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Livestock Guardian Dogs

Keep your livestock safe and predators at bay with a livestock guardian dog. They see livestock as an extension of their pack within their territory and prevent losses by discouraging predators such as coyotes from that territory. 

Bill Costanzo is a livestock guardian dog research specialist with Texas A&M Agrilife Research. He says someone new to guardian dogs will usually want to get an older puppy in the six-to-eight-month-old range that has already been bonded to a specific livestock species by the breeder.

"They’ll bond them specifically for instance to wool sheep or to hair sheep, or meat goats or angora goats. Other breeders will just say I bonded them to sheep or goats or maybe both, but some dogs are particular to specific species," says Costanzo. "So, if you have wool sheep for instance and you get a dog that was bonded with hair sheep, they may or may not do the best job for you with those wool sheep because they were bonded at a younger age with those hair sheep."

Common guard dog species are large in stature and include Great Pyranees, Anatolian Shepherd, and Akbash. Their calmness and protective nature are bred in, so Costanzo says you don’t want one that’s a mix with another breed.

"You don’t want, for instance, to get a Great Pyranees that’s mixed with a Border Collie. Livestock guardian dogs have been bred for thousands of years to specifically do a certain job," he says. "Just like Border Collies have been bred to work livestock, these dogs have been bred to guard livestock. So, their whole makeup is completely different, their body structure, their personalities and things like that."

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