Every farm needs a farm dog! I’ve researched many livestock guardian breeds from Anatolian Shepherds to Australian Shepherds and everything in between. Since we have confirmed coyotes on our property, I felt it was time to add our own farm dog. I really liked what I read about the Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd mix for several reasons.
Anatolian Shepherd Dogs
These family friendly livestock guardians will protect everything on the farm with proper training! Even the family cat will find a friend in this fierce protector. This breed can reach 29” tall and weigh up to 150 pounds.
Check out this link for more information: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/anatolian-shepherd-dog/
Great Pyrenees Dogs
The Great Pyrenees dog is a familiar breed in our area- almost every farm around has a Great Pyrenees. One draw back to this breed is that they wander. This dog will literally learn to walk the borders of the property every morning and evening. Their “home” range can be up to 2 miles, so if your property is less than two miles, the dog is likely to roam into your neighbors property.
This breed is also a fierce protector of their livestock and farm family! One major difference between this breed and the Anatolian Shepherd is that Great Pyrenees are very affectionate dogs.
Read more about the Great Pyrenees breed here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/great-pyrenees/
Mixed Breed Dogs
I am a fan of mixed-breed dogs. One benefit is that usually you get the best of both breeds. When researching these two dog breeds, I found multiple farmers commenting that when these two particular livestock guardian dogs are bred, the result is less roaming and a friendlier pup.
For this reason, I decided to add a Great Pyrenees/ Anatolian Shepherd mix dog to our farm.
We picked Crew up about two hours from our farm. He was already living with Goats, Cows, and chickens so I’m hoping he will do really well with all of our animals. So far, he is a normal, playful pup but he also seems to understand when the chickens, cats or goats have had enough of his playing one antics.
As the main caretaker of all our animals, I have to make sure Crew is being trained by me as well. With such a large breed dog, it is vitally important that he learn commands to sit, stay, come, ect. So that if he gets out of hand I can regain control. This is a whole new learning experience for me since we have two dogs inside that I have spoiled rotten. Leaving the pup outside in the barn at night made me feel guilty at first, but it is necessary for him to bond with his herd so he is compelled to protect them.
Although these pups are irresistibly fluffy and affectionate, they absolutely NEED to be outside. They were bred for a reason, for a purpose and they need a job or they will absolutely be a menace. This is why you rarely see them as only a pet.
“Crew” has been part of our farm family for almost four weeks now and he’s already grown so much! He is going to be a BIG boy! He has bonded with all of us, including our other dogs and all the animals on the farm. Even the cats like Crew and tolerate his playful pawing at them.
Crew loves attention more than anything. He grunts happily and leans against you for extra attention. When I’m out working, he follows me everywhere and interacts with the other animals as I go about the daily chores of feeding, ect. We are excited to see how he progresses in his training since he already knows the commands for sit, stay and come.
A Huge Commitment
As you can see, I spent a lot of time researching and planning this new addition to our farm. I even picked the “perfect time”, when I would be home over Christmas break, so that I could devote as much time as possible to training this sweet puppy. That’s why it was so hard for me to admit that this was a Huge mistake. Ultimately, I am responsible for all of the animals here. Everyone is willing to help some when needed, but the bulk of the responsibility for these animals is on me.
The reality of how much I fell in love with this sweet puppy is not to be lost in the reality of knowing this was a mistake. Crew was so attached to me, he followed me everywhere. But he was also a puppy in all the normal puppy mischief. That’s really not something I can deal with right now. I have so many commitments, I quickly realized that there was no way I could properly train Crew. This is a two year commitment with a livestock guardian dog, and I realized that I had to do something soon. In fact, admitting it and doing something about it was a very hard thing for me to do, but it ultimately led to Crew being adopted by a family who is familiar with farm dogs and their requirements. Thankfully, I had so many people interested in adopting him that I could carefully choose a family who had a large cattle farm, chickens and even small children to keep Crew busy. I cried when he left and I still miss him when I go out to do chores and he isn’t there. Crew’s new family have been so kind, sending me updates and even some video of Crew playing with their one year old daughter.
This sweet boy will always have a place in my heart…