Hubba and I have been talking about Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) for a couple of years. With the biggest part of the conversation being educating our family and friends about the difference between guardian and herding dogs.
I was surprised by how many people suggested a Blue Heeler as a good solution to the statement, "We're looking for a guardian dog."
Since our herd and property are both relatively small, we do not need to drive our alpacas from one pasture to another and therefore do not need a herding dog.
Our need is for protection from predators such as neighborhood dogs, coyote and the occasional mountain lion or bear.
We hear coyotes nearby but haven't seen them... yet. We have friends who live closer to the mountains that had a mountain lion in their alpaca yard a couple of years ago and another had a bear destroy the hot tub on their porch last summer. We also hear of elk and moose coming into town occasionally and know two breeders who have lost alpacas to neighborhood dogs.
I have no doubt that The Alpaca Dog would do anything to protect me or Hubba given imminent danger, but when it comes to strange dogs in our pasture, he is excited to make new friends.
So the conversation has continued.
We've talked about different breeds, whether an older dog with experience would be better than a puppy and whether males or females would be a better choice. We've met and talked with a few breeders and have finally made a decision.
This precious Tibetan Mastiff will be coming home with us in a few weeks.
It will be a while before she's on full-time duty. We first need ensure she and the alpacas are comfortable with each other and that she knows her territory.
While she's a very big puppy, she's too small and young to be left alone with the alpacas for now. We also need to make sure she knows that she can be rambunctious with The Alpaca Dog, but not with the alpacas.
We will be puppy-proofing a few things before she comes home as well as settling on her name.