Livestock Guardian Dogs: Aloof Wolf Killers Or Pets? Livestock

I want to start by saying I feel like this is an important read for people considering bringing these dogs home as a family pet. I am often asked, “Do Sarplaniancs make good pets?” I have a hard time answering this. For me, they make an excellent pet that I could not imagine living without. That being said, for most people no they do not make good pets. Let’s start with the good, and end with the bad.

THE GOOD:

1. Much more calm and low energy than a lab by comparison, especially after age three when they are “mature”.

2. Glad to provide the owner with company, without needing the owner to constantly provide affection.

3. If you leave them in the backyard for a while (while you are at work for example) they are so independent they don’t really miss you and are totally content to “guard” the house

4. Typically very gentle with children when socialized at a young age.

5. Not very playful, they may fetch a ball because you want them to but they don’t particularly want to.

6. Low maintenance grooming.

7. Highly intelligent

8. Usually very easy to walk especially when started young. Most aren’t a big fan of running and dragging you around for no reason and are quite content to slowly trotting down the street.

THE BAD:

1. It takes real dedication to train them. Any harsh punishment training can easily lead to an aggressive dog. Training MUST be done based on a reward system, not punishment.

2. It is in their nature to not have human direction- they have been bred to watch flocks independent for humans. This means that there will almost certainly be times, no matter how well trained they are, they will not follow a command when they have decided something else is of greater importance.

3. They are guardians- anything they see, smell, or detect around you property they are not familiar with will cause them to respond. Usually this response starts with a bark. When you are talking about a large dog you got to remember this means a large bark. Neighbors tend to not be a big fan of this activity. Most owners have to purchase a bark collar to keep the neighbors happy.

4. They MUST be provided with a hard chew toy when they are younger (my male’s chew stage with between 3-9 months). I actually got a small tractor tire and partially deflated it and gave that to him to chew. That seemed to solve my problem. However, before I got this tire my male puppy decided he was going to chew the bottom wood step on my porch. I came home and it looked like a beaver went after it. Thankfully the tire solved that issue.

5. I said low maintenance grooming before, and I meant that. However, there is one month out of the year when winter leaves and spring comes when that is a lie. During this shed they lose their very dense undercoat which will literally come out in the hand full. Unless you want hair all over your house I highly recommend brushing them multiple times a week for this month.