Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Mountain Dog as it is called in Europe, has guarded sheep in the mountains of France and Spain as long as history records. Its lineage has been entirely lost in time, but it is probably related to the other ancient flock guardian breeds. Its ancestors may have been giant Asian dogs, perhaps the white dogs of Asia Minor or the … Continue reading Great Pyrenees

Collie

Collie

The Collie shares the same heritage as the rest of the sheepdogs of the British Isles. It traces back to the herding mastiffs of the invading Roman armies under Julius Caesar, perhaps with a touch of Viking spitz added later on. For centuries, the Collie, or Scotch Collie, more or less resembled the modern Border Collie. These all-purpose farm dogs came in different varieties suited … Continue reading Collie

Border Collie

Border Collie

Most of the herding dogs of the British Isles trace back to a common ancestor—the big, black-and-tan mastiffs brought by Julius Caesar around 55 BC to guard and drive livestock to feed the Roman army. Of course, British and Scottish sheepdogs do not look much like mastiffs. This is owing to the influence of small herding spitzes brought by the Vikings after the collapse of … Continue reading Border Collie

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

It may surprise you, but the Australian Shepherd is actually an American breed, developed in the West in the 19th century. There is an Australian connection, however. Some of the breed’s most influential ancestors were various Basque herding dogs from both Spain and France, including the Pyrenean Shepherd. Basque dogs were originally brought to America by shepherds, some arriving directly on our shores, others coming … Continue reading Australian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd

As far as we can tell, the Anatolian Shepherd was a fixture on the landscape of rural Turkey from the most ancient times. Its ancestors are not known for certain. It can undoubtedly be traced to various dogs of Mesopotamia, possibly including both sighthounds and mastiff-like hunting dogs. It may also have ancestors among the Tibetan Mastiffs and the Roman dogs of war. Whatever its … Continue reading Anatolian Shepherd

Stockdog Savvy

Stockdog Savvy

Many a dog lover has watched a good Border Collie at work and gone home with a passion for herding. But if you haven’t grown up with working stockdogs, training one for the first time can seem daunting. While no book can replace experience as a way to master the nuances of handling livestock, with or without a dog, Stockdog Savvy by husband-and-wife team Jeanne … Continue reading Stockdog Savvy

What are Scurs

What are Scurs?

Scurs are horny growths that give some livestock owners concern.  When a scurred animal is young, it may look for all the world like it will grow up to have horns.  Fortunately, this is not the case. Cattle, sheep, and goats can all develop scurs.  In goats, however, scurs are actually true horns that have been damaged in a bad disbudding job.  In cattle and … Continue reading What are Scurs?

Breeds of Livestock

Breeds of Livestock

The varied livestock breeds of the world have fascinating histories and characteristics.  Many country living enthusiasts have spent enjoyable hours researching their favorite breeds. One good source of information is the Breeds of Livestock site put together by Oklahoma State University.  This is a handy online encyclopedia-type reference packed with facts about both popular and rare livestock breeds: Cattle. Goats. Horses. Sheep. Swine. Poultry. Exotic … Continue reading Breeds of Livestock

Pros and Cons of Horned Livestock

Pros and Cons of Horned Livestock

Horned livestock can be spectacular to look at. The spread of a Texas longhorn is an impressive sight, and there is something appealing in the curled horns of an old-fashioned sheep breed. But are horns practical? Not surprisingly, there are both advantages and disadvantages to leaving the horns on your livestock. Let’s take a look.   Pros Predator protection. The primary purpose of horns is … Continue reading Pros and Cons of Horned Livestock