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Have you ever seen a big fluffy dog living among sheep, alpacas, or other livestock animals on a farm? Then you’ve seen a livestock guardian dog. These large, devoted working dogs have been bred to protect livestock from predators for many centuries, beginning in Europe and Asia, and now they are often found in the U.S. as well.
What are the most common breeds of livestock guardian dogs? According to the Livestock Guardian Dogs Association, they include Akbash, Anatolian Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Komondor, Kuvasz, Maremma, and Tibetan Shepherd. There are also other, rarer breeds that are seldom seen in the U.S. The size, coloring, and coats of many of these breeds make them blend in well with the livestock they are protecting.
Many livestock guardian dogs are raised side by side with the animals they will protect as adults, beginning as very young puppies. Ideally, working guardian dogs will form closer bonds with the flock than with humans. Livestock guardian breeds also make excellent service dogs for people with disabilities, and their calm, protective nature can make them good pets for families with children…but potential owners should be aware that they can be a bit independent in nature.
Interested in learning more about these gentle giants? Check out the Livestock Guardian Dogs Association website for lots of great information.
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