Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dogs


Tags: livestock, dogs,

Great Pyrenees pup

Livestock guardian dogs don’t just protect sheep and goats, they can also protect poultry. If you’re considering buying a dog to protect your flock, check out Great Pyrenees. Here’s what two owners of Great Pyrenees had to say about the dogs’ ability as livestock guardians.

Protects Anything in Her Territory

I have not shut my layer hens in the coop at night for years because our Great Pyrenees, Pearl, lives on our three acres with them. We have now added a Border Collie that keeps the squirrels up the trees and the snakes moving on. Pearl considers squirrels and snakes beneath her notice, and she taught the Border Collie not to chase hens.

Pearl was of normal adopting age, about 7 or 8 weeks, when we got her. She had been raised outdoors with parents that lived with goats and chickens — even though they didn't have any kind of training. It took us about a year to get the three acres fenced where she lives with the goats and chickens full time. During that year, as she grew from a puppy to an adult, she came and went with me from inside our house to the chicken yard, gardens and pastures. She doesn't care about the chickens, and wouldn't mind if they all went away, but just because they live in her space, they’re protected. Like my other dogs, she also barks and jumps into the air if a hawk or other large bird flies too low.

 Gwen Roland

Magnificent Animals

We have two Great Pyrenees, now two and three years old. They’re like big teddy bears. I didn't train them; it just comes natural for them to protect and love any animal that we feed. They even take care of our chickens and guineas. Fourteen baby guineas hatched in our pasture last summer, and we still have all 14 of them. We have never lost an animal to prey.
12/10/2017 4:15:22 PM

We purchased our LGD Pyrenees brothers and they were raised (now 6 months old) with chickens, ducks, and pigs; however, they chase my chickens, will snatch eggs if not monitored, and chased a hen down today and were eating her live! I am beyond distraught and don't know where to turn for guidance.

7/11/2013 3:56:33 AM

I will second that Great Pyrenees will protect poultry, and usually (as the author noted above) will protect anything in their territory.  It doesn't seem to matter if the dog likes them or not - a good LGD will protect them anyway!

Our 1/2 Anatolian Shepherd, 1/2 Pyr mix even protects the cats (even the few that hiss and throw a fit at him).  We even started feeding him in the bed of our 4x4 truck - because he wouldn't stop a couple of pesky ducks from eating his food.  He'll stop another dog, he'll growl at the cats - but not at the birds!  Once he had a duck stand on his head trying to get to his kibble, and he did growl at that one and shake it off!

I would also like to confirm what others have been saying about rescue Livestock Guardian Dogs.   While you have to be careful and know what to look for, many of them are good for guarding stock.  The reason they end up in shelters, many times has more to do with the owners than it does the dog.  People want to make conventional pets out of a dog that wants to guard stock.  Some people get these pups thinking they are like most other dogs.  They are not.  If you're thinking of getting one you should definitely do your homework.

Maria Zyla made a very good post about Pyrs in the comments below.  People thinking of getting an LGD would do well to read it.

mariamihm mentioned (a couple of years ago) that her Pyr was a goat killer and a chicken chaser.  She doesn't mention if she trained the dog form a pup or how old it was when she got it.  

April Zumbaum come right out and says that the pup was not raised with birds at the breedrs farm (I appreciate her honesty). This was the beginning of the problem.  While it is often still possible to train older LGD pups to respect particular stock - it can be a lot more difficult.  A really big problem occurs when buyers get a pup from a breeder who does not take care of and train their dogs.  For instance, if there was a chicken killer at the breeder's farm (be it a LGD breed or not) and the pup saw that and tried to emulate that without being corrected (because no one was ever looking), that is hard to undo.

Our best Livestock Guardian ever, was given to us for free, because he chased cars that were coming and going from a rodeo grounds.  He watched the dog from the farm across the street do it hundreds of times a week.  The owners tried to correct him but were too busy with life to nip it in the bud.  Bear no longer chases cars, we never have coyotes near our property,  I watched him bolt after a cougar last month, and he has become the cornerstone of our Anatolian / Pyr breeding program.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.  I just love these dogs and want nothing more than to see the right owners end up with the right dogs!

You can see what we're up to at:

Mary Hall
2/8/2013 5:53:43 PM

I adopted an elderly Great Pyrenees that has been a wonderful experience....actually she adopted us. She is everything you would want in a guardian and companion with a multiple household of creatures. I don't know how many years she has left but she will treated like a family member and never be cold or hot or wet or alone again. When I first met her wondering the neighborhood she had her tongue out and whined for affection and a pet. She is losing her hair rapidly and stumbles and falls even when she wags her tail sometimes on our hardwood floors. Shes old shes ours we love her and feel very safe with her guarding over us with our 5 cats and mix pittie. My gentle giant. PLEASE ALWAYS REMEMBER TO ADOPT FORGOTTEN GREAT PYRENEES WITH THE RESCUES ONLINE. THERE ARE SO MANY THAT NEED HOMES WHEN PEOPLE FEEL THEY CAN'T CARE FOR THEM OR THEY HAVE BEEN USED UP AND TOSSED AWAY. ADOPT AND RESCUE AND FOSTER OUR GENTLE GREAT PYRENEES. THAT FEW PEOPLE REALLY KNOW ABOUT.

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