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 Pyrenees, 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".
Please visit our Library for interesting and useful articles on breeding, behavior, livestock guardians, and medical information.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog Rescue League, Inc has an excellent booklet available on The Ins and Outs of Livestock Guardians. This is a compilation of articles by actual users of Livestock Guardian dogs and is a "must-read" for anyone considering using any breed of LGD.
Click on the link above for directions for ordering.
A range of temperaments can be found within the breeds. Some are better suited as remote pasture guardians where a daily routine is very constant, while some are good in situations where there is a high degree of variety. They may work well on a small farm, in a rural home, or as a city pet. Some may be found in the middle of New York City, others on the sprawling rangelands of Montana. There are enough variations between the breeds, and within members of a single breed, to provide a suitable dog for most situations.
They need daily exercise and the daily discipline of a job to do. This can be provided on an open range, protecting livestock or in a suburban back yard, protecting a family. They have a long puppy-hood and adolescence, often not reaching maturity until 2-1/2 or 3 years of age. During that time, they need training, supervision and a human who is capable of assuming the "alpha" role in their pack.
This site was developed in hopes of providing accurate information to both prospective and current LGD owners on the purchase, care and training of pet and working LGDs. We hope that the insight into the working aspects of these dogs can help both pet and working dog owners better understand the breeds .