We love our Big Ben.
A few years ago, I wanted to add a farm guardian to our place. We had a coyote problem and some of you remember we lost two very special dogs year ago because of the varmints.
I was actually looking at craigslist one day when I spotted the ad for Ben. He was about a year old and the owner wanted to rehome him because of close-by neighbors and the disturbance of him barking all night. Which by-the-way is how livestock guardian breeds warn and scare predators away.
Livestock guardian dogs have been bred and used for centuries in varies countries to live with and protect flocks and herds. They are independent and know how to think for themselves and do what they need to do to protect their herd (or family if that is what they have been raised with).
A lot of people get LGD to be farm guardians of the general population of animals, children and family. They are not a type of dog for the general population as they need room and a job. And as I mentioned can be very independent and harder to train.
Ben is half Newfoundland, which is actually a working breed of dog used for hauling and pulling and also known to be used in water rescue. So technically not a livestock guardian dog. The other half of his parentage is Great Pyrenees which is a livestock guardian breed. We really have been blessed by this big goofy boy. He’s got the best of both breeds; sweet and gentle like a Newfy and fiercely protective like the Pyrenees. Pretty good deal for a free craigslist dog!
As Ben aged I decided we needed to add another farm guardian for him to train before he got too old. So a couple years ago we added our Karakachan (a Bulgarian LGD), Zuma.
Ben is now about ten years old, which is getting up in age for a giant breed. He still thinks he needs to be out all night defending the farm. But I try to coax him into the garage as many nights as I can, where he has a big blanket to sleep on.
And some days, he likes to come in the house and lounge by the fire. Although he usually doesn’t stay long, because he is so insulated that the house is too warm for him.
We sure do love our Big Ben. ❤️