Kimber, nobody wants your gross pile of meat… Especially not the goats.
Kimber is a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd cross, born in a chicken coop and raised as a farm dog. True to her breeds she’s a lot of show but her aggression is measured. Her first line of defense is deterrence. If the animals or our other dog try to get in the way of her food (or if our other dog snaps at the rabbits through the fence) she’ll snarl and bark and throw herself in front of whatever she’s guarding but in 7 years she’s never bite anything she wasn’t suppose to, including our animals and a small child who grew up using her like a beanbag chair. Twice she challenged me and did faux bites (no pressure) when I tried to take things from her she shouldn’t have but I quickly flipped her and restored order. As her primary handler I don’t see this as bad temperament or outside the realm of normal acceptable behaviour. She’s had to learn to follow my command and I’m largely outside of her “flock” of guardianship. You have to be diligent and gutsy as balking in this situation can turn the tables and get you hurt. The Anatolian is considered an advanced experience breed. They aren’t difficult for no reason, though. Historically they’ve been bred to guard hundreds of sheep over huge areas without any people. They have to be able to think on their own and do their jobs (and survive) without direction from people, as a result they can be defiant. Both breeds also have a tendency to roam, they expect a large territory. She’s snapped chains rated for 500 lbs. and walked through hotwire just to check on the neighbor’s horses. A sturdy fence is essential. Our animals have free run within 5 acres of cattle panels.
On Rat Farm we never deter growling as doing so conditions dogs to resort to biting without warning. We take care to instruct our child what growls mean and to give dogs space when they do so. Despite how she appears in this video, I’m able to walk up and remove pieces of her food or walk her away from the pile.
This is my sweet angel, Alaska! She is 2 years old, 100 lbs, and my best friend. I’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old (: she is half Anatolian Shepherd/half border collie. She’s so smart, and the biggest puddle of love!
They really are awesome! I finally got to meet some purebreds at work (a customer had a truck full, what a sight!) and they are super cool! I’m such a sucker on the fluffball mixes, though, especially with our winters. Or any shaggy Molosser type breed. Look up “Caucasian Shepherds”, they’re like extra big Kimbers.
No sooner did I read your comment about the meat did I look out the window and see she’s unearthed some. I haven’t seen any in a week, it must be getting good.
My other dog is a rescue mutt and he’s the best companion dog you can imagine, but he’s so concerned with making us happy, to the point of being a little anxious/neurotic. I’ve really enjoyed working with a giant livestock breed mix and seeing that unique personality and want to do more of that. Unfortunately, our area has become really built up since we moved here (new neighbor, new road, tons of traffic, loose unmanaged dogs all the bloody time) so Kimber’s barking has shifted from an asset to an annoyance. Because this is an aspect of these types of breeds you’re just never going to train out, she’ll likely be our last of this kind unless we move somewhere quieter.
If anyone knows of a shaggy (winter ready) Molosser breed that is a more selective barker, i.e., can sort the cyclists from the wolves, do get in touch! ;)