The other important category of farm dogs would be hunting dogs, which have almost the opposite instincts and characteristics. As we are not interested in hunting, we keep no hunting dogs, but we do keep and breed guardian dogs for farm work.
Why Great Pyrenees?
There are a number of good guardian dogs, including Newfoundlands and St. Bernards, but we chose the Great Pyrenees. I’ll let one of ancient Rome’s master farmers explain how to choose a guardian dog:
They should be comely of face, of good size, with eyes either darkish or yellowish, symmetrical nostrils, lips blackish or reddish, the upper lip neither raised too high nor drooping low, stubby jaw with two fangs projecting somewhat from it on the right and left, the upper straight rather than curved, their sharp teeth covered by the lip, large head, large and drooping ears, thick shoulders and neck, the thighs and shanks long, legs straight and rather bowed in than out, large, wide paws which spread as he walks, the toes separated, the claws hard and curving, the sole of the foot not horny or too hard, but rather spongy, as it were, and soft; with the body tapering at the top of the thigh, the backbone neither projecting nor swayed, tail thick; with a deep bark, wide gape, preferably white in colour, so that they may the more readily be distinguished in the dark; and of a lion-like appearance. (On Farming)
Well, that describes no other dog than the Great Pyrenees.
We began keeping Great Pyrenees in January 2014, buying two high quality pure-bred pups from two different AKC breeders in Georgia. These pups, however, will not be raised in the house, but in the pasture with our Leicester wool sheep, whom they will be raised to protect. As they grow, they will consider our sheep and goats to be their own family members, and will follow their natural instincts to protect them when anything–or anyone–unfamiliar shows up.
They enjoy the diet of a working farm dog–fresh meat scraps and bones, grain, meal, leftover bread and extra milk from the dairy.
If you are interested in purchasing a pure-bred Great Pyrenees puppy from Michael Family Farm, please see our Puppies for Sale page for more information.