|Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 11:37am PST |
|Livestock guardian dogs and farm dogs are different. Farm dogs are meant to be "jack of all trades" around the farm. Always some herding (yes, even Standard Schnauzers) and some are highly focused on that one aspect, but minimally farm dogs herd, watch the flock, alert to visitors and interlopers, etc. Some farm dogs also rat, hunt, etc.
Livestock guardians are raised to be one of the flock. They are not herding dogs, but rather protectors. So they consider the flock their own, and will defend them to the death. UNLIKE farm dogs, they tend to be very independent and work on their own. What they do is not trained, but natural. They aren't housedogs and typically live outside with their flock. They are very good with warning barks, but also are pretty freaking serious when they need to be. They tend to have VERY high nerves and be ultra stable. This is because you don't want them racing off and away from their flock. The also tend to be, in comparison to other breeds and types, more serious or sober.
There are MANY flock guards out there, including a lot of breeds most have never heard of. You don't need to get exotic, though, and I wouldn't recommend it either. Some of these dogs can be terrifically hard. The most known flock guard of today is the Great Pyrenees, and they are a particularly level and chill flock guard. Rescue of them is ENTIRELY possible, which is cool because not only are you helping a dog, but you are getting a dog suited to task, as rescue will assess dogs coming in who might be better as flock dogs vs house dogs. Komondors/Komondorok are also flock guards, but the coat is sort of crazy , and their temperament can be tricky. Maremmas are very popular in the role and more available than one might think, and many of the breeders are totally focused on the working function. You can often obtain an older puppy raised with stock and started off on the right foot. Tibetan Mastiffs also are one easily haveable, but they are ultra serious and probably not for a novice. Anatolian Shepherds are yet another.
My personal advice is either a rescued Pyr or a Maremma.
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