LGD Breed Notes
Having a large flock affords the opportunity to raise different guardian dogs and through the years of highs and lows become a bit wiser for all the experiences.
Different breeds of guardian dogs certainly have distinct working styles but explaining them is a bit like explaining why Kelpies and Border Collies are different because so much about the two working breeds is also very similar.
One leg up that the guardian dogs have is that they are still largely bred for a working purpose only (there are no guardian dog competitions to encourage otherwise); and crossbred dogs are the norm with guardians rather than the scandal, which I think has done some harm to the dogs working ability but overall has done much further good.
The difference between the work styles of guardian dog breeds has something to do with the level of prey drive and certainly there are some breeds who lean toward having more of that. After that it comes down to the individual dog.
So if we put individuals aside for the moment and talk breeds in general than yes, the Anatolian Shepherds I know have a higher level of prey drive than my white dogs. And more recently I think the trend has been to breed for this - maybe to the detriment of the breed.
Anatolians are a lot of dog and they are very alert watchers. They pick strategic places to look out from and they watch for movement. They tend to be quieter workers, not usually first to sound the alarm but if warranted put up a sound that would make anything think twice. They move off silently too, much like a predatory hunter.
On the other hand the Great Pyrenees and Maremma’s tend to have less prey drive. They also tend to be the more vocal alarm sounders. They’re equally alert but I think alarm more to sound and scent first, and sight later (I have no definitive proof of this but these are my hunches from watching the few dogs I have).
These guys also tend to be more cozy with the sheep and will have conversations with them and move through the flock ‘talking’ to individual/favorite ewes. The lower level of prey drive factors into this bonding behaviour. The lower level of prey drive also equates to dogs that stay with the flock rather than patrol endless miles of territory.
No matter what the breed though, when these dogs rest, and they do have to rest, they can’t go 24/7, they all sleep very soundly (relatively speaking - we are talking about dogs here). I always thought they would be such light sleepers.