These amazing dogs are referred to by various names such as Livestock Guard Dogs, Livestock Protection Dogs and Livestock Guardian Dogs. They are most frequently referred to as LGD for the shortened version. Not just any dog is capable of being a livestock guardian dog as there are only a limited number of breeds that are in this reserved classification of dog. They are loyal to their charges and have been known to lay down their lives to protect them.
Our farm could never be run without our LGDs. It was one of the best decisions we could have made when buying our new property and starting a farm. They are the protectors of our livestock, property and family. Inaudible noises send these large, athletic dogs barreling through the pastures towards the intruder whether it be day or night.
Our dogs are diligent to watch fence and forest lines to keep out anything that does not belong within their perimeter. They frequently find a "high point" where they can see over more of their area. Fidget has even climbed to the top of a huge slash burn pile. This way, they can keep an eye on their goats; sheep; pigs; cows; emus; and free ranging chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks.
Our crew deals with coyotes, black bears, cougars, bobcats, foxes, dogs, skunks, raccoons, opossums, hawks, eagles and other small pests such as moles.
People often ask how many "kills" our dogs have or if they have killed a coyote, etc. Our answer is...yes, they have killed predators, BUT what I think makes a better guardian is that there are very few kills if any. Point being that if the dogs are doing their job and keeping these predators away, there should be no reason for the confrontation that ends in a fight. We believe that we need those predators in order to have a balanced ecosystem so we don't promote the killing as much as praising the dogs for keeping animals out.
Fidget is pure Great Pyrenees and the one who runs the show around here. She can appear to be sound asleep and all of a sudden bolt in one direction or the other. Her overall disposition is gentle, sweet and extremely respectful. She loves the tiniest day old chicks to the one crazy goat in the group that always finds a way to get out of the fencing.
Fidget is muscular and crazy athletic....man, this girl can move! She is sturdy, well balanced and has passed her OFA hip testing with a "Good" and elbow testing with a "Normal".
Relatively leery of visitors unless she has met them before and they have our stamp of approval, she will let them know that they probably should not get out of the vehicle. Which is perfect. That is what we want...no attacks, just a lot of barking and a big presence.
With all that being said, I would not want to be the one threatening her animals or property for that matter.
Hank is our 1/2 Great Pyrenees and 1/2 Maremma male. He defies the normal stereotype of a barking LGD. During the day, this big guy hardly utters a peep. He likes to nap and stroll around the farm just keeping an eye on things. Periodically, we will be nudged for attention and then let's just say that he has no idea what a personal bubble is...
Nighttime is when Hank comes "alive". He is our night patrol and then when we hear him bark, we know there is a definite threat. He was standing at the front door one morning all excited. He was black and gray and had an absolutely revolting smell on him. A skunk got him and thankfully he got the skunk. Problem was...he wanted to be petted and praised! My eyes were watering and I could hardly breathe! Turns out, in order to get the smell out, he rolled in wood ash from the burn pile which just made the wretchedness worse. Ack!
He also is a well built, muscular dog who has passed his OFA tests with a "Good" on his hips and a "Normal" on his elbows.
Hank has a beautiful double coat that is self-cleaning. Considering that he is white, it is an amazing quality! He is a handsome fella with astonishing amber eyes. We always get compliments (even from professionals such as vets, etc) how amazing his temperament is for an LGD. While Hank is quiet and extremely submissive, we do believe he is the alpha. We think that he allows Fidget to run the show, but if she does something that he doesn't like, he puts a stop to it fast. It happens few and far between but according to Paul, "it's just like a husband and wife relationship...lol" Funny funny guy...
Last but definitely not least is Sasha. We got Sasha when she was only 6 weeks old. She was way too young to leave her momma and we had to work twice as hard training her since she didn't receive a lot of social training especially from her littermates and mom. We gave her the name "Sasha" because it means "Defender of Mankind". She is our spunky one who can go from sitting on our lap (even when we don't want her to) to disappearing in a split second because she heard a noise at the fence line. Sasha is 1/2 Great Pyrenees and 1/2 Maremma. She seems to carry more of the Maremma body type and has a very big, sharp bark. She likes to dig out the moles in the pasture and leave them for us to find. Sasha is very curious and and independent. She follows the kids to the bus stop and is always one step away during morning feeding rounds. One more fun fact about Sasha is that she LOVES the raw food in her diet.
WHAT EVERYONE'S BEEN WAITING FOR....
We periodically have puppies for sale. The pups are allowed to leave to go to their new homes starting at 8 weeks old. Our puppies are placed based on preferred gender and your specific needs. We evaluate their personalities, strengths and weaknesses, especially as they age and start guarding with the adults, before placing them in homes. We want you to be as successful and blessed as we have been with our dogs so we offer lifetime support to help with issues that may arise especially as the pup grows and learns his job.
Our puppies are loved and nurtured for their future farm or companion role from day one. Sasha and Fidget are fantastic mothers who continually care for, protect and teach their babies. We have even watched them each mourn the loss of a young pup.
In case you are wondering why our puppies may cost a little more than others, it is because you are not getting just any ordinary puppy! Here are a few reasons that our puppies stand out among the rest:
The puppies are raised with the livestock from the beginning. The picture on the left is one of our puppies at about 3 1/2 months old with Agnes, who was about a month old. the picture on the left is Doc snoozing with a six week old puppy. We could never "set up" these pictures. This is real life here and you can see how much they trust each other.
There will still be hiccups when the pup gets to a new property, but they learn quickly and will adapt with some direction.
We offer lifetime support to help you work through any issues that may possibly arise.
Our adults are fantastic teachers. There is no better way for the puppies to learn manners, job roles, and expectations than to spend time with Hank, Fidget and Sasha. In this picture, Fidget is taking 8 week old puppies on a stroll through the free range meat chicken pasture. The puppies observe and mimic the adults in their every day happenings. They even play and push the limits sometimes but there is usually an older dog there to correct and redirect.
Like father, like son....Hank and Ivan are keeping an eye on the new goat kid that we just let out of a pen for the first time with her momma. No barking, no chasing, no chaos...just watching...
Our dogs are calm with a balanced temperament. As you can see in the video below, the have a calm natural instinct with the animals they are to protect including free range poultry.
The puppies are fed a good quality dog food (which can get very pricey with that many mouths to feed!) and also receive a partial raw diet. Because of this, our dogs are all in impeccable health. Our vet says she has never seen such beautiful coats, healthy skin, oral hygiene and overall physical health in an LGD as she has seen in ours. The parents have been OFA tested for joint health and each puppy receives a "puppy well exam" by the vet and then given the appropriate vaccinations and wormings. A puppy comes with a health record so you can keep track of any future vet visits.
And have I mentioned that our puppies are HUGE?!?!?
Contrary to popular belief, these puppies above all belong to Hank and Fidget. The first time she had black and white puppies we had a parentage DNA test done to confirm that they were all sired by Hank. The test came back positive and he is the dad to all of them! The color comes from Fidget. She has some color on her which is hard to see unless you are up close, but the color gene comes out in her litters. The European Great Pyrenees standards say that these puppies are not to standard since they are more than 20% color, but the color does not make them any less Great Pyrenees/Maremma and it definitely doesn't make them a lesser quality of guardian.
This is where their self-cleaning coats are extremely convenient! As you can see above, the puppies just looove to play in the mud.
When it stops raining, they turn white again just like the picture above without baths or brushing! It is a lifesaver....it really, truly is...