LIVESTOCK GUARDIAN DOGS AT EVERMORE FARM
Livestock Guardian Dogs
Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) breeds have been used for centuries to protect livestock from predators in Europe and Asia. The most well-known of these breeds in the United States are the Great P
yrenees, Anatolian Shepherds, Akbash and Maremma. Many also work as family and home guardians, and several are assistance dogs to their disabled owners, as they are sturdy enough to provide physical support. With the right socialization, training and physical environment, LGDs can be successful family pets and home protectors. They are generally aloof toward strangers and their size alone is rather intimidating. Though strong, independent-minded and protective, they are normally gentle with children and livestock alike. A common saying among LGD owners is “LGDs are like potato chips – you can’t have just one”
We have two Great Pyrenees here at Evermore Farm, Bella, a four-year old, and Libby, a 2 month old pup. Our farm was bothered by vultures that would come onto the pastures when calves or lambs were born in the fields and try to kill the babies. That’s when we decided to bring a LGD into the flocks and herds to help protect them from the vultures we could see and the coyotes we heard at night. We acquired Bella as a pup from Jim Sheeder, a Dorper and Polypay sheep breeder in Somerset County, Pa. He has five Great Pyrenees working his flocks. Bell’s parents are at the USDA Sheep Experimental Station in Dubois, Idaho. Libby is from a small sheep farm in Hancock, Maryland. We do not breed our dogs or have puppies for sale.
Great Pyrenees (Pyrenean Mountain Dog)
The Great Pyrenees is a very old breed and has been used for millennia by the shepherds which includes Basque people, who inhabit parts of the region in and around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain. They are descended from the Hungarian Kuvasz and Maremmano-Abruzzese and are considered an arisocratic relative of the St. Bernard and Newfoundland.
Our Pyrenees are like big teddy bears. I didn’t train them; it just comes natural for them to protect and love any animal that we feed. It’s instinct. The dogs will bark during the night every hour. They are warning predators to stay away. They work all night walking around, then sleep most of the day.
Great Pyrenees were bred to stand and fight bears to protect the sheep and goats. When I hear the dogs barking at night, I know they’re doing their job.