I’ve had quite a bit of interest and questions about our ‘Livestock Guard Dog,’ Abby.
Abby at 10 weeks old!
She is an Anatolian Shepherd and Great Pyrenees cross, born and bred to be a guardian of sheep. Her mom, Lisa, was the Anatolian and her dad was the Pyrenees, both of which were expert guard dogs of Polypay sheep in central California. We’ve really run into a bit of bad luck regarding the loss of sheep this past year due to coyotes and we researched and found that if you have a predator problem already, you should get a LGD as they’re most effective. So that’s what we did!
Abby is a wonderful ‘little’ pup, (little in age, not size). She’s currently five months old and as big as our boxer cross, Oliver, and our border collie cross, Levi!
Sneaky girl going after Levi’s tail. He hates that.
Abby keeps Levi in bright spirits… well, actually to tell the truth he isn’t too excited about knowing her. He thinks she’s rather obnoxious, but one day when she doubles his weight, he’ll wish he was her friend.
Did I mention she loves the snow? Oh yes, this girl and snow are ‘one’ together. She rolls around and lies in it just as content as can be. Her hair coat is medium length and very dense, not quite like the Anatolian and not quite like the Pyrenees which is good for us where we live. We have extreme temperature fluctuations in the summer, 90-100 degrees during the day and down in the 50’s and sometimes 40’s at night. It can be quite enough to freeze you out. I was hoping that Abby wouldn’t have the super long coat of the Pyrenees because then I would have to shave her like Levi and keeping burrs out of her coat would not be fun at all.
While Abby is cute, adorable, large, adorable, cute, adorable… did I mention that she’s adorable? I do believe that these types of dogs should only be owned by someone with large enough acreage. They are a working breed, Abby would chew down your house if she didn’t have things to keep her occupied… and yes, she does chew anything she can find and steal without your knowledge. And she’s very quick about it.
So, yes this face does look innocent, intelligent, bright, adorable… oh there I go again… She does have special needs. Needs to have a job, to do her own thing, to display her sudden bursts of hard-headedness, to bark in the night (something your neighbors would not think she was adorable for), and to protect what she must. At five months, these traits are very strong and only to get stronger with age.
“I only look sweet and innocent.”
We had lambs yesterday, (it was ‘Favorites Wednesday so I had to make you wait…) a black and white ram lamb and a lilac ewe lamb out of our two year old Celeste and sired by our strapping four horned lilac ram, Dub. The first lambs of the year and my horse barn has turned in to a sheep barn. We’ve put plywood across the horse stall entries and seperated the ewes into three categories; with child but not lambing soon, lambing soon, and have lambs. Our stalls are large, 12×24 and we have a 12×12 we’re using as a ‘bonding’ stall or ‘jug.’ It is working out okay and the horses have a lean-to off the side to stay out of the weather.
Abby, our LGD, has taken quite a vigilence and checks on her babies frequently.
Being only five months old, we know that she is going to be quite the livestock guard dog, she has such instinct and is enthralled with those lambs –much to their mother’s disapointment.
Abby tried and tried to do an army crawl into the stall to just be by the lamb’s sides but she was kindly shown the door a few times by Celeste. Abby wouldn’t take no for an answer and so took a more passive position and accepted just staying at the threshold.
She would sometimes leave the lamb’s stall and go to check on the other sheep through a hole in the plywood (thanks to our other ram, Dudley — interior pine board siding is in the plan).
“Why is she letting that dog spy on us?” Sophia says to Maud, both being very prego.
Meanwhile 2B our barn kitty looks on… what a bunch of peeping toms! Ha ha ha. Hee hee. Ho. Ahh… (pun intended, but he is ‘fixed’ it just… sounded good)!
The horses, feeling cast out, gathered around outside wondering what all the fuss is about.
“Lambs? Who cares about those little snivley things? Where’s the food!?”
I’ve also decided that my horses aren’t shades of dun, they’re actually trendy barn colors; weathered siding, aged copper, rust.
So, to celebrate our new arrivals Annie and I took a spin on Deere.
Bouncing down our old dirt road is a favorite past time, and puts her to sleep quite well.
We came back to our trusty five month old pooch, waiting patiently to come back from her shift of lamb watching.
She’s a good doggy. And did I mention she’s the same size, exactly, as our boxer mix and our border collie mix… already?!