Homestead Helpers And Guardians

Homestead helpers and guardians
An Anatolian and Akbash cross watching his livestock.
An Anatolian and Akbash cross watching his livestock.

Homestead Helpers And Guardians

It’s been said that the dog is man’s best friend. This is never more true than in the case of the homesteader. But, for a homestead, you can’t afford to have very many dogs that are not purpose bred. Instinct is actually what causes a dog to easily pick up the tasks you need them to do, such as guarding your livestock, or herding the livestock.

Not every dog has the right instincts. That’s why certain breeds were developed. The same is true of tasks such as hunting various types of animals. There are many types of hunters ranging from Labrador Retriever, Short haired German Pointer and weimaraner, to coon hounds and more.

When it comes to herding dogs and livestock guardian dogs for your farm, it is also important to know the breed or breeds involved with your dogs. Livestock guardian dogs by definition will fight off predators. Not just hang out with the livestock. They bark all night long and jump 6 foot fences without batting an eye.

So what breeds are appropriate for using with your animals for guarding livestock? It really depends on your homestead and it’s needs. I’m going to mention a few breeds that we have found useful or have had friends find useful.

To start off with, is the Great Pyrenees. I think a lot of people know about these big fluffy white livestock guardians. What we found however that people do need to keep in mind if they get a Pyr is that they were bred to protect livestock in a large area. They can roam for 5 miles. That means that if your homestead is near any busy roads, this breed may or may not work out for you depending on if you can manage to keep them on your property. That said, the Great Pyrenees is a wonderful livestock guardian. Especially the females tend to be tender with baby any critters.

A Kommondor and Pyrenees cross watching over a goat kid.
A Kommondor and Pyrenees cross watching over a goat kid.

I will be doing a several part blog on this topic because there is just so much to discuss on breeds and what makes a good farm dog or good livestock guardian dog. Including I will be talking about a breed that is a dual purpose, homesteader’s best friend, invaluable to any homestead. Watch for this series.

Something that is very important to keep in mind is that it is extremely important for the well being and safety of your livestock, only take on livestock guardian dogs who are either pure or crossed with other livestock guardian breeds. Crossing out to other types of dogs is like playing Russian Roulette. Maybe the dog does the job, but maybe the instincts from the other breed are what ends up being dominant.

Look at our blog section on www.homesteadingedu.com. We are also getting ready to roll out a course there on selecting, raising and training your livestock guardian dog. We will let you all know as soon as this course is available. It will be only $9.99 which is a real steal for a course on dog training, and raising.

Until next time,

Homestead in health ya’ll!

Emily

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