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New LGD Breed - Grand Shepherd

 
pollinator
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I recently heard of a newish livestock guardian dog breed, the Grand Shepherd.  It is a cross between St. Bernard and Anatolian Shepherd.  Apparently, the dogs have the St. Bernard people-friendly attitude (unlike Anatolian) but still have the LGD instinct of the Anatolian.  This is the only info I can find on it on the web: Grand Shepherd

Do any permies out there know anything about this breed?

The reason I am inquiring about this is because I talked to a farmer today who is moving and selling all their livestock and their LGD, a grand shepherd.  It sounds like a great fit for us but I want to get a little more info on them.

 
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i am pretty sure I have seen this referred to for a mix of Great Pyrenees, German Shephard, and Malamute. Grand shepherd is a great name. My Great Pyrenees-Anatolian (Akbash) is a great dog, with puppifying capabilities if one is in need of the greatest genes ever.
 
Dan Ohmann
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Redwood Country...zone 9.... I'd love to see the greatest genes ever but I'm guessing you're further than a days drive from me.  Thanks for the reply Ben!
 
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Dan
Is the shepherd a male or female?  That sounds like a pretty good cross for what you guys are wanting to do, also I have an in tact male Great Pyrenees/Anatolian if you want to do some breeding in the future and I'm only a couple hours from your place.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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So I just clicked your link to the breeder's site....man those are some really nice dogs.  If your farmer friend's dog is a female I'd be really interested in either breeding her or if you decide it's not a good fit for you maybe you could send me their info in a PM.....
 
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Sounds like a good mix, especially for a farm dog. If it's a female, don't breed her until she's 3. LGDs sometimes only go into season once a year, but sometimes have "silent" heats. The reason for the 3 years is that her bone plates need to close. Their heat cycles may not start until they're over a year old, but start watching when they're 6 months old, some start younger.
 
Dan Ohmann
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Dave Dahlsrud wrote:Dan
Is the shepherd a male or female?  That sounds like a pretty good cross for what you guys are wanting to do, also I have an in tact male Great Pyrenees/Anatolian if you want to do some breeding in the future and I'm only a couple hours from your place.



The dog in question is a male.  It didn't work out though.  
 
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I can't see any evidence on that website that they have actually created a stable "new breed".  They only seem to be talking about first crosses between purebred Anatolians and St Bernards.  Which isn't to say these aren't great dogs, but you can't assume that you could then cross GS with GS and get a consistent result, so it's not a true breed.
 
Liz Hoxie
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I always liked the idea of the ancient breeds. Tried and true gets my vote every time. "New" tends to bother me. Must be why I like yard sales.
 
Dan Ohmann
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Thank you Hester and Liz.  I sent an email and a text message to the folks that run that website and I've yet to hear back.  I was wanting to gather some more information.  If I hear back I'll let you know.  
 
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I actually have a female from this breeder.  She just turned two in January and we couldn't be happier with our choice of LGD (yes I know that the St Bernard X makes her not a true LGD according to many). From what I recall, my Stella was a second generation cross (not sure if I've stated that correct) -  Meaning the sire and bitch were both 50/50 St Bernard and Anatolian crosses.   We live on two acres and looked into several different options for LGD's but because of the close proximity to our neighbors we didn't want a dog that would be barking 24x7 nor one that would be inclined to roam (roaming dogs out here get shot when they trespass).  She does bark, but not constant and not at the slightest branch movement like some dogs.  She lives with our goats (has since we brought her home) and is really good with them.  We've even gone thru one kidding season so far with the goats and she's done very well with the babies.  She is good with people who we bring on our property and is still super protective when strangers walk down the road in front of our house.  She's also good at catching moles and rodents (yuck).  We are looking at adding another one of Michelle's dogs to our property when we move this summer (to more land).    I've attached pictures of our Stella from this past summer (at about 18 months).  Dan, do you know what happened to the male he was trying to rehome?
stella.jpg
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Dan Ohmann
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Thank you Cheryl for that info.  I was corresponding a little with the breeder but she got busy with lambing season and I haven't heard back from her in awhile.  

As for the dog that needed a new home, if you send me a PM I can get you in touch with the sellers.  I don't know if the dog was sold or not.  
 
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Thanks for your input Cheryl. Nice to get some 1st hand accounts with this new "breed". I do agree with others that I am not sure if this is actually a stable breed as yet, but your comment shows they are working on it and it sounds like it is on it's way toward stable.

I bookmarked this thread when it came out. I will be looking for a LGD in the future when I am ready to add livestock to my homestead. But that is still years away. It will be interesting to hear how these Grand Shepherds progress over time and if any issues or added benefits come to light as the breed stabilizes and becomes it's own and more people can come forward with their experiences.
 
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Since there is some discussion as to whether the Grand Shepherd *is* a stable new breed, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you about a very OLD farm dog breed called English Shepherd or farm collie.  The English Shepherd was popular on small farms and homesteads across America until small farms started disappearing in the 20th century. Called the "farmers right hand man" the ES helps with a lot of jobs around the farm: varmint hunting, livestock herding, watch dog, and nurturing animals and children. Where other breeds have become specialists in their jobs, the ES is an all-around dog bred for intelligence, willingness, and trainability. Beautiful, too.

This is the breed described in Ben Falk's "Resilient Farm and Homestead". We're part of the conservation effort for this heritage breed.  For more info, please see: www.puppies.petcarebooks.com

Best,
Caroline in Idaho
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Hester Winterbourne
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Caroline LaVin wrote:Since there is some discussion as to whether the Grand Shepherd *is* a stable new breed, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you about a very OLD farm dog breed called English Shepherd or farm collie.  The English Shepherd was popular on small farms and homesteads across America until small farms started disappearing in the 20th century. Called the "farmers right hand man" the ES helps with a lot of jobs around the farm: varmint hunting, livestock herding, watch dog, and nurturing animals and children. Where other breeds have become specialists in their jobs, the ES is an all-around dog bred for intelligence, willingness, and trainability. Beautiful, too.

This is the breed described in Ben Falk's "Resilient Farm and Homestead". We're part of the conservation effort for this heritage breed.  For more info, please see: www.puppies.petcarebooks.com

Best,
Caroline in Idaho



In the Natural History Museum in Tring in the UK, they have stuffed/mounted specimens of dog breeds from many years ago, and this post suddenly reminded me of one of the dogs in the museum! Rough Coated Collie "Roy"
WHen I was a child visiting the museum it made an impression on me seeing how dog breeds have changed and become more extreme in appearance over the years and I often think how nice it would be to go back to a more "utility" version, so I'm glad to see it is happening somwhere!
 
Devin Lavign
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a year later, any updates on these Grand Shepherds?
 
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I always thought the Saint Bernard would be a good LGD, but would need some other traits to really make it work well.

While I can understand a person trying to derive something new for an LGD, I would think it would have to be all about marketing.

A person would really have to work long and hard to improve the Great Pyrenees. In the next few weeks we are looking at retiring our GP-LGD after 7 years of faithful service. With four notches on her collar for taking out (2) Fox and (2) coyote, but she also herds the sheep, and saved countless lambs by ensuring they stay with their mothers. I really cannot say enough good about the Great Pyrenees breed. I have never been breed loyal on any dog, I just really do not know how yo could improve the traits of the Great Pyrenees.
 
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That Grand Shepherd is a goodlooking dog.
 
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Hmmmmmm.  This might be just the breed for what I'd like to have.  As long as they maintain the tenacity against threats that makes a good LGD, while being much less barky and more sociable with humans it would be a winner.  And $700 for a quality puppy is hard to beat these days.
 
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Unless you want a dog that specifically LIVES with your animals 24/7 and will protect them like family, you don't "need" a LGD.  That said, LGDs can be assets even as a family pet.  
If you do not have direct experience with LGDs, take what you read with a grain of salt.  It's hard to summarize proud, complex dogs.  I've had 2 Anatolians, and they are self-contained, intelligent beings.  Strong willed and stubborn, but ultimately compliant if you stand your ground and stay consistent.   Every dog-individual is unique, but generally Anatolian brains are "love/hate", or "friend/foe".  If you fall under their love, they will adore you, be patient with you, and strive for your affection.  If you fall under their "foe", they will make certain you LEAVE their territory immediately.  Please and thank you.  They have a reputation as barkers because their first instinct is not to engage with violence, it's to drive off predators without engaging.  The alternative to a barking LGD is a fighting LGD, and a fighting LGD is going to have a much harder life.  
I don't know much about St. Bernards.  Honestly what little I know of them is this idea that they're bad family dogs and terrible with kids.  I have no personal experience though.  I would actually say that anatolians have deep loving hearts and make amazing family pets for people who know how to handle a domineering breed.  They are deeply affectionate and seem to crave reassurance that you still love them and always will.  I would expect SB's are similar in personality.  

There's a lot of people breeding the Berny/Toli crosses or GP/Berny crosses and calling them "Grand Shepherds".  The mixes probably have as much potential as the purebreds.   Ultimately, regardless of genes, it comes down to the individual dog's personality, disposition, and handling.  Big emphasis on handling.  Huge emphasis on handling when you're dealing with extremely large, domineering dogs.  
 
Devin Lavign
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Michael Horton wrote:That Grand Shepherd is a goodlooking dog.



They are good looking dogs, aren't they.
 
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The problem with "new breeds", especially crosses of breeds with wildly different histories and selected working balances, is predictability.

Genetics are not like cooking, where you can add a little of this or that and get a uniform blend of "flavors" in a litter the way you would in a pot of soup. In dogs, the F1 cross will get a more predictable balance of traits, simply because the 2 fullblooded  parents will each contribute roughly 50%. Once you breed on with crossbred parents the proportions of traits can vary wildly. Even within the LGD breed group there will be variation, add in and akc pet breed like St Bernard and it's a crapshoot, add a highly prey/chase driven breed, like GSD, and any chance of predictability goes out the window. LGD/herding crosses are everywhere now, they are the most common farm oops breeding, and are often downright dangerous.
 
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Hi All -- I came across this post with a search for "Grand Shepherd" and wanted to share our experience with Mingo, the St Bernard / Anatolian cross we got from Michelle (mentioned above) in September 2013. He's wonderful. We wanted a good dog to help protect our 4 kids, 15 acres, and various farm critters. When we went to pick out the puppy, we asked Michelle's kids which one they thought was nicest, and they said they liked Mingo because he was calm and gentle and sweet. We took their advice, and Mingo has stayed calm and gentle and sweet his whole life (he's almost nine now). Here are some things about him, in case it can be helpful to anyone else:

- Even from puppyhood, Mingo was gentle with all our farm animals, including chickens. We never had any issues.
- Full grown (and probably with a few too many scraps) he's ~130lbs. A daunting-looking dog that tends to get a respectful response from any strangers, but one we know is secretly a little shy about them until he knows they're nice.
- Gentle with farm animals, friendly with other dogs, but willing to stake his territory with those dogs if they seem to cross boundaries. He'll stand between them and our farm critters, and occasionally bark/growl if they want something of his. Some friends of ours brought their Aussie to visit for a few days and when she decided to try to eat his food, he literally sat down right on top of her and pinned her to the ground a couple of feet from it.
- He really doesn't like kittens (sharp hissing little things), but is always befriended by them once they become cats. He's embarrassed to be seen doing it, but we're pretty sure they snuggle up with him in the barn on cold nights. And he shares his food with them freely, unless there's a treat, in which case he barks in their faces.
- He's very obedient. He will let the cats eat a treat two feet from him if we tell him to leave it alone. He looks pathetic about it, but restrains himself. (We do give him the first treat, of course, since he's in charge.)
- He doesn't bark much. Very predictably when someone drives up to the property (very helpful), and occasionally at night if something alarms him. Sometimes we hear him barking in succession from different corners of the property, and we assume he's just warning the world he's there. If coyotes are out and far enough away, he sings with them. If they're close, he's fiercely barking.
- In his later years, he has gotten into the trash outside a few times. We find this very annoying, but also realize that we find french fries kind of hard to resist too, and that's when he tends to do it -- when there's some particularly tempting trash in there.
- He's not a big wanderer. He does walk to visit the neighbors occasionally, but they have told us they enjoy it. It's extremely rare for him not to be right around the house or yard.
- He has an inside bed on the rug for evening naps, and stays on it.

He's really just a big, old, faithful, gentle giant now. We couldn't be happier with him.

Note: We initially got two pups from his litter -- a sister as well. She also was very sweet, and had more of a Bernard look (Mingo has a more Anatolian look with the all-black face and isn't as cute that way), but she also had more of the Bernard temperament, I think. Much more energetic, killed several chickens when she was young, and tended to wander. We re-homed her at nine-months because we really wanted to make sure we had a dog that bonded more to our family than to a litter-mate. It was a lesson-learned for us. I think she could have learned and matured, we just didn't have the time and experience to invest in both.

Hope that's helpful!

-- Marsha Michaelis, Northeast WA
 
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I have as another poster calked them, a second generation Grand Shepherd that I got from Michelle. He has been the best dog I've ever had. I dont have livestock and he was raised on a fenced 1/2 acre with neighbors and kids in rhe neighborhood. He's friendly to kids and most dogs, great with his cats. He is protective in that he will put himself between me and anyone (esp men) he deems a stranger. He alert barks but not incessantly or bored-bark. I spend alot of time with him. He responds well to commands. On the Grand Shepherd website his picture is on the PAX page. He was a year old in the picture. He just turned 7. He blows his coat 2x a year and shed ALOT! But such an intelligent, loving dog!
 
Devin Lavign
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FYI they stopped selling puppies in 2020 (probably due to covid)
, but just started again April 5th 2022
 
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Tish Toren wrote:The problem with "new breeds", especially crosses of breeds with wildly different histories and selected working balances, is predictability.

Genetics are not like cooking, where you can add a little of this or that and get a uniform blend of "flavors" in a litter the way you would in a pot of soup. In dogs, the F1 cross will get a more predictable balance of traits, simply because the 2 fullblooded  parents will each contribute roughly 50%. Once you breed on with crossbred parents the proportions of traits can vary wildly. Even within the LGD breed group there will be variation, add in and akc pet breed like St Bernard and it's a crapshoot, add a highly prey/chase driven breed, like GSD, and any chance of predictability goes out the window. LGD/herding crosses are everywhere now, they are the most common farm oops breeding, and are often downright dangerous.



I think it's important to remember that every breed started out the same way.  People took breeds with traits they wanted to keep or enhance, and kept breeding dogs with those traits together.  Without people "creating" breeds, there would be no separate breeds.  In this case, the St Bernard started very much as a working breed, not a pet breed, but, as in many cases, the working aspect of the breed is being lost.  You can still find working examples.  It's just getting harder and harder.  I love the LGD breeds for that reason.  They haven't lost their purpose to bad breeding yet.
 
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Paul will be at the Idaho Panhandle Preparedness Expo on October 1-2, 2022
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