A Guide to Choosing a Homestead Livestock Working Dog

Colonel David Hancock in his book Heritage of the Dog says that “The history of the dog is the history of man; when the tribes migrated, their valuable flock-guarding dogs went with them”. “The herd guarding breeds have three principle elements in common which include their general appearance, their protective instincts and the fact that they are found wherever the Indo-Europeans settled.

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A Guide to Choosing a Homestead Livestock Working Dog

A Guide to Choosing a Homestead Livestock Working Dog

A herding dog, also known as a stock dog or working dog, is a type of pastoral dog that either has been trained in herding or belongs to breeds developed for herding. Their ability to be trained to act on the sound of a whistle or word of command is renowned throughout the world.

Obscure breeds like Maremma, Akbash, Komondor, Kangal and Kuvasz are the dogs that were developed in Europe and Asia to protect flocks of sheep in all terrain. These independent, loyal, courageous dogs have done their job well for centuries. Farmers in each settlement developed dogs that could adapt to the climate and terrain. Large dogs, but not oversized; heavy-coated dogs impervious to cold and snow and courageous enough to protect the flock against wolves, bears, and other predators.

The dogs protect the masters and the sheep in the high mountain summer pastures and the winter valleys and foothills. Different breeds are suited for different circumstances, and farmers and ranchers select carefully to find the dog best suited for their needs. Sheep still provide wool and meat, and in some areas, milk for cheese, and the shepherds and their dogs still stand guard over the flocks.

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https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/4-h123l.pdf

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