We receive dozens of emails each year from those asking for working Pyrs, or livestock guardian dogs (LGDs). When we take in a Pyr we know to be a successful LGD, we will adopt it out as an LDG again. We keep a waiting list of approved applicants. In general, we take in about a dozen LGDs each year. Dozens of our alum are guarding goats, sheep, and other animals throughout the region, and we are proud of them.

Heidi, adopted through CGPR, successfully cares for her goats when she isn’t posing for pictures in front of her pretty red barn.

We can’t, however, place Pyrs who aren’t LGDs onto farms to work. That’s a dangerous situation for both livestock and the Pyr. Although Pyrs have an instinct to guard, a successful LGD is the product of both nature and nurture. Ideally, an LGD should be raised with livestock, competent adult dogs as models, and humans willing to train them as pups. We regularly take in those who have failed as LGDs, and we retire them because our decades of experience have proven that rehabilitation generally doesn’t work. A Pyr who eats chickens or jumps the pasture fence to get into the house usually will continue to do so.

We take in most of the rest of our Pyrs as strays or from shelters, and we don’t assume that they have any work experience. Pyrs raised in back yards or without LGD parents often have no idea how to direct that instinct. We have a volunteer who tests dogs we suspect to be LGDs for us. Over the years, we have reimbursed her and other volunteers who have tested LGDs for us for a lot of killed chickens, etc. For this reason, we place most of our Pyrs as CGDs, which means couch guardian dogs and pets.

If farmers aren’t willing or able to wait for a rescue Pyr (and we understand not everyone can wait), we encourage them to buy pups from farms where LGD parents are on-site and well-cared for. The Great Pyrenees Club of American provides useful resources for identifying a reputable breeder: http://www.gpcaonline.org