June 21, 2011

Meet Zeppelin

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.


ella said...

poor sheriff, i am so sad that junie didn't ever come back ... i hope that joplin is just as great as junie was and is able to lift sheriff's spirits!
plus, zepplin is soooo cute!

happygirl said...

I'm glad you were able to get a new dog. I know protection is important to you and your family. Zepplin looks like a special dog. Best to ya. btw, are the fires out?

Cage Free Family said...

The fire nearest to us is fully contained, but there are fires north, south and west of us that are not. The fire situation is pretty bad, but the immediate danger for us is gone. Check back in a couple days for a better fire update :)

Jowers Inc. said...

I am so in love with your new page heading! I have such a soft spot for Crows. So much so I have painted them in my dining room, wear their talon (silver) on my finger and dream of them daily.

TravelingOnTheOutskirts said...

So f'ing cute! Now I know that our dog Patience had Pyranees in her. Their faces and ears look EXACTLY like hers did!

Holly J said...

Awww, new doggies sound great. And good names, too.

jjns1204 said...

I still remember how you talked about Jack and the pictures you drew of him in your notebook:)

Cage Free Family said...

My childhood dog, Jack?

jjns1204 said...

yeah! i knew it was you right away when I saw your dogs! thought i would check in on you and found your blog by accident! looks like we all turn out alright in the end, huh?

Cage Free Family said...

Oh! Whos is this?? I was only in the 4th grade the last time I saw Jack.

jjns1204 said...

i think we met in 5th grade? I don't know because I had Mrs. Sendek for 4th AND 5th:) i was just talking with someone the other day about being introverted/extroverted and told her about how my nervous extroversion lead teachers to believe I actually liked talking to others when really, i would've been fine sleeping all day in my basement room! she said 'here, Aimee's new - why don't you show her around the school today! enough hints, yet?

Cage Free Family said...

Oh,yes, Jenny, I think??
It would have been the second half of 4th grade and then again in 6th and 7th. That was such a brutal time in my life.

I cannot believe that you remembered enough of my name to find me, not to mention the name of my dog!

email me and we can talk in private.
family at cagefreefamily dot com