs, giving a “pantaloon” effect. The hair on the face and ears is both shorter and of finer texture.

The main coat color is white and can have varying shades of gray, red (rust), or tan around the face (including a full face mask), ears and sometimes on the body and tail. As Great Pyrenees mature, their coats grow thicker and the longer colored hair of the coat often fades. Sometimes a little light tan or lemon will appear later in life around the ears and face. Being a double-coated breed, the undercoat can also have color and the skin as well. The color of the nose and on the eye rims should be jet black.[9] Grey or tan markings that remain lend the French name, “blaireau”, (badger) which is a similar grizzled mixture color seen in the European badger. More recently, any color is correctly termed “Badger” or “Blaireau”.[10]

One singular characteristic of the Great Pyrenees is the unique double dew claws on each hind leg.[4]


In nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle (especially with children), and affectionate. While territorial and protective of its flock or family when necessary, its general demeanor is of composure and patience and loyalty. It is a strong willed, independent and reserved breed. It is also attentive, quite fearless and loyal to its duties. The Great Pyrenees’ size makes it an imposing guardian. A dog of this breed will patrol its perimeter and may wander away if left off its leash in an unenclosed space. The Great Pyrenees protects its flock by barking, and being nocturnal, tends to bark at night unless trained against such behavior.[4]

The Great Pyrenees can be slow to learn new commands, slow to obey, and somewhat stubborn to train. For this reason the breed is ranked #64 (out of 79 ranks covering 131 breeds) in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. Despite this relative stubbornness, it is quite unusual for the Great Pyrenees to become aggressive or turn on its master. It is wary of strangers if the person is not allowed in the house, but will settle down if the owner of the dog seems comfortable with the stranger. This dog was originally bred to be a livestock guard dog, and can still be found doing that job on farms and ranches.


When kept as a house pet, the Great Pyrenees’ coat needs brushing once or twice a month. The breed needs moderate exercise but tends to be somewhat lazy, especially in warm weather. They particularly enjoy cold weather and snow. Like similar breeds, some Great Pyrenees tend to drool, especially with exercise.[4]

Livestock Guardian Dog · Uncategorized

Livestock Guarding Dog Fact Sheet

Prepared by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service U.S. Department of Agriculture


Livestock guarding breeds originated in Europe and Asia, where they have been used for centuries to protect sheep from wolves and bears Americans have used guarding dogs since the mid-1970’s. They are large animals (80-120 pounds) and are usually all white or fawn colored with dark muzzles. Some of the more common breeds are Great Pyrenees (France), Komondor (Hungary), Akbash dog and Anatolian Shepherd (Turkey), and Maremma (Italy). Pyrenees and Akbash dogs are among the more successful breeds.

Unlike herding dogs, guarding dogs do not usually herd sheep. Acting independently of humans, guarding dogs stay with or near sheep most of the time and aggressively repel predators. Genetics and proper rearing both contribute to the makeup of a successful guarding dog.

Some guarding dogs do not adequately carry out their protective role. Failures can generally be attributed to improper rearing or acquiring the dog after it is too old for training. However, some dogs don’t work well despite having been reared properly. Research and surveys indicate that about three- fourths of trained dogs become good guardians. Knowing what a good guarding dog is and how to raise one correctly can help producers be sure they get the best possible service from their dogs

Key Points in Successfully Rearing a Guarding Dog

  • Select a suitable breed and reputable breeder. Rear pups singly from 8 weeks of age with sheep, minimizing human contact (probably the most critical ingredient for success ).
  • Monitor the dog and correct undesirable behaviors.
  • Encourage the dog to remain with or near the livestock.
  • Ensure the dog’s health and safety.
  • Manage the livestock in accordance with the dog’s age and experience (e.g., use smaller pastures while the dog is young and inexperienced).
  • Be patient and allow plenty of time to train your dog. Remember that a guarding dog may take 2 years or more to mature.

Potential Benefits and ProblemsWith Using Dogs

An Oregon sheep producer nearly eliminated coyote predation in her pasture flock of 50 ewes by adding a single guarding dog. In 6 years of using the dog, she lost only one lamb to coyotes. In contrast, coyotes and bobcats killed several sheep on her neighbors’ farms each year

Effective guarding dogs help livestock owners by:

  • Reducing predation on sheep,
  • Reducing labor (lessening the need for night corralling),
  • Alerting the owners to disturbances in the flock,
  • Protecting the family and ranch property, and
  • Allowing for more efficient use of pastures and potential expansion of the flock.

However, guarding dogs require an investment with no guarantee of a positive result. The dogs can become ill, be injured, or die prematurely. Some dogs roam away from the flock.

Guarding dogs are potentially aggressive; some dogs injure the stock or other animals, including pets, or confront unfamiliar people (e.g., hikers) who approach the sheep. Producers who use dogs should post signs to alert passers-by and escort visitors when near sheep

Guarding Dogs and Other Control Tools

The use of a guarding dog does not prevent the use of other predation-control methods. However, the other techniques must be compatible. The use of toxicants is not recommended where guarding dogs are working. Traps and snares can kill dogs if they are caught and not released in a reasonable period of time. As a precaution, dogs should be restrained, confined, or closely monitored if these methods are being used in close proximity

An Idaho sheep producer reduced coyote predation in his pas-ture flock of 200 ewes by adding a guarding dog to his operation. Prior to obtaining the dog, the producer lost an average of 12 lambs per year to coyotes. The use of the guarding dog, combined with other predation control methods, has resulted in a loss of only four lambs in the past 5 years.

Guarding dogs can also be helpful in range sheep operations However, many factors influence dog effectiveness. A Wyoming sheep rancher noted a significant reduction in coyote predation in his range flocks for the first 3 years he used guarding dogs. During that time, the coyote population continued to increase. In the fourth year, the producer began to see a decrease in his dogs effectiveness. Coyotes had become so numerous they were simply overwhelming the dogs. By the fifth year, his predation losses had returned to previous levels.

Recommendations for Producers

Guarding dogs will not solve all of a producer’s predation problems, but in many situations they are a useful tool. They can aid in reducing occasional predation and have worked well in both fenced pasture and herded range operations Their effectiveness can be enhanced by good livestock management and by eliminating persistent predators

Guarding dogs may not be suitable in very large pastures (several sections or larger) where sheep are widely scattered. At least two dogs are recommended for range operations or in large areas with more than several hundred sheep.