View Full Version : Livestock Guard Dog?

Apr. 15, 2011, 10:32 AM
The coyotes appear to be getting bolder around here lately. Last night, the horses were all riled and one of the them (the oldest one and the smallest) tends to wander off by himself. My poor QH was very upset, kept trying to keep everyone together. We walked the pasture, but couldn't see anything.

I'm down to two dogs (lost two last year) and was planning on another collie, but I'm thinking, as the horses get older, and because I seem to have lost another cat, that maybe it's time to think about a livestock guard dog.

I do live in a community, but am surrounded on three sides by cattle farms (100 acres + each), so I need a breed that will be friendly to my dogs and cats and not overly aggressive to neighbors and small children if they happen to wander on my property. I have three and four board fencing and livestock fencing across the back of the property. Also I need a breed that I can train to fences, we have about 2 miles of fence, too much for invisible fence. Winter is really not a problem, cats sleep in the garage on their heated mat, horses are in the barn. It's spring summer and fall when I have the problems at night.

I'd prefer a rescue, if I can find one that will work out well for us. Any suggestions? Much as I loved my collie, I don't think another is a good solution.

Apr. 15, 2011, 11:35 AM
I just adopted a Great Pyr cross from the SPCA -- still a puppy so no report for many months on how she protects

Apr. 15, 2011, 12:07 PM
What about getting a coyote-killing donkey?

Apr. 15, 2011, 12:33 PM
Get a Komondor! They are just so amazing looking and great livestock guards.

I just love this picture of one jumping!


Apr. 15, 2011, 12:45 PM
I visited a miniature horse breeding establishment several years ago, as part of a trip to Rolex. When we drove up, two of the most intense looking dogs I had seen approached our car. They were Anatolian Shepherds; large tan dogs whose ancestors protected sheep. The owner told them that we were OK and they went about their business, which we learned was to protect the foals and even the adult minis from predators.

The farm owner told us that they had had problems in the past, but not since the dogs arrived.

I don't know if they are difficult to train, but they were amazing animals and certainly large enough to go after a coyote. And win.

Apr. 15, 2011, 12:51 PM
I don't want any more equids, so a donkey is out. I'm also out of stalls and with the high winds we get here sometimes, I'm not willing to leave a donkey out 24/7. We've had fences snapped off at the posts (5" oak posts) several times by straight line winds.

Apr. 15, 2011, 12:55 PM
As a loving Great Pyrennes owner...board fence and training will not keep them home...sometimes, but not always!!! I'm lucky...ours does not dig or jump, but is never (since chasing a coyote in front of an 18 wheeler and ending up 8 miles away the next day) out of his yard without me in close attendance. And he BARKS!!!! A LOT!!! at night!! I'd go with guardian donkeys. Cute and containable.

Ridge Runner
Apr. 15, 2011, 12:59 PM
Get a Komondor! They are just so amazing looking and great livestock guards.

I just love this picture of one jumping!


Ouch..that dog looks like an alien!

Apr. 15, 2011, 01:16 PM
Barking at night not good. Don't want to completely tick off my neighbors! I have a lot of road frontage (private road) which of course, is where the horses hang under the trees. I need a dog I can leave out with them at night. I don't like llamas particularly either (although I'd love a couple of alpacas, but they're coyote bait around here.)

Apr. 15, 2011, 01:18 PM
Our neighbor has Great Pyr to keep her large goat herd safe, but they roam. Badly. We keep a heeler here at the house. They don't roam, and a couple of times now I have heard her roust coyotes that get too close to the house. I would suggest a pair of dogs however, as a pack of coyotes might challenge a single dog, but not a pair.

Apr. 15, 2011, 01:24 PM
I have a friend of a friend that needs to rehome a Great Pyreneese and a German Shepard pair that are currently guard/farm dogs on a horse farm. I do not know these dogs personally, but trust the judgement of the person that sent me the email about them.

They are outside dogs and guard as a team, but they are also wonderful pets and good around children.

They are in Ocala, if you would be interested, post here and I will send you a PM with the email address of the owner. The current owners have to relocate to Miami and cannot take the dogs with them.

Apr. 15, 2011, 02:43 PM
Munchkins Mom, I don't know if I'm up for 2 big dogs. If they are females, I might consider it especially if someone can drive them part of the way, they are up on shots, don't wander and are spayed and heart worm tested. I already have two males (both dumped on my farm, a lab and a hound mix) and an adult male just is not going to work. Oh, and must like cats. Send me a PM if it's a possible fit.

Apr. 15, 2011, 03:10 PM
I too have experience with Great Pyrs and loved their personalities and how well they got along with my cats and horses, BUT the male especially wandered - even running through my invisible fence. I would come home from work to find him laying at the end of the driveway and take off his collar and back he would go, but he ended up being hit by a car. . . They did bark at night as well - i was a heavy sleeper, so they never bothered me but finally had to put them up at night because of the nearest neighbor complaining, so that would also defeat the purpose of having them. My current border collie/Aussie cross is wonderful, and surprisingly good at killing bunnies and ground squirrels, but I don't know how well she keeps coyotes away ?

Apr. 15, 2011, 08:42 PM
Munchkins Mom, I don't know if I'm up for 2 big dogs. If they are females, I might consider it especially if someone can drive them part of the way, they are up on shots, don't wander and are spayed and heart worm tested. I already have two males (both dumped on my farm, a lab and a hound mix) and an adult male just is not going to work. Oh, and must like cats. Send me a PM if it's a possible fit.

PM sent. I think they are female, not 100% sure, if you email the owner directly, she should be able to provide the information.

I'm sure we could work out transportation if needed.

Miss Aria
Apr. 16, 2011, 03:49 PM
Look into the Caucasian Ovcharka [Caucasian Mountain Dog]; they are a rare breed that are wonderful livestock protection dogs and completely devoted to their owners. You do have to be careful which breeder you buy one from [some breeders condone bad temperaments] but if you find the right one, these dogs are worth their weight in gold. Occasionally there will be one in rescue that needs a home, too.

Apr. 17, 2011, 12:02 AM
What about getting a coyote-killing donkey?

This would be my idea. Donks & mules are coyote killing machines!!

Ditto for strange dogs as well, so be aware.

And there are plenty of burros (a donk by any other name...) to adopt via the BLM's program.

PS Just saw your post where you don't want a donk. A donk is going to be more adapt at being outside in bad weather than a dog, and if a dog is IN, it can't chase coyotes...so?

BTW, I live in the middle of coyote heaven, and I've never had one bother my horses. Mini's maybe -- new-born foals, maybe...but they are NOT going to take on a full-grown horse, even one by himself, so if you have a herd of full grown animals, you really don't have to worry.

Apr. 17, 2011, 12:12 AM
LGDs won't be contained by fences. They are supposed to be bonded to the animals they guard, and that is what is supposed to keep them from wandering. They're not very effective if they're not actually WITH the animals they are guarding 24/7. Of the LGDs the Pyrs are supposed to be the mildest mannered. I would not get an Anatolian or an Ovcharka to guard livestock if there are many people living nearby.

I have never heard of anyone using LGDs to guard horses but have encountered quite a few that guard sheep (I have hobby-herding Border Collies). In general I've been given to understand that horses + dogs = bad idea, but that may be specific to herding dogs that are more likely to harass horses and therefore get kicked in the head. You'd probably have the best luck if you got a pup that was bonded to horses (or that you could raise to be bonded to your horses). A random rescued LGD may or may not actually be guardy, and one that was raised to guard sheep or goats may not transfer his or her loyalties to horses, especially since horses are usually hostile to dogs. In fact, given the coyote problems you'd been having I wonder how much the horses would WANT a dog living with them anyway.

People with sheep are often advised to get a mule or donkey to guard their sheep, since equids tend to be hostile to dogs and aim when they kick. In general I think many dog folks would assume that a herd of horses would be able to protect themselves from coyotes.

Apr. 17, 2011, 12:25 AM
Kangals and Anatolian Shepherds are EXCELLENT livestock guarding dogs. They are used extensively by farmers in Namibia for guarding herds of cattle and goats from cheetahs and other predators. List of American Kangal breeders: http://www.kangalclub.com/KDCA_Breeders-List.html

Apr. 17, 2011, 08:06 AM
Our Great Pyr has been great! He has been contained in our 10 acres of Invisible Fence and board fencing, and has never wandered off. He does bark at night but if he is put in a stall he just stays put and sleep. He is great with our kids, horses, cats, dogs, etc. I would get another one in a minute. The bark is the deterrent for coyotes.

Apr. 17, 2011, 10:49 AM
Get another collie

~loving collie owner.

Actually one of our girls is a doberman x BC cross we adopted and is a FANTASTIC guard dog. I've seen grown men back away from the friendliest & wimpiest dog in the entire world (ask me about the time she hid from the satellite installer...).

Coyotes that are hungry, angry, defensive or brave WILL kill dogs. We've had coyotes around here attack when people are out walking their dogS.

Our local hunt club started paying out a prize for skins, that may be a better solution :S.

Go Fish
Apr. 17, 2011, 12:25 PM
I mentioned this on another thread, but maybe consider a Bouvier. Very territorial - they don't tend to wander. I have a friend with an assortment of cattle, sheep, goats and fowl and there are plenty of coyotes around her place. She hasn't lost a single animal. Hers "patrol" at night. They do require coat maintenance, though. They come from the herding group and have been used for livestock herding/guarding and police work for ages.

Would a Rottie work? I've seen a lot of them on farms, and would assume they could kick a coyote's ass.

Someone on this board has Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I've admired the breed for a long time, but they do require a lot of exercise and I don't know if they wander or not. They were originally bred to hunt down lions, so could probably take out a coyote in a heartbeat. But that wouldn't help if they won't stay on your farm.

My Corgis, believe it or not, chase off coyotes. But they go after a single coyote as a pair. For some reason, the local coyote is terrified of my pot-bellied pig. I think it's all the screaming he does when he sees one. The poor coyote can't figure out what the hell all that racket is about.

Apr. 17, 2011, 10:57 PM
I drive by two Great Pyr every day on the way out to the barn. They are out with a bunch of goats and they are always quietly on alert. One day after a freak snow storm I drove out at there they were, sitting in the snow, doing their job. Sounds like some are prone to wandering but these two certainly seemed to get their jobs.

Apr. 18, 2011, 12:33 AM
Someone on this board has Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I've admired the breed for a long time, but they do require a lot of exercise and I don't know if they wander or not.

I have a friend who raises Rhodesian Ridgebacks. GREAT dogs, but they are bred to hunt, not guard livestock.

Plus they absolutely HATE cold weather and are not well adapted for it.

I'm telling you, coyotes won't bother horses! Here out west you see all sorts of guard dogs for sheep & goats, but never for horses or cattle. They do just fine on their own.

Coyotes routinely cross my pasture (usually in pairs) or hang around and hunt the ground squirrlels. The horses don't even raise their heads when they come through....although the mooses scare the living crap o/o of them!

Piney Woods
Apr. 18, 2011, 12:34 AM
I had a Great Pyr and I loved him but he slung slobber all over me too often and no fence could hold him and he barked at night. Maybe I had an unusual one but never again!
Anatolian Shepherds are great horse farm dogs. We have coyotes, prowlers and packs of wild dogs but we never lost a cat, dog, foal or calf when we had an Anatolian. I have had two of them, one after the other. The have stayed within my 40 acre farm unless walking with me but they do not do well loose on a trail ride as they get distracted. I have always had a Lab as a companion, several cats, yard chickens and boarders coming and going. Mine loved the cats and chickens and never chased them. They MUST be socialized properly when young and you should get your AS from a breeder who brings them up with farm animals to guard. Mine got along famously with my herd of 12-15 horses, going out to pasture with them during the day and hanging around the barn when they were in at night. My horses chase stray dogs, hunting dogs and even the boarder's dogs that come into the fields but the AS is careful not to make eye contact and be a threatening predator so the horses grow acustomed to having the dog hanging out with the herd.
Their habits are interesting as they don't patrol in the manner of a guard dog but rather they move from resting place to resting place every 30-60 minutes, appearing to wander a different route each time, smelling things looking around but not looking intense. They don't bark much unless danger is close. They will offer an occasional quiet, low pitched "woof" in answer to other barking dogs or when they sense a predator coming near. If danger comes closer, the bark becomes higher pitched and more often, to warn the dangerous predator that there is a guardian dog. Usually this is enough but the AS is a fearless protector in a pinch. One of mine saved my female lab from an attacking pitbull by neutralizing the pit without biting or bloodletting.
I did not have any trouble with mine biting anyone but they both considered me one of their charges to protect and they were both good judges of human character, which I appreciated more than once.
Some important things to know about the AS and probably most LGDs. They get along best with dog companions of the opposite sex, although mine got along with all of my boarder's dogs except one that kept wanting to be dominant. Even this only elicited an occasional growl that brought the other dog into compliance. Because they are big dogs and live outside, they do not live as long as little dogs but they are very healthy while they live. They will never obey the way a lab or poodle will because that is not their purpose in life but they will sit, stay, come, walk on a leash and love to ride in the car, which is good because they are too big to lift into the truck. They will quietly steal your heart. :lol: