Livestock guardian dogs play a crucial role in protecting sheep from predators, and their importance cannot be overstated. At Bear Creek Ranch, we had a devastating loss of 22 sheep to coyotes in one summer, which made me realize the need for reliable and trustworthy protectors. That’s when I decided to get livestock guardian dogs, and it has been the best decision I’ve ever made. In this blog post, I want to share my personal experience of owning and working with livestock guardian dogs, specifically a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd cross named Angus and a Boz Kangal cross named Tex, who guard the sheep at our ranch and provide the wool for our needle felting kits.
When I hear Angus and Tex barking on their nightly patrol, it gives me a sense of comfort and peace. I know that they are doing their job and keeping our sheep safe from predators. It’s a sound that I have grown to love and rely on, and it helps me sleep knowing that they are watching over the flock.
However, I also know that protecting the sheep comes with risks, and our LGDs are not immune to injury. Angus, in particular, often comes back from his patrols with blood on him, a ripped ear, or other minor injuries. These injuries are a testament to the lengths that he will go to protect the sheep, and it’s a reminder of the dedication and bravery that these dogs possess.
Our LGDs are not just protectors; they are also great companions. They love to play and cuddle and are always up for a good belly rub. The bond between our LGDs and the sheep is truly special.
While Angus and Tex do spend a lot of time with the sheep, they do wander off occasionally. As much as we love our LGDs and rely on them for protection, they are still dogs and have their own instincts and needs. Sometimes they will follow a scent or investigate something that catches their attention, but they always come back to the flock.
That being said, their presence is still a significant deterrent to predators. Even when they are not right next to the sheep, their scent and the knowledge that there are large, protective dogs in the area can be enough to keep predators at bay. Their presence has a calming effect on the sheep. They know that they are safe and protected, which is essential for their overall health and well-being.
Angus and Tex have made a significant impact on our ranch, and I am forever grateful for their presence. They have not only protected our sheep but have also brought joy and love to our lives. If you are considering getting livestock guardian dogs, I highly recommend it. They are truly amazing creatures, and the bond that you will form with them is truly special.
To learn more about Livestock Guardian dogs check out EweTube 54, we interview Steve of Blackleaf Guardians and he shares a wealth of knowledge of the different breeds and their specialties. (This is where we got Tex)