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Livestock Guardian Dogs

October 15, 2023

National Livestock Guardian Dog Appreciation and Awareness Day is October 26th. These very good boys played a huge role in helping civilization progress: evidence of Livestock Guardian Dogs helping protect cattle dates back 12,000 years. By about 9000 years ago, selective breeding was coming into play. Fido can still be found on many farms today! A Clarkesville, GA vet celebrates the LGD below.

Guardian Dogs

LGDs are happily panting away in the AKC’s Working Dogs Group. Some of the breeds one may find working as an LGD include the adorably fluffy Great Pyrenees, the Maremmas, Akbash and Anatolian Shepherd. Many of these pooches are quite large. That isn’t by coincidence: LGDs needed to be able to protect their hooved charges from wolves, bears, leopards, and other big predators.

Guard Dogs Vs. Protection Dogs

There is a distinct difference between a guardian dog and a protection dog. Guardian dogs focus on protecting property and livestock, while protection dogs’ are solely focused on keeping their humans safe. That said, many pups can do well at either job.

Adopting A Guardian Dog

Do you have a farm or homestead? If so, you may want to consider getting an LGD. However, while Fido does have protective instincts, he won’t automatically know what to do. Training is required. For instance, you may need to teach your canine companion not to chase your chickens around. If possible, have your pup spend some time with an older, experienced LGD.

History

As mentioned above, LGDs have been around for thousands of years. How did they come about? It’s likely that some of the early ones were chosen because they resembled the sheep and goats they were guarding. (Fun fact: wild sheep were originally black, gray, or brown. White ones only came about through selective breeding, and only after Roman water management made enough water available for unlimited washing and drying.)

LGDs As Pets

LGDs are still popular on many farms, but these smart and brave pooches also make wonderful pets. Just do some research before choosing one. For instance, a Great Pyrenees may look like a giant, fluffy Golden Retriever, but they are larger, more active, and are much more serious. If your canine companion is an LGD, give Fido a special treat or some extra attention for his big day.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care. As your Clarkesville, GA animal clinic, we’re here to help!

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