Anatolians are very strong, bold and look like overgrown German Shepherds with light tan coats. The breed originated in Turkey. Anatolians weigh between 100-150 pounds and measure between 2 to 2.5 feet at the shoulder.
This is probably the most popular livestock guardian breed in America because of its striking long white coat and pleasing personality. Great Pyrenees dogs weigh between 85-160 pounds and measure between 2-2.7 inches tall at the shoulder.
This breed originated in Hungary. The white hair of the Komondor is made up of cords which give it a very unique “mop” look, which protects the dog from other predators because penetrating the cords is extremely difficult. A Komondor is independent, loyal and intelligent. They typically weigh 80-100 pounds and are roughly 2 feet tall at the shoulder.
Like the Komondor, this breed originated in Hungary and is white, but it doesn’t have cords so its coat is easier to maintain. This breed weighs between 100-130 pounds and measures between 2-2.5 feet at the shoulder. The Kuvasz is known to be loyal and protective but also fun loving—not as serious as the other breeds.
This breed originated in Spain and is an extra large dog that can be 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh as much as 250 pounds. The size of these dogs makes them extremely intimidating to strangers and predators. This breed is known to be intelligent and strong willed.
A livestock guardian dog is the perfect dog for anyone who lives on a farm, has livestock and may need protection for the livestock or themselves. Robyn Poyner from Missouri says she can’t put a price tag on her farm dogs’ value. Poyner owns Poyner Goat Company. She said, “Before I had livestock guardian dogs, I was losing one or two goats a week to the two-legged predator (man). After I purchased a dog, I haven’t lost a goat since.”
Finding the right breeder isn’t simple. “Many people who breed LGD’s breed them for show, and although a show-quality dog might look nice, not all of them have the guarding instinct in them,” Poyner said. “My dogs are around my goat kids from the moment they are born and protect them from everything including other dogs and people. People who want a LGD to be protective of livestock should do some research and buy a dog from a breeder who breeds the dogs as guardians.”
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Let the following guide be the starting point for you to find your homestead’s new best friend.
For more information on LGDs and farm dog breeds visit:
• Poyner Goat Company
• Melport Meadows
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This article originally published in THE NEW PIONEER® Fall 2014 issue. Print and Digital Subscriptions to THE NEW PIONEER magazine are available here
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