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Livestock Guarding Dogs

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In the late 1970's, there began a resurgence in the use of an ancient form of sheep protection, the guarding dog. Several factors contributed to this phenomenon, including Federal restrictions on the use of substances to kill predators, the relative inability of existing techniques to provide adequate relief from predation in certain situations, and a desire by some to use nonlethal methods of reducing the loss of livestock to predators.

The use of guarding dogs to protect livestock1 can be traced to many centuries B.C. in Europe and Asia, but little was recorded about how the dogs were actually worked. Only recently have researchers begun to find answers to pertinent questions about livestock guarding dogs.

There is no doubt that some dogs can protect sheep, but under what conditions is a guarding dog a good choice or an unwise choice for deterring predation? If a guarding dog is a reasonable choice, how does the owner acquire, raise, train, and effectively use a dog with a flock? Which breeds are best?


Megan Kendall

Purdue University

Date 1999
Issue July 1999
Series Agriculture Information Bulletin
Publisher U.S Department of Agriculture
Department Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Location of Publication Beltsville, Maryland
Language English
Notes This government document was found at the U.S Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library:
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Dogs
  4. Farm animals
  5. Guard dogs
  6. Livestock
  7. Mammals
  8. Sheep