We’re Expecting… Puppies!

Artemis and Achilles are expecting their second litter!  Artemis is showing signs that the puppies should be born within the next two weeks!  These are working dogs and unless something happens to change our plans, Artemis will whelp in the field with the goats.  These puppies will grow up surrounded by goats and will make great livestock guardian dogs.  We are planning on keeping one female, but the other puppies are available.    

This is a picture of Artemis’ first puppies.  We kept three of them: two males and a female.  They are all healthy and are great livestock guardians.  We need one more female to make three pairs for protecting livestock in various areas of the farm.

So what is a ‘livestock guardian dog’ or LGD?  An LGD is a dog who lives with livestock and protects them from predators. They do not herd livestock.  They don’t really even protect the livestock as individuals – they keep predators out of their space.  

There are several breeds that have been developed over time as LGD’s: Great Pyrenees, Maremma, Anatolian Shepherd, Akbash, Kuvasz…  They have different personalities and when choosing a breed, working conditions and routines have to be considered.  We chose the Great Pyrenees because we needed dogs that would guard, but be able to be socialized for the safety of the many visitors we have on the farm.  I have found that the personalities of the males and females differ enough that they work best as pairs of one male and one female.  Artemis, our alpha female, who is very friendly and will come to meet strangers when we are present, is also a fierce guardian.  She has killed the most “invaders” who dared to enter her space, including aerial predators.  Achilles, her mate, is much more stand-offish when strangers are around, but he does more of the patrolling of the borders, sounding the alarm if anything is not right.

I’ll be sure to post as soon as Artemis has her puppies.  She had 6 last time, so we expect about the same number.  She’s already making milk, so we’re close!