Comment to 'A livestock guardian'
  • I own two COA's and reside in a bucolic suburb one hour north of NYC.   There exists a wide variation in the coat type and length found on CAO dogs.  My male Ch Warlord's lines are from Kazakhstan and Ubekistan.  He has a very dense thick medium length coat with thick under coat.  I imported a female CAO from a warmer climate and she has a shorter coat.  The male is black with white, the female all white.  White coated dogs often fair better in the heat than dark colored dogs.  LGDs will blow their coat twice annually (typically blow coat spring and fall seasons) and will not develop thick beautiful winter coat when residing in warm climate year round.  COA's like most of the giant breed dogs, fair better in cooler climates.  They tend to suffer in very hot weather and their activity level will noticeably decrease.   My large male (approximately 200 pounds) tolerates the heat less than does the smaller white female.  There are a number of mastin breeds with shorter coats and lacking the thick downy undercoat that may be better suited for Florida. While they are not LGD breeds, they can be property protectors none-the-less.  Because of the genetic variability present in the COA, matings of two "similar" type dogs may result in a wide variety in the offspring type and color until the consistency of a line has been established through generations of breeding (line breeding).  

    LGDs will protect goats, horses, sheep, chickens, alpaca, humans, etc... if properly socialized at a very early age in their development.  Also not all live stock guardian dogs develop into effective live stock guardians.  Some dogs may possess a rather high prey driver and consider livestock on the dinner menu, particularly if not placed to live with the livestock 24/7 at an early age (8-12 weeks of age).  Some LGD tend to wander too much leaving the flock unprotected.  However, I have found the CAO dogs that I own wander much less than the Great Pyrenees that I previously owned.  Your best bet is to select a dog from true working lines.  Visit the kennel, observe the sire and dam, checking temperament, structure, and locomotor system.  There are a number of temperament tests that can be performed to assess a dogs suitability as a LGD.  

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