A guardian dog is a must-have addition to a working livestock farm. From the smallest backyard chicken farm to the largest cattle farm, all can benefit from the presence of at least one guard dog. Livestock guardian dogs will protect goats, sheep, cattle, rabbits, emus, turkeys, chickens or any other livestock you’re raising, plus these dog breeds can provide better protection that you can. Guardian dogs are with the livestock 24 hours a day, they are self-thinkers that can assess a potentially threatening situation and attack a predator without being told to do so. Protection dogs are bred to be aggressive towards all predators, but gentle with livestock. Read over these characteristics of the 12 most popular guardian dog breeds to help you select the breed that will be a good choice to protect your animals.
This guard dog breed is well-known for its keen eye sight and sense of smell. This large breed dog is also very agile and quick, well able to chase down and disable any wild predator that threaten the livestock. Anatolian Shepherds are very smart and easy to train. They are also very stubborn and may not always obey their owner’s command.
One of the best guard dog breeds to have on a farm that has frequent visitors. Their demeanor is calm, low energy and they don’t become aggressive unless challenged. Akbask guard dogs are extremely sensitive to their surroundings and can detect even the smallest change or sound in their environment that might indicate a predator is nearby. This large breed guardian dog is very gentle with newborn animals.
For centuries, the Great Pyrenees has been one of the most popular livestock guardian dogs. Trustworthy and aggressive towards predators, this is the best guard dog breed for nighttime protection. The Great Pyrenees is a nocturnal dog that will interact with livestock throughout the night. The thick double coat protects this dog breed from harsh elements and predator attacks.
One of the most recent dog breeds to be included on the guardian dog list. Kangals provide herd protection and have superior herding ability, but they are happy just to guard livestock too. Kangals are gentle, loyal, good with children and family pets.
Over-protecting fighting dogs that bark a lot. This guardian dog breed with cord-like hair is excellent for homesteads with a high volume of predators, but not for homesteads with children and frequent visitors. The thick, cord-like hair provides protection for the dog during fights with wolves and other large predators. The corded coat will need regular maintenance, or can be cut short for easy-care.
The Kuvasz is known as the class clown of guardian dog breeds. Very intelligent and very funny. This dog breed has a sense of humor that will keep you laughing while it works to protect your livestock. Good with children, healthy and typically live to be 12 years old.
A very loyal pack breed of protection dogs. Good with children, pets and livestock and will literally lay down its life to protect a member of its pack. However, anyone or anything outside of the Pyrenean Mastiff’s pack is considered a threat. Early and continuous socializing is needed for this breed.
Polish Tatra Sheepdog
Herding and guarding sheep is this dog breeds specialty. They also make excellent personal protection dogs and will not attack unless commanded. Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are large, intelligent, active and do not drool, a big plus when employing them as a personal protection dog.
This breed is best suited for protecting free-range animals. Friendly and interactive with livestock, yet keenly aware of surrounding and will attack predators that come in from the air or land.
The most hardy guardian dog breed that can withstand harsh climates. Good dog choice for regions that have extreme heat or extreme cold. Tibetan Mastiffs are nocturnal and will interact with livestock throughout the nighttime.
Estrela Mountain Dog
Very intelligent and protective. The older Estrela Mountain Dog typically train the young pups how to be a guard dog for livestock. This breed takes over full protection of newborn animals at birth, helping to lick them clean and not allowing anyone or anything around them.
The Welsh Corgi is a low maintenance protection dog that also enjoys being around people. This small dog breed is excellent for providing protection for geese, ducks, turkeys and chickens. Welsh Corgis are also good for herding larger animals. The main drawback with this protection breed is their size – they are unable to fight off large predators that threaten the livestock.