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USE OF GUARDING DOGS TO PROTECT SHEEP AND GOATS
Presented by
Dr. Frank Craddock
Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist
San Angelo, Texas
during a seminar in Joshua, TX, 2000
Potential Benefits
  1. Reduced predation.
  2. Reduced labor (i.e. no longer confining or corralling nightly, graze in a tighter flock, thus are easier to monitor).
  3. If night confinement is discontinued, pastures can be more efficiently utilized and condition of sheep and goats may improve.
  4. Increased utilization of acres where predators made grazing prohibitive prior to the use of dogs.
  5. Increase in grazable acres may provide opportunity to increase the size of the flock.
  6. Improved potential for profit.
  7. Dog alerts owner to disturbance (predators) near the flock.
  8. Increased self-reliance in managing predator problems.
  9. Protection for family members and farm property.
  10. Peace of mind.
Potential Problems
  1. Dog harasses sheep and goats (usually a play behavior), resulting in injury or death.
  2. Dog does not guard sheep or goats.
  3. Dog is overly aggressive to people.
  4. Dog harasses other animals (livestock or wildlife).
  5. Expenditure of labor to train and supervise the dog.
  6. Dog destroys property (chewing objects and digging).
  7. Dog is subject to illness, injury and premature death.
  8. Dog roams beyond farm boundaries causing problems with neighbors (critical in urban settings).
  9. Financial expenditure with no guarantee of the dog being successful.
  10. Dog interferes when sheep and goats are moved or interferes with herd dog.
  11. Dog affects the use of other predator control activities.
Source: U.S.D.A. Agriculture Information Bulletin 588 entitled Livestock Guarding Dogs: Protecting Sheep from Predators.

Summary of 1986 survey characterizing livestock guarding dogs.
Benefits and Problems (Percent) *
  Effectiveness Economics Stays with Sheep Aggressive Toward DogInjures OtherProblems
Breed Number
of Dogs
Very Somewhat Not Asset Breakeven Liability Mostly Usually Rarely Predators Dogs Sheep People None Minor Major
Great Pyrenees
437
71
22
7
83
11
6
53
24
23
95
67
7
4
42
47
11
Komondor
138
69
1
12
82
8
10
50
23
27
94
77
24
17
38
48
14
Akbash
62
69
22
9
71
12
12
71
12
17
100
92
20
6
36
49
15
Anatolian
56
77
13
10
82
8
10
69
16
15
96
86
14
9
42
48
10
Maremma
20
70
20
10
84
5
11
79
16
5
94
94
20
5
58
24
18
Shar
11
40
30
30
50
0
50
30
20
50
88
89
33
25
40
40
20
Kuvasz
7
57
29
14
80
0
20
33
33
34
100
67
40
0
0
86
14
Hybrid
23
87
4
9
84
5
11
70
13
17
95
85
18
0
43
38
19
Other
9
43
29
28
20
20
60
33
17
50
83
100
43
29
17
50
33
Total
763
71
21
8
82
9
9
55
22
22
95
74
14
7
41
46
13
Data collected from 399 livestock producers.
*With the exception of "number of dogs", all numbers are percentages.

 

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