To protect our growing goat herd from predator threats we purchased a male puppy (Bear) from Anne Petersen at Rosasharn Farm in May 2010. Anne has raised award-winning Nigerian Dwarf goats and Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs for 30+ years.
To keep Bear company in the pen/barn, we brought home his half-sister (Gabby) 6 months later. Bear is a strapping, handsome boy, weighing in at about 115 lb. with a thick, luscious coat that allows him to lounge in deep snow comfortably. Gabby is a petite sweetheart who loves to give kisses and flop onto her back for belly rubs.
Great Pyrenees have a regal history. Beginning in the 1600's they were used extensively in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain to guard large herds of sheep from predators like wolves and bear. Great Pyrs are so smart that they could be left alone with the herd for days and be trusted to protect them. Their instincts are amazing but their intelligence means they must be firmly trained, especially in the first 2 years. But once they mature they are generally gentle giants and exhibit deep love and affection for their human owners and the barn livestock they’re asked to guard. In southeast New England our predators are coyotes, foxes, fishers (members of the weasel family), eagles, and owls.
We disagree with trainers who believe LGD's should have minimal human contact because that makes them distracted or spoiled. Our Pyrs were born in a barn and have lived in a barn 24/7 from the day we brought them home, but we spent many hours socializing them with people, so they know they’re an integral part of our family.
Pyrs grow a 2-layered coat in the winter -- a fluffy undercoat for insulation and long, hollow guard hairs for loft, which keep them dry. Bear is happiest when sitting on a mound of snow in 20’ weather in a sleet storm. We often joke that in the event of a power outage, we could snuggle in the barn with the Pyrs and stay perfectly warm.
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