Livestock Guardian Dogs, or LGDs, are invaluable to anyone with a homestead that includes poultry, sheep or goats and needs protection from predators. Most folks have a preference or an opinion on the best LGDs to protect their flock (this "flock" could include animals and small humans), but all five of these breeds are solid choices.
These breeds all have incredible stories and their heritage goes all the way back to early civilization (like Biblical times) in some cases! As you can imagine, socialization experiences for all five livestock guardian dogs are really important during their youth.
1. Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolia is the peninsula that constitutes the Asian portion of Turkey.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) explains,
"It was at this crossroads of early civilization that sheep and goat herders developed a livestock guardian known as the Coban Kopegi ("shepherd's dog"), forerunner of today's Anatolia." American ranchers began importing Anatolians in the postwar 1950s, but the breed really took hold in this country in the 1970s.
These fast and agile dogs with superior hearing are more than a match for predators.
The Anatolian Shepherd dog was developed to be independent and forceful, responsible for guarding its master's flocks without human assistance or direction. They weigh between 90 and 150 pounds so this breed needs a strong pack leader! The general appearance of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a tall, rugged and powerful livestock guardian dog with a dense double coat, and a broad strong head.
2. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees was once known as the royal dog of France and, with his stunning white coat and imposing presence, is considered to be one of the most beautiful breeds.
In France, the Great Pyrenees is nicknamed Patou, a word meaning shepherd.
This livestock guard dog weights between 85 and 115 pounds. Thanks to his long, thick double coat, he thrives in colder environments. They will bark at anything that seems to be a threat. And this could be a suspicious looking friend!
For many centuries the Komondor (Koms) has been the king of Hungarian flock dogs. Koms guard sheep at pasture and are known to run off wolves.
The AKC explains that the working Komondor lives during the greater part of the year in the open, and his coat of heavy white cords serves to help him blend in with his flock and to protect him from extreme weather.
His main role is predator protection.
A big male can weigh over 100 pounds. The beautiful corded coat requires special care. They are agile and light-footed!
4. Tibetan Mastiff
Known as the livestock guardian dog supreme, they are aloof and territorial with strangers.
Our staff found this interesting fact in research: The Tibetan Mastiff is so ancient, and Tibet has always been so isolated, that it's impossible to say how or when they came to be! They were the mighty guardians of the Himalayas.
They weigh well over 100 pounds. They are protective and loyal but they do not display aggressive behavior as some may believe. Other breeds in the Mastiff family include the Pyrenean Mastiff and the Spanish Mastiff.
They are known for being tall with a heavy coat and a bushy tail that curves over his back.
This 100-115 pound dog is loyal, fearless and sweet.
The livestock guardian dog came to Hungary in the Middle Ages, but it's thought their lineage goes back to ancient Turkey and Tibet. These nimble footed protectors make wonderful companion dogs too.
This guardian dog breed is not only for livestock protection but they're self-thinkers.
The Kuvasz can tend to become overweight so you must watch the amount of dog food that is given each day. They are very willing to do anything for treats!
Do you have a fave LGD from the above list? Did we miss any of the most popular LGD's? Please let us know in the comments below!