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A while back, Lynn Crosby wrote an article comparing the temperaments of three common Livestock Guardian Dogs - Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz, and Anatolians. I thought it was a super description, and wrote to Lynn for permission to pilfer her article. As you can see, she most gratiously allowed me to so do. The following is her article almost verbatim. It will be helpful for those considering or wishing to acquire an LGD.

Just a quick comment on your question. I have 30 years experience with Kuvasz, and know a fair amount about Anatolians and Pyrs. There are temperament differences between the breeds. First the similarities. They are all independent and physically and mentally tough. They all have a sense of responsibilityand notice and care when the environment is not "normal". What is not normal is probably evil and certainly suspicious. None of them train easily when it comes to their work. They are supernaturally determined that no harm come to that which is in their charge.

How are they different? Basic activity level and reactivity - less active than most non-LGD's - of the adult LGD's Kuvasz are highest, Pyrs are lowest, and Anatolians are somewhere inbetween. Pyrs often actually like people, Anatolians tolerate them, Kuvasz have absolutely no use for them. Yes, socialization does make a difference, but how much time are you going to take to socialize a working dog to people? All are extremely intelligent in the sense of problem solving and observing what is happening. Kuvasz are often sneaky and clever and have a sense of humor. Pyrs are really nice people and are very straight forward. Anatolians are above it all and are quite serious. Kuvasz, in particular, will protect children quite vigorously and must be supervised. I wouldn't allow a 10 year old to take a Kuvasz to the park because the Kuvasz may clear the park of every other living thing so their child will have a pleasant day. The child has no option here - the Kuvasz does not ask a sheep if it wants to be protected. Weak or stupid people receive no respect and many Kuvs will enjoy occasionally frightening people just for the Hell of it (A sense of humor is often not an asset). I'm exaggerating about the child and the park, but not by much. Pyrs often have great forbearance for human silliness and are a good choice for people who have lots of other people with whom the dog must come in contact. I often recommend them to people who want a pet who also protects their livestock. Anatolians can also be very protective of their people, but they seem to need a higher level of stimulous to act agressively. I've seen adult males quietly put themselves between a stranger and their person, ready to escalate the control if needed but not obviously assertive. My Kuvasz would do the same thing but obviously put his tail up and stare. Not threatening but much more obviously "there". Many Kuvasz are hunters and will supplement their diet with small wild creatures; gophers and rodents, foxes and feral cats, possums and coons.

All three require about the same amount of supervision, time and work to be good LGD's. But this is really an individual dog quality. Kuvs and Anatolians require the most work to be good companions - as I said, Pyrs are really nice people. Pyrs also require lots of socialization, however. All of them do best with people who are leaders, people who have at least the intelligence and self confidence of the dogs. Pyrs generally are the easiest of the three breeds (not easy - none of them is easy compared with other dogs) and Kuvasz hardest because they like to keep testing you in a good-natured sort of way. Anatolians are very strong, but usually don't continually test you; they like to get along.

Interested in LGD's? Check out http://www.lgd.org


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