Livestock guardian dog breeds have been used in different parts of the world to protect sheep flocks and cattle herds.
These dogs possess unique traits that make them keep predators at bay. But what matters is the breed you choose. Some perform better than others.
If you live in an area frequented by predators, livestock guardian dogs are all you need. You don’t have to suffer another loss when a dog can guard your herds at night and in the field.
We will discuss the most common livestock guardian dogs with a good reputation for protecting herds. Read on to make your choice wisely based on the information provided.
- Are Livestock Guardian Dogs Effective?
- Livestock Guardian Dog Breed Comparison
- Akbash Dog
- Anatolian Shepherd Dog
- Armenian Gampr Dog
- Bucovina Shepherd
- Cão De Gado Transmontano
- Caucasian Shepherd Dog
- Central Asian Shepherd
- Great Pyrenees
- Kangal Dog
- Karakachan (The Bulgarian Shepherd)
- Komondor Dog (The Hungarian Shepherd)
- Maremmano-abruzzese Sheepdog (Maremma Sheepdog)
- Sarabi Dog (The Iranian Shepherd)
- Slovensky Cuvac
- Pyrenean Mastiff Dog
- Spanish Mastiff Dog
- Tibetan Mastiff Dog
- Some Thoughts
Are Livestock Guardian Dogs Effective?
Yes. Livestock Guardian Dogs (LDG) can effectively protect your herd from predators. LDGs have high situational awareness and are aggressive enough to scare away the invaders and sometimes attack if necessary.
On the other hand, they bond well with other animals and humans.
LGDs have been around for centuries and are used in different parts of the world for the same reason. In many cases, these dogs are instantly protectors. They don’t require human instructions to perform their roles.
However, some LDGs require proper training before becoming the ultimate protector in the field. Some breeds are also better than others as livestock guardian dogs.
If you are looking for the best LGD breeds, you have unlimited options to choose from. Consider Akbash, Anatolian Shepherd, Armenian Gampr, Bucovina Shepherd, Kengal, Central Asian Shepherd, just to mention a few.
Livestock Guardian Dog Breed Comparison
When looking for a reliable LGD breed, consider factors such as size, temperament, and protective instincts.
But that will not narrow down your search. You will still have many options to choose from.
This article helps get the best livestock guardian dog breed to buy. We will look at the desirable traits of the most common LGD breeds to consider. With this comparison, you should easily handpick the best for you.
|Livestock Guardian Dog Breeds||Size (height inch/weight in lbs)||Lifespan (years)||Cost|
|Anatolian Shepherd Dog||27-32/85-145||10-13||$1,000-$5,000|
|Armenian Gampr Dog||23+/115 average||12-15||$1000-$1500|
|Cão De Gado Transmontano||27-33 /110-165||9-12||$1200-$1800|
|Caucasian Shepherd Dog||26-28/100-220||10-12||$1,000-$3,000|
|Central Asian Shepherd||25-32/90-150||12-15||$1200-$1500|
|Karakachan (The Bulgarian Shepherd)||25-30/88-135||12-14||$800 – $1000|
|Komondor Dog (The Hungarian Shepherd)||25-32/80-130||10-12||$1,000 average|
|Maremmano-abruzzese Sheepdog (Maremma Sheepdog)||25-29/66-99||12-15||$1500 – $2500|
|Sarabi Dog (The Iranian Shepherd)||27-38/132-200||12-17||$500-$1000|
|Šarplaninac||22+/66-99||11-13||$1500 – $2000|
|Slovensky Cuvac||23-28/68-97||11-13||$1800 – $2500|
|Pyrenean Mastiff Dog||28+/110-150+||10-13||$1500 – $3000|
|Spanish Mastiff Dog||28+/145-220+||10 years average||$1,200–$1,800|
|Tibetan Mastiff Dog||24-29/70-150||12-15||$1,500 – $5,000|
Akbash dogs are native to Turkey and come first on our list of top LGD breeds for their personality.
They weigh about 75-130 pounds and grow to 27-39 inches tall. Their sizes depend on gender and other conditions such as climate, food, and health status.
These dogs mainly have white and biscuit coat colors and effectively protect sheep. Their light color allows them to blend in the flock and be distinguished from dark-colored predators.
Akbash dogs are known for their high speed and agility, made possible because of their small size and less weight.
The Akbash dog breed is very proactive with predators and only becomes hostile to non-predatory animals if threatened. Otherwise, they are good shepherds to protect your flock.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Anatolian is another Turkish dog breed. It stands 27-32 inches tall and weighs between 88-140 pounds.
They have a relatively long lifespan of about 10-13, but that depends on the health conditions, nutrition, and general care.
Anatolian shepherd dogs are independent, stubborn, agile, and speedy. They also have a significant level of intelligence and sense of hearing.
These are all the traits you need from a protector. They are territorial and respond quickly to any threats.
This LGD is preferred when grazing sheep in spacious areas such as ranges. That is because of the quick reaction they possess.
Their barking can turn into attacks if the predator advances toward the herd.
Armenian Gampr Dog
As the name suggests, Armenian dogs are native to Armenia. They grow more than 23 inches tall and weigh 115 pounds on average when mature.
You need this breed if you have spacious grazing land and sheep and goats in your herd.
Armenian Gampr dogs have many different coat colors, but that does not affect their role. Their approach to protection is to walk around the herd while surveying for any potential threat.
They are indecent thinkers that will take action when necessary.
Though Armenian dogs are low energy, they are quite reactive and can attack. However, you should not consider it if you have other LGDs.
Armenians never get along with other dog breeds. You also need a good fence around the range to keep it within the perimeter.
The Bucovina Shepherd breed is native to the Bukovina region of Romania. They are also called Southeastern European Shepherd.
The biggest highlight of this breed is its massive size. They can grow to 31 inches in height and weigh as much as 200 pounds, though females are slightly smaller.
Bucovina dogs are mainly white or beige-white with distinct gray or red patches. Despite their size, this breed effectively protects sheep flocks and cattle herds.
In fact, their body size gives them an advantage when scaring or attacking predators.
Bucovina Shepherds also make excellent family pets. They get along with children and family members but can be aggressive to strangers. As a result, they can double as home protectors.
Cão De Gado Transmontano
Cão De Gado Transmontano is a Portuguese-native breed with an immense reputation as a livestock Guardian Dog.
These dogs were primarily used to protect sheep flocks from wolves and have proved to be excellent LGDs to date. Its other name is a transmontane mastiff.
Cão De Gado Transmontano grows to about 27-33 inches high and weighs 110-165 pounds. The coat color can be yellow, black, fawn, or wolf with gray markings.
This breed is calm and has reserved reactions to dangers. The dogs are notably curious and intelligent and like large spaces where they can freely roam.
A remarkable feature of Cão De Gado Transmontano dogs is friendliness. They can form a strong bond with flocks and respond quickly to the master’s commands.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Shepherd dogs are probably the largest LGD we have on this list. These beasts from the Caucasus mountains of Armenia weigh up to 220 pounds and stand 28 inches tall.
If you are looking for a dog breed to intimidate predators and keep your flocks and herds safe, choose Caucasian Shepherd. They are known to be victorious in fighting wolves, jackals, and bears.
However, you should be ready to train them when you bring them home.
Caucasian Shepherds and independent thinkers and stubborn in nature. We don’t recommend them if you are a beginner in handling dogs. But for experienced people, are the best LGDs to choose from.
Central Asian Shepherd
Central Asia Shepherd is native to the Asian continent, coming from the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, Asia Minor, and Northeast China.
They can reach a height of 32 inches and weigh up to 150 pounds.
This breed was used to protect a flock of sheep and goats from different predators and is still reliable for the very purpose.
You can find them in many countries, where they set the bars as the best livestock guardian dogs.
Central Asian Shepherd is friendly and forms strong bonds with their human owners. They also accept new people introduced to them but are not suited to relocate.
That means you should buy them as puppies. They are easily trainable and vocal. You will need a large patrol area and a fence to contain it at night.
Americans call them the great Pyrenees but the rest of the world refers to this breed as the Pyrenean Mountain dog.
They are native to France but have worldwide popularity. These dogs are also massive, growing to a height of 32 inches and weighing up to 140 pounds.
Great Pyrenees dogs are known as mellow, low-energy dogs. Though they are popular as companion dogs, their performance as LGDs is also excellent.
This LGD breed prefers barking to scare away predators. It will not attack instantly but may be forced if the offender keeps on advancing towards the herd or flock.
If you are looking for a trainable, family-friendly LGD, choose Great Pyrenees.
Many Turkish breeds are good livestock guardian dogs, and Kengal is one of them.
Despite being fierce livestock protectors, Kengal dogs often get along with children and other pets. They will bond well with herds and flocks too.
Kengal dogs are excellent farm dogs that can survive cold winter weather. They have a double coat to provide warmth when the temperature drops.
Kangal dog breeds are average in size, weighing up to 145 pounds and standing a maximum of 23 inches tall.
They are not the type that will patrol the pasture area. Instead, they choose a conspicuous location where they watch the entire herd. Patrolling is not their thing, but they occasionally do it.
Karakachan (The Bulgarian Shepherd)
Karakachan, also known as Bulgarian Shepherd, are native to Bulgaria.
They have established themselves as good livestock guardian dogs because of their adaptability to a broad range of temperatures.
The Karakachan dogs are quite affectionate and loving to their human owners but aggressive to strangers. As a result, they require proper training to avoid possible attacks on people.
However, their aggressiveness makes them perfect LGD dogs for protecting the cattle herd and sheep flock from predators such as bears, wolves, and wild dogs.
Komondor Dog (The Hungarian Shepherd)
Komondor originated from Hungary and is commonly referred to as mop dogs because of their coat stricture.
Their shaggy appearance makes them distinct from other livestock guardian dog breeds, but it works to their advantage.
They can keep themselves warm even in freezing temperatures.
Komondors grow to a height of 32 inches and weigh up to 130 pounds. They are protectors for sheep flocks because their coat appearance blends well.
Any unsuspecting predator will be ambushed if it tries to take down any animal.
Komondors are an excellent LGD dog choice, but they need proper training to get along with people. That should commence when they are still puppies to keep them from attacking your visitors.
Maremmano-abruzzese Sheepdog (Maremma Sheepdog)
Maremma Sheepdog is the best to go for to protect your sheep flock. They seem happy tending to their duties, which is protecting the sheep.
They form strong bonds with the herd and remain guarded closely. They are not prone to wander away, but you still need a fence around the pasture area.
Maremmas are smaller in size compared to many other LGDs on this list. They can only grow to 29 inches tall and weigh just 99 pounds.
Bitches are slightly smaller and weigh even lesser. However, they are aggressive protectors that never allow any stranger on the property.
Sarabi Dog (The Iranian Shepherd)
Sarabi, also known as Iranian or Persian Mastiff, originates from Sarab County, Iran. This is the beast we have on this list.
The dogs can grow to 38 inches tall and weigh up to 200 pounds. Amazingly, they also have a long lifespan of up to 17 years.
Sarabi dogs have been used for centuries, protecting sheep and goats from predators. They can repel bears, wolves, jackals, and others. Their massive size in itself scares the sneaky predators.
The size of Sarabi can be intimidating, but its personality reveals otherwise.
This breed is calm, independent, controlled, and protective and characterized by a short undercoat, which can be fawn, sable, or black.
Šarplaninac, or Illyrian Shepherd Dog (Macedonia and Serbia), is named after the Sar Mountains in the Balkans. It is a small-sized LGD that can only grow to 24 inches high and weigh 99 pounds.
The dogs have a thick coat that grows to 4 inches long and comes in all colors. You can find them in iron-gray, black, white, fawn, and other coat colors.
Šarplaninac is a strongly-built dog. It may seem smaller than other LGD breeds, but it has enough strength to scare and attack predators that come to the vicinity.
They are mainly used to protect sheep flocks.
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Slovensky Cuvac dogs originated from Slovakia, traditionally used to protect sheep and goats from wolves, bears, and other local predators.
The dogs form strong bonds with the family and herd and perform their roles quite well.
An adult Slovensky Cuvac dog stands about 23-28 inches tall and weighs 97 pounds. They may not be the large-sized livestock guardian breed you expected but are vocal.
They scare away predators with their barks and intimidation.
These dogs are independent thinkers and like to keep their distance from people. This trait has been mistakenly understood as anti-social, but Slovensky Cuvac is friendly and likes people.
Pyrenean Mastiff Dog
Pyrenean Mastiff dogs are some of the oldest dog breeds on the planet.
These dogs originated from Spain but currently have a healthy population worldwide. They can grow to above 28 inches and weigh up to 200 pounds.
This dog breed is not for you if you have no experience in training dogs. They require proper training sessions from puppyhood to tame them.
If the process is successful, you should have a good protector for your herds and property.
Spanish Mastiff Dog
Spanish Mastiff is another heavyweight dog we have on this list. They also weigh over 200 pounds and stand 29 inches tall.
It is heavily built with muscular strength to attack predators trespassing into the grazing land.
This breed has been used in Spain to protect sheep and cattle from invaders. The dogs are slow to act but can attack fiercely. However, they are not affectionate and can be stubborn to train.
Tibetan Mastiff Dog
Tibetan Mastiff dogs are some of the popular livestock guardian dogs we have on this list. Their fame rose from their capability to take down coyotes, bears, and flying predators.
They are distinguished from other breeds with their long hair and thick coats, making them the best choice for cold regions.
Tibetan Mastiffs weigh about 70-150 pounds and grow to 29 inches tall. They can live for 15 years, subject to health and feeding programs.
This breed is a favorite because it can protect your herds at night and during the day. They stay awake all night to watch for any uninvited guests to your property.
The one wrapping up our list of best livestock guardian dog breeds is the Hungarian native Kuvasz.
They are not intimidating but have a good reputation for protecting herds from predators. These dogs were also used as royal guard dogs because of their humorous trait.
Kuvasz dogs have sheep-like coats and are mainly white. They are excellent protectors that will bond well with children and other pets. However, they can be a little cunning.
This breed can only grow to 30 inches tall and weigh a maximum of 115 pounds. Its small size makes it even the cutest option on this list.
If you need an LGD breed to also use as a pet, you are good with Kuvasz.
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Don’t try to find the best dog, but find the dog that best suits you. Go for the breed with the personality you want and protect your herd.
We understand that deciding on the LGD to buy can be challenging. But take your time to process the information you have.
Thank you for stopping by Em Offrgid and for reading this article. We hope you can now decide on the LGD breed to bring home. Please share it with your friends.
Also read: 14 Best Dog Breeds For Off Grid Living