Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Mongolian banhar

Guard dogs for sheep and goats

Read all about the bests guard dogs for sheep and goats. A livestock guardian dog (LGD) is a dog type bred for the purpose of protecting livestock from predators.

Guard dogs for sheep and goats

Skip Ahead : For the Five Best Livestock Guard Dogs for Sheep, Goats, and Other Herds : Click Here

Skip ahead : Livestock Guardian Dog Statistic : Click Here

Anyone not in the business of raising sheep and goats cannot understand how hard it is to lose a new lamb or kid. Even small farms with only a few livestock will benefit from keeping a livestock guard dog who can prevent the occasional loss.

Livestock guardian dogs stay with the group of animals they protect as a full-time member of the flock or herd. Their ability to guard their herd is mainly instinctive as the dog is bonded to the herd from an early age. Unlike herding dogs which control the movement of livestock, LGDs blend in with them, watching for intruders within the flock. The mere presence of a guardian dog is usually enough to ward off some predators, and LGDs will confront predators by vocal intimidation, barking, and displaying very aggressive behavior. The dog may attack or fight with a predator if it is unable to drive away the predator

Can Dogs eat Smoked Salmon?

What human food can I feed my diabetic dog

Final Stages of Dog Diabetes

List of breeds – LGD

There are many breeds of LGDs, many of which are little known outside of the regions in which they are still worked. Nevertheless, some breeds are known to display traits advantageous to guarding livestock. Some specialist livestock guarding dog breeds include:

Extant breeds

Breed
Alternate name(s)
Country of origin
Image
Abruzzese Mastiff
Pastore abruzzese &
Cane da Pecora
Italy
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Abruzzese Mastiff
Aidi
Aïdi,
Atlas Mountain Dog,
Atlas Shepherd Dog,
Berber Dog,
Chien de l’Atlas &
Chien de Montagne de l’Atlas
Morocco
Aidi - Guard dogs for sheep and goats
Akbash dog
Akbaş Çoban Köpeği
Turkey
Akbash dog
Aksaray Malaklisi
Turkish mastiff &
Central Anatolian shepherd
Turkey
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Aksaray Malaklisi
Anatolian Shepherd
Karabaş,
Anadolulu Karabaş
& Kangal
Turkey
Anatolian Shepherd
Armenian Gampr
Gampr
Armenia
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Armenian Gampr
Ashayeri Dog
Iran
Sage Ashayeri - Guard dogs for sheep and goats
Azerbaijani Shepherd Dog
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani Shepherd Dog
Bakharwal dog
India
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Bakharwal dog
Bucovina Shepherd
Bucovina Sheepdog &
Southeastern European Shepherd
Romania &
Serbia
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Bucovina Shepherd
Buryat-Mongolian Wolfhound
Russia
Buryat-Mongolian Wolfhound
Cane di Mannara
Italy
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Cane di Mannara
Cão de Castro Laboreiro
Dog of Castro Laboreiro,
Portuguese Cattle Dog &
Portuguese Watchdog
Portugal
Cão de Castro Laboreiro
Cão de Gado Transmontano
Transmontano Mastiff &
Transmontano Cattle Dog
Portugal
Cão de Gado Transmontano
Carpathian Shepherd Dog
Ciobănesc Românesc Carpatin,
Romanian Shepherd,
Romanian Carpathian Shepherd,
Câine Ciobănesc Carpatin,
Carpathian Sheepdog,
Carpatin &
Romanian Carpatin Herder
Romania
Carpathian Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Mountain Dog &
Caucasian Ovcharka
Armenia,
Azerbaijan,
Georgia &
Russia
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Central Asian Shepherd Dog
Alabai,
Central Asian Ovtcharka &
Aziat
Afghanistan,
Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan,
Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan &
Russia
Central Asian Shepherd Dog
Estrela Mountain Dog
Portuguese Shepherd &
Cão da Serra da Estrela
Portugal
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Estrela Mountain Dog
Georgian Shepherd
Georgian Mountain Dog
& Nagazi
Georgia
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Georgian Shepherd
Ghadrejani dog
Iran
Guard dogs for sheep and goats - Ghadrejani dog
Great Pyrenees
Pyrenean Mountain Dog,
Patou,
Montañés del Pirineo,
Perro de Montaña de los Pirineos,
Can de Montaña de os Perinés,
Chien des Pyrénées &
Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées
France &
Spain
Great Pyrenees - Guard dogs for sheep and goats
Greek Shepherd
Greece
Greek Shepherd - Guard dogs for sheep and goats
Himalayan Sheepdog
Himalayan Shepherd &
Himalayan Shepherd Dog
China,
India &
Nepal
Himalayan Sheepdog - Guard dogs for sheep and goats
Kangal
Sivas Kangal &
Turkish Kangal
Turkey
Kangal - Guard dogs for sheep and goats
Karakachan
Karakachansko Kuche &
Karakachanska Ovcharka
Bulgaria
Karakachan
Karst Shepherd
Slovenia
Karst Shepherd
Komondor
Hungarian Komondor,
Hungarian Sheepdog &
Mop Dog
Hungary
Komondor
Koyun dog
Bayburt Kelpi
Turkey
Koyun dog
Kuchi
Sage Kuchi,
Sage Jangi,
De Kochyano Spai,
Jangi Spai &
Afghan Shepherd
Afghanistan
Kuchi - Afghan Shepherd
Kumaon Mastiff
Sipro Kukur
India
Kumaon Mastiff
Kurdish Shepherd Dog
Iran,
Iraq &
Kurdistan
Kurdish Shepherd Dog
Kuvasz
Hungarian Kuvasz
Hungary
Kuvasz
Maremma Sheepdog
Cane da Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese,
Pastore Abruzzese,
Pastore Maremmano,
Abruzzo Sheepdog &
Abruzzese Sheepdog
Italy
Maremma Sheepdog
Mazandrani dog
Iran
Mazandrani dog
Mioritic Shepherd
Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog,
Romanian Mioritic,
Ciobănesc Românesc Mioritic,
Mioritic
Romania
Mioritic Shepherd
Mongolian banhar
Mongolia
Mongolian banhar
Persian Mastiff
Sarabi Mastiff
Iran
Persian Mastiff
Polish Tatra Sheepdog
Tatra Mountain Sheepdog,
Owczarek Tatrzański,
Owczarek Podhalański &
Polski Owczarek
Poland
Polish Tatra Sheepdog
Pyrenean Mastiff
Mastín del Pirineo &
Mostín d’o Pireneu
Spain
Pyrenean Mastiff
Rafeiro do Alentejo
Alentejo Mastiff,
Portuguese Mastiff &
Mutt of Alentejo
Portugal
Rafeiro do Alentejo
Romanian Raven Shepherd Dog
Ciobanesc Romanesc Corb
Romania
Romanian Raven Shepherd Dog
Šarplaninac
Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog
Macedonia &
Serbia (Kosovo)
Šarplaninac
Shirak Sheepdog
Iran
Shirak Sheepdog
Slovak Cuvac
Slovak Chuvach,
Tatransky Cuvac &
Slovak tschuvatsch
Slovakia
Slovak Cuvac
Spanish Mastiff
Mastín español de campo y trabajo,
Mastín ganadero,
Mastín Leonés &
Mastín Extremeño
Spain
Spanish Mastiff
Tibetan kyi apso
Apso Do-Kyi
Tibet
Tibetan kyi apso
Tibetan Mastiff
Tibet
Tibetan Mastiff
Tobet
Kazakhstan mountain dog
Kazakhstan
Tobet
Torkuz
Uzbekistan mountain dog
& Sarkangik
Uzbekistan
Torkuz
Tornjak
Bosnian and Herzegovinian Shepherd Dog,
Bosnian Shepherd Dog,
Croatian Mountain Dog &
Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Croatian Shepherd Dog
Bosnia and Herzegovina &
Croatia
Tornjak
Vikhan Sheepdog
Chitral Watchdog &
Pakistani Vikhan Dog
Pakistan
Vikhan Sheepdog

Navajo sheep and goat guarding dogs: A New World solution to the coyote problem.

Use of donkeys to guard sheep and goats in Texas

Komondor guard dogs reduce sheep losses to coyotes: a preliminary evaluation.

List of extinct breeds

Breed
Alternate name(s)
Country or region of origin
Era
Use
Image
Alpine Mastiff
Alps
Before 5th century BC to 19th century AD
Livestock guardian
Alpine Mastiff
Molossus
Southern Europe
Classical antiquity
War dogs, hunting, guard dogs & dog fighting
American Molossus Dog

 

 

 

 

Guard dogs for sheep and goats – Top 5

Like the names suggests, this dog was originally developed in Anatolia. They are a strong mountain dog bred in an area of Asia where dogs were expected to protect sheep from wolves, jackals, and bears. They will be able to handle foxes, coyotes, and feral dogs easily.

The Anatolian shepherd looks different than most of the other livestock guard dogs. It is not pure white, sometimes has a black mask, and has a thicker neck and broader head than some dogs. They are big, up to about 70 kilograms, and look even bigger because of their thick mane.

- Guard dogs for sheep and goats

Like the Akbash, this dog is not recommended as only a companion dog. They are bred to work, will probably escape and roam if kept without a flock or herd, and unless socialized will be unlikely to accept strangers.

Even if they are kept as a pet, they will probably not want to fetch. They can be obedience trained, but it may be difficult to work with them at times.

Health problems are few, but they have been reported to have hip dysplasia, like most big dogs, eyelid problems (entropion, where the eyelid rolls in and the lashes rub against the eyeball), and a few other unusual problems. They live about 10 or 11 years.

Komondor

The Komondor has a thick corded coat that looks different than most dogs, so even people that are not familiar with livestock guard dogs have seen these dogs in shows or photos. Few are aware of his personality, however.

The thick coat is supposed to protect the dog from wolves when he is guarding his sheep. He is white, like most livestock guard dogs, taller than most (about 80 centimeters at the withers) and heavy (50–60 kilograms), but not as heavy as some breeds.

Komondor - Guard dogs for sheep and goats

Komondors are said to have the same temperament as most of the livestock guard dogs, but the individuals I have known have been more volatile. This may have been due to lack of socialization and training. They are said to be good with family and children, but like all the livestock guard dogs, he will be happier with a job to do.

Confining these dogs to a life in the city or a suburb is not acceptable.

Komondors are susceptible to the health problems of big breeds, hip dysplasia and bloat. External parasites (like fleas and ticks) are also more of a concern when the dog has that thick corded coat.

Kuvasz – Guard dogs for sheep and goats

This white or light-colored livestock guard dog is also originally from Hungary, like the Komondor. The dog breed may even have been around before coming to that country, though, and some fanciers think it is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence.

The Kuvasz looks similar to the other livestock guard dogs. The eyes are black, he weighs about 50–75 kilograms, but he is not as heavy as some of the livestock guard dog breeds. The main difference is in his personality.

Kuvasz - Guard dogs for sheep and goats

If this dog is to be kept as a companion animal, he should have early socialization and good obedience training. They might be more playful than other livestock guard dogs but are also serious about their work and quite independent. The Kuvasz is known to be good with kids, good around other animals, and protective of his family and owner. They are not known for performing tricks or obeying commands off leash.

Kuvasz are usually healthy, but hip dysplasiacan be a problem in any big dog. If fed correctly (to avoid excessive calories and rapid growth), the dogs can live about 12 years.

If you are interested in this breed of dog, there is another author, Suhail, that keeps one and is knowledgeable on the Kuvasz and other livestock guard dogs. You can search for his great article about his experience with the breed.

Great Pyrenees

This is one of the best-known livestock guard dogs. According to the AKC, their popularity has been decreasing the past few years, but they still are purchased as companion dogs, are a great dog for backyard farms, and are one of the most popular guard dog breeds.

They look fantastic, which is why so many families buy one as a companion dog. They are mostly white, with a thick double coat, a thick mane to keep the wolves off, and black eyes and a button of a nose. They also have double dew claws on their hind legs, an unusual feature.

Great Pyrenees - Guard dogs for sheep and goats

The Great Pyrenees are originally from the Pyrenees mountain region of northern Spain, like their names suggests, and have been guarding sheep in that region for hundreds of years. They bark a lot at night when doing their job, can be difficult to train, and even their fanciers admit that they are not good with strangers.

Like most livestock dogs, this breed is said to be good with kids, however. The dogs’ aggression is mainly to those he feels a threat to his flock: foxes, feral dogs, and coyotes. Despite their size (males get to be over 50 kilos and stand about 70 centimeters), they are not tough enough to handle bears or wolves.

Breeders and fanciers usually say that the Great Pyrenees is healthy, but they can develop hip dysplasia or bloat like any large breed, and some are prone to patellar luxation (a trick knee). If they don’t have any problems, Great Pyrenees usually live about 10 or 11 years, a good life span for such a large dog.

Akbash – Guard dogs for sheep and goats

These white Turkish dogs are still mostly livestock guard dogs and are not kept much as pets. They are even larger than the Great Pyrenees (males may be over 60 kilograms and stand 85 centimeters) and usually have the same dark eyes and nose. Their legs are usually longer, and their tail is a little larger.

Since they are usually working dogs and not companion animals, obedience training is not an issue, which is probably a good thing since they are not into chasing balls like some of the “intelligent” breeds. (If you do purchase one of these dogs just as a companion, he may develop behavioral problems like excessive digging or escaping.) They will get along with most other species if introduced early, and they are usually satisfied when lying in a field watching their charges, whether sheep or goats.

Akbash - Guard dogs for sheep and goats

Akbash fanciers appreciate that the dog has low energy and does well spending the day quietly. They report that the dog is athletic when it needs to be, but it is not hostile and is able to think independently.

Akbash are hardy, like all livestock guard dogs, and do not have a lot of health problems. They can have big dog issues but normally live problem-free to about 10 or 11 years old.

Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Livestock Guardian Dog Statistics – (Guard dogs for sheep and goats stats)

Effect of LGD longevity annual cost breakeven lambs

Effect of LGD longevity on average annual cost and breakeven additional lambs weaned. Assumes little LGD value for first year – values reflect the end of the second and succeeding years. LGD cost is $1,000 the first year, $500 each succeeding year. Lambs are valued at $140 each.

Skip To : For the Five Best Guard dogs for sheep and goats : Click Here

Research – Livestock Guardian Dog Stats

In 2002, Dr Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia completed her PhD thesis on the biology, ecology and conservation of the cheetah on Namibian farms. It included an investigation of alternative control methods for livestock predation, particularly a study of 157 guard dogs. The research revealed that behavioural problems affected 94,4% of the dogs, and correctional training enabled only 61% of the dogs to be deployed.

The three greatest problems were: 44% of the dogs chased game (there were no statistics on how many animals were killed), 37% stayed at the kraal without accompanying the sheep to the field, and 25% harassed or killed sheep. Some dogs were guilty of more than one of these behaviours. In the end, 43% of the dogs had to be removed from the project because the behavioural problems could not be corrected or the dogs died. Of the dogs that died, 21% were shot by the owner, and a further 6% were shot by a neighbour or other farmer, while the rest died because of accidents, disease or poison.

Marker mentions that studies from the US mirrored local statistics, with about a third of guard dogs being shot by their owners. Remarkably, the average working life of the dogs at the time of death was not even 4½ years.

These conclusions were reinforced with the publication in 2011 of Gail Potgieter’s MSc thesis: The effectiveness of livestock guarding dogs for livestock production and conservation in Namibia [Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Department of Zoology] on the use of Anatolian Shepherd/Kangal dogs to protect livestock from predators in Namibia. Dr Marker was one of Potgieter’s supervisors.

The dogs were placed with commercial as well as with communal farmers. About two- thirds of the guard dogs in the study was accompanied by a shepherd. Although 30% of commercial farmers experienced no difference in predator damage, 76% of all farmers in the study were satisfied that there had been a significant decline in livestock losses.

The question, however, was how predator- friendly the dogs were. About 63% of the Anatolians had killed animals. Thirty-seven of the dogs had killed jackal, nine had killed baboons, three had killed caracal and one had even killed a cheetah. Various other dogs had killed a bat-eared fox and an African wildcat. In all, at least 83 animals had been caught by Anatolian dogs, and this is an underestimate, as some farmers who reported their dogs killing animals could not give numbers.

After the dogs were deployed, the farmers reported that they were killing significantly fewer jackal and caracal themselves. But combining this figure with the dog kills brought the number of jackal and caracal kills to more or less double the number killed before deployment of dogs! The number of cheetah killed had declined sharply, however.

Skip To : For the Five Best Guard dogs for sheep and goats : Click Here

Livestock Protection Dogs in the 21st Century – Stats

Many species of wildlife in Europe and North America have shared similar fates over the past 200 years. Overharvest and extirpation of some ungulate and large carnivore species characterize both continents, as do the destruction and development of habitats Enserink and Vogel 2006). Over the last 30 years, however, some of these species have demonstrated remarkable resilience in their recovery in several regions of Europe and North America, either through natural recolonization or reintroduction programs

The use of livestock protection (guarding) dogs (LPDs) appeared centuries ago throughout central Europe and Asia to help shepherds protect their goats and sheep from predators, namely brown bears (Ursus arctos) and gray wolves (Canis lupus). With the eradication of many predators from the European landscape, the mass migration of humans to urban settings, and the collectivization agricultural policy under communist regimes, much of the knowledge of the use of LPDs was lost. In North America, European immigrants during the 1800s and 1900s did not bring knowledge of the use of LPDs, nor did they incorporate them into their farming practices, as evidenced by the relatively few producers actively using LPDs before the 1970s. Navajo Indians, though, did employ nonstandard LPDs for guarding livestock, presumably having learned the technique from early Spanish explorers Lyman 1844, Dyk 1938, Black 1981, Black and Green 1985.

Past studies on LPDs, especially those with experimental rigor, are limited. Rigg (2001) presented a general overview of LPDs, and Coppinger and Coppinger (2001) provided a comprehensive review of LPD behavior and selection. Shivik (2006) briefly discussed LPDs in his review of nonlethal tools for managing predators. Smith and colleagues (2000) reviewed the use of guardian animals and focused most of their review on LPDs. All of these reviews have focused rather narrowly on using LPDs for deterring predation on livestock (principally sheep). Our intent is to provide a rigorous, updated overview of the current use of LPDs for protecting livestock from predation and to discuss the potential for using LPDs to reduce disease transmission from wildlife to livestock, as well as for conserving wildlife populations. We provide an overview of the similarities between European and North American livestock production, wildlife conflict, and wildlife conservation. On both continents, society has come to value wild ungulates and large carnivores and to prefer the use of nonlethal management tools for addressing conflicts. We outline the need for effective, nonlethal, producer-based tools to allow producers to manage these conflicts themselves. Livestock protection dogs may also offer a proactive and “green” tool for allowing livestock husbandry and wildlife to coexist (i.e., a unique conservation value). We review the history of the use of LPDs, including the lull in their use following the eradication of wolves in Europe and North America and the paucity of scientific research on their effectiveness. Further, we outline future directions to pursue and the potential for greater conservation value through the use of LPDs

Skip To : For the Five Best Guard dogs for sheep and goats : Click Here

Similarities between Europe and North America

Producers in Europe and North America are confronted with similar challenges in their efforts to reduce livestock losses to predators and wildlife-transmitted diseases, while doing their part to facilitate human coexistence with wildlife. This is especially true in areas where wolves have recently recovered (e.g., the western Great Lakes region of the United States) or are actively recolonizing (e.g., the western part of the Alps range in Europe, the northern US Rocky Mountains). Effective on-farm methods are needed to reduce deer activity near livestock in order to minimize the transmission, both directly and indirectly, of diseases such as bovine tuberculosis (TB) from infected deer (Odocoileus spp.) to livestock VerCauteren et al. 2008. Other wildlife-transmitted diseases of livestock include brucellosis, keratoconjunctivitis, and neosporosis. Producers in these regions require efficacious tools that they can adapt into their normal husbandry practices in order to reduce economic losses

In the past, lethal control tools (e.g., trapping, shooting) were used extensively to remove predators from areas (e.g., bounty system). Government-funded lethal removal continues to be the primary management tool used in recovered wolf populations in North America within the conflict-management model of reactionary management (i.e., lethal removal after depredation occurs; Musiani et al. 2005). However, lethal methods alone have not eliminated wolf depredations. Musiani and colleagues (2005) reported that lethal control of wolves in Alberta, Canada (applied as reactionary management on individual farms), did not reduce the number of livestock depredations at a regional level. In Spain and Canada, although wolves are hunted, livestock depredation continues to occur and is an important issue. In the case of recovering wolf populations, lethal control may remain a last resort because the goal of current management in many areas is to increase populations to predetermined target levels. Even in areas where wolf populations have surpassed target levels for recovery, the legal challenges to delisting the populations may limit the use of lethal control (e.g., in the western United States and Great Lakes region). Unregulated lethal-control and market-hunting (e.g., unregulated hunting of wildlife for sale in markets) policies played a major role in reducing or eliminating many carnivore and ungulate populations in the 19th century in North America and Europe Trefethen 1961, Landry 2001). Such practices are no longer legally or socially acceptable for managing these conflict issues. Currently, nonlethal control methods are more acceptable to the public than regulated lethal options in both Europe and North America (Reiter et al. 1999, Breitenmoser et al. 2005). However, many of the costs associated with nonlethal management tools are borne by producers.

Current governmental management objectives and laws have relegated producers on both continents to passive and reactionary roles in the management of livestock depredations (Gehring and Potter 2005). In such positions, producers often become overly reliant on government agencies or may fail to become proactive in managing human-wildlife conflict on their property (Gehring et al. 2006, O’Brien et al. 2006). The integration of LPDs might give producers another opportunity to become active managers in protecting their livestock, helping them become integrated and active stakeholders in the wider management process (Gehring and Potter 2005). By employing LPDs, a nonlethal method, producers would also aid the conservation of large predators

The use of LPDs by livestock producers in Europe and North America is primarily an economic and political issue. In Europe, large carnivores are protected by the Bern Convention or local hunting laws. Sheep producers in areas of France and Switzerland where wolves are recolonizing receive government financial support to implement the use of LPDs. Thus, political mandates for large carnivore conservation have forced these producers to implement preventative measures to protect their livestock, and the use of LPDs has allowed wolves to live in these areas (e.g., Ribeiro and Petrucci-Fonseca 2004). Sheep producers in Spain (e.g., Castilla y Leon) have used LPDs for centuries, but still request government support for reducing wolf populations in some regions to reduce risk to their livestock. In North America and some regions of Europe (e.g., the northern part of Castilla y Leon), there is little to no governmental support for using LPDs; producers must bear most or all of the financial costs. Additionally, on both continents and worldwide, wildlife acts as a reservoir of diseases that may be transmitted to livestock. LPDs are beginning to be recognized for their ability to reduce this transmission of disease

Skip To : For the Five Best Guard dogs for sheep and goats : Click Here

History of use of livestock protection dogs

The far-distant ancestor of LPDs is believed to be a predecessor of the modern-day mastiff that lived on the high Tibetan plateaus during prehistoric times (Guardamagna 1995). However, LPDs most likely originated in Mesopotamia and its peripheral regions, where livestock husbandry was well developed (Landry 1999). The first indications of the domestication of sheep (beginning with the Asiatic mouflon) and goats (starting with the bezoar goat) were found in western Asia (Iraq and Iran) dating back about 7000 or 8000 years BCE (Gauthier 1990). Domestic dogs and sheep appeared together for the first time in archaeological sites dated 3585 BCE (Olsen 1985). It is also likely that Sumerian nomadic shepherds already had dogs with their flocks to protect sheep and goats against predators, during the transhumance between Mesopotamia and the modern-day country of Hungary. In the Old Testament, Job mentions the presence of a dog with its flock (Job 30:1). Very large dogs existed in Assyria in the 13th century BCE, as can be seen in representations of dogs on various bas-reliefs and on terra-cotta from the ruins of Babylon or Niniveh. Chinese chronicles relate that such a dog was offered to the Chinese emperor in 1121 BCE (>Guardamagna 1995). Moreover, Alexander the Great is reported to have received two dogs from an Indian king, which he brought back to Macedonia into the Molosses region in 326 BCE. Since then, these dogs have been given the name of molosses Guardamagna 1995). The Romans used molosses for circus games, combat, and to guard villas and estates. A Roman farm-management treatise (published in 150 BCE) mentioned two types of dogs: One was used to hunt predators and game; the other was used to protect herds of livestock (cited in Coppinger and Coppinger 1993)

It is likely that early LPDs were simply dogs that were raised with and bonded to livestock, and thus available and adapted to the task. The first ancestors of LPDs then most likely spread from their native regions with nomadic tribes along different migration routes or with merchants. The diversity of LPDs originated from these exchanges (especially during the transhumance) and was a result of postzygotic selection (see Coppinger and Coppinger 2001 for a more complete discussion). Shepherds favored and cared for dogs that had morphological or behavioral characteristics that enabled them to outperform other dogs in pastoral tasks. These animals were not sexually isolated from the greater dog population until recent times, and even then, sexual isolation occurs mostly in the West as performed by dog breeding associations (Coppinger and Coppinger 2001). In Spain, shepherds crossbred the Mastíin mastiff with village dogs because the purebred Mastíin mastiff did not satisfactorily meet pastoral needs (e.g., it was too heavy to run after wolves). However, different projects also try to maintain or recover pastoral characteristics of local or national LPDs (e.g., Ribeiro and Petrucci-Fonseca 2005). Today, there are at least 40 “breeds” of LPDs throughout the world (Landry 1999). The use of LPDs in Europe has resurged as large predator species have recovered (Ribeiro and Petrucci-Fonseca 2004); for example, more than 1000 LPDs are now working in the Alps. In North America, the use of LPDs has been a relatively recent phenomenon, initiated only in the 1970s (Linhart et al. 1979). By 2004, 32% of sheep producers were using LPDs to protect their livestock in the United States (NASS 2005), where LPDs are used principally to protect sheep from coyotes (Canis latrans)

Worldwide, there is some variation in how LPDs have been applied by producers relative to geography, the producer’s husbandry practices, and grazing situations. For example, in Sweden and the Great Lakes region of the United States, LPDs are often used in fenced pastures (Levin 2005, Gehring et al. 2006, VerCauteren et al. 2008). In these situations, LPDs are present with livestock on relatively small pastures (> 50 hectares) during summer months and then are brought closer to buildings during winter. LPDs accompany the livestock as they are rotated among pastures and even into barns. In remote and undeveloped regions of North America, Europe, and Asia, transhumances involve the movement of livestock to open range in high country during summer months and relocation back down to fenced pastures and barns during winter, as has been done for centuries. In southern regions of Europe (e.g., France), it is common for sheep to graze outside throughout the year, except during lambing season. In these cases, LPDs continually accompany livestock and shepherds (Lapeyronie et al. 2002).

Skip To : For the Five Best Guard dogs for sheep and goats : Click Here