June 21, 2011
Zeppelin (8 weeks old) with Jeff
Zeppelin just came to us from Colorado and is half Great Pyrenees and half Anatolian Shepherd. Both breeds are considered ancient, gentle family/livestock guardians with high intelligence and sweet nature; perfect for people who have acreage and animals in the mountains, but do not want a dog that intimidates or goes after people. Zeppelin is our family dog. He lives in the house with us and travels to town with us when we go. The driving force behind this decision was the growing, and already large, population of stray dogs in and around Taos. There are none all the way out here in the mountains, but their numbers are increasing to a nerve-wrecking state for most parents in town. One of our friends and neighbors was attacked by a pair last month and was saved only by his own dog.
Both of these breeds are bred to work independently of humans; making them extremely strong-willed, independent and somewhat reserved. They are not a breed for people who are unable to establish themselves as the top of the pack order, who are unfamiliar with training stubborn dogs, or who hope for a lopey, ball-chasing dog. They are fiercely loyal to their flock. Whether it is a flock of sheep, chickens, cows, goats, or humans does not matter to them. Both breeds where created to tirelessly work the extreme temperatures of the high mountains and protect their flock from everything from racoons to mountain lions with minimal physical encounters being necessary. A single Pyr or Anatolian is effective for all predators except mountain lions and packs of wolves or coyotes; where two dogs would be necessary.
Sheriff: waking up from an afternoon nap. Pyrenees are nocturnal.
Since Junie Moon left Sheriff has been working the property alone and is definitely overworked and aging. After a couple of weeks of depression, where we had to wake him around 1pm and force him to go outside, he regained interest in the work that is in his blood and slowly began refusing to come into the house at night. He has been, by his choice, a full working guardian dog since late March. Soooo, his new partner, Joplin, will be arriving to help in late July. She was born and is being trained on pasture in central Texas. She even works to keep the crows off the compost :) Just like Junie did. She is a purebred Pyrenees from strong working lines. We can't wait for her to arrive.
Joplin's parents with a new kid
So, two livestock guardian dogs working safely in the field, and one in the house. It is a happy family indeed.