Livestock Guardian Dogs

Jessica is a homesteading and homeschooling mother of seven living in northwest Ohio.  She has a passion for encouraging other mothers to grow and preserve nutritious food for their families.

Jessica may receive commissions for purchases made through links on this post. Thank you for all your support! 


Just a week ago my dog, Leela, gave birth to an adorable litter of puppies.  It’s been an exciting and exhausting experience as first-time breeders.  Since canines are occupying a lot of my thought-space right now I thought that this month I would share about the importance of livestock guardians.
Every homestead needs a good dog (or two) to guard the property and protect the animals and children from predators.  But it isn’t as simple as just going to the animal shelter and picking out a pet.  A working dog, like a livestock guardian, needs to possess a specific temperament and skill set that make it perfect for this job.
There are many breeds of livestock guardians, including but not limited to:

  • Great Pyrenees
  • Komondor
  • The Mastiff Breeds – Tibetan, Spanish, Pyrenean
  • The Turkish Shepherd Breeds – Akbash, Anatolian, Kangal, Boz
  • Central Asian Shepherd Dog
  • Kuvasz
  • Karakachan

These dogs have the correct nature to remain alert to threats and to make the noise necessary to deter them, as well as the size and determination to defend against predator attacks. While some dogs from breeds not classified as livestock guardians can possibly be trained to do these things over time, the breeds mentioned above are born ready to do the work.  Typically they only need a little training in property boundaries and, in my experience, to not view smaller livestock like chickens as toys.
The main job of these animals is to keep predators from getting near the livestock.  A common complaint with livestock guardians is how they bark ALL NIGHT LONG.  While it can be annoying, this is a necessary part of their job.  Dogs have better hearing than us.  All throughout the night they detect the coyotes in the distance and sound the alarm with their loud, protective barks, letting those predators know not to come near unless they want a fight.  This is the primary mode of protection.  If predators are desperate and willing to engage in a fight, then the guardian dog will be ready to defend, even to the death.  They know their job and will do anything to protect their livestock and people. Some breeds, like the turkish shepherd dogs, have been known to be able to single-handedly take down a wolf.
But one dog can’t handle a pack of wolves, and this is one of the reasons livestock guardians work best in pairs.  Double the protection means they can back each other up in larger fights.  I also find that my two livestock guardians take turns resting and working.  Since guarding is a full-time job, someone needs to be on alert while the other sleeps.  It is amazing to watch the sleeping dog instantly jump into action when they recognize the warning bark of their partner.
Raising any animal is a huge investment.  If you’ve been homesteading long enough, you know the damage a single predator can do to your animals.  I will never forget the year before we got our dogs, walking out to my chicken coop to find half of my flock destroyed by a fox.  Since getting the guardians we have never seen another fox on our property.
So, if you have been wanting to get a dog for your homestead and don’t know what breed to get, I would highly recommend looking into one of the many loyal and hard-working guardian breeds.  There is peace of mind in knowing that your livestock are in good hands day and night with your dogs on patrol!


Please join us by sharing, continuing the conversation below, and connecting with Jessica at the following:


MORE Stories

Dealing with Expectations

Dear mamas.
This is Sarah from @sarah.akti
I do not live in a perfect house.
I do not have perfect kids.
I do not have a perfect garden.
I am not a perfect mum.
I am not a perfect homesteader…

Read More

Saturday Morning Pancakes

After a busy daycare week for our toddler, and the hectic joys of infant co-parenting + farming, weekend mornings are eagerly anticipated family time; the weekend promise of adventures great and small is so refreshing…

Read More

Simple Wheat Bread Recipe

Simple Wheat Bread Recipe

This is a great, simple recipe that can be quickly thrown together multiple times a week for the perfect, from-scratch, whole wheat bread recipe. It’s a half wheat, half white flour recipe with a slightly nutty flavor, a hint of sweetness from the honey, and the perfect texture. I love that this recipe is so versatile that it can be sliced as an addition to a cozy soup dinner or hold perfectly for spread and sandwiches. I make this recipe multiple times a week in our home. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect recipe to jump into making bread at home, you’ve come to the right place.

Read More

Our Homesteading “Why”

Greetings! I’m Mandy Vander Kolk, a joyfully married mother of three, suburban homesteader, and sourdough enthusiast! From very early on, I have had a great love for the natural world.

Read More

Two-Loaf Artisan Sourdough Bread

Soon after I began my sourdough journey a few years ago, it quickly became very clear that one loaf was never enough for our family! Between my husband and I and our three children, we can easily devour an entire loaf in one sitting….

Read More

Mountain Lion Hunting Montana

Hi homestead mamas! As mountain lion hunting is a large piece of our homesteading life, I thought I would share a few words on the topic.

Mountain lion hunting is primarily done for conservation…

Read More

The Giving Pie

This recipe is nothing exciting, there I’ve said it. But I’ve got a lot on my heart and fruit I’m hoping to share will you; it may fill you in ways no dinner can…

Read More

Join In The Conversation

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

A Patchwork of Homestead Mamas

An inspiring & encouraging community of Homestead Mamas. For growers, hunters, foragers, & explorers; with little hands & little hearts alongside.

Join Our Community