Let’s go back a few years and catch up to present day…
My love of the farm life started out with little white balls of hair, yes I said hair, that is better known as the Katahdin sheep. Get sheep they said, they are easy they said. Well I don’t know about calling them easy but they are for certain worth the work. My adventure started with only 3 ewes (female sheep) and a single ram (male sheep). Soon we decided to add a part Great Pyrenees and part Komondor guard dog into the mix. The dog is known as Kryptonite (Krypto for short). He loves his humans and his sheep. He would be willing to give his own life for either of theirs. Loyalty at it’s best but these dogs are tough to handle. I would recommend against just having one as a pet. He has to stay inside the fence with the sheep not only for their protection but also for the protection of family and friends who visit us and our postman, UPS and FEDEX drivers. Though none of the people have been threatening in any way, this is his territory and he doesn’t like any strangers in it. You can not change their personality, this is what these dogs are designed for, it is literally in their blood and you can’t make them just another dog around the neighborhood.
Know the Facts & What You Need with These Dogs
If owning one of these dogs is on your agenda be ready when you get them. You need a safe comfortable place they can live. Most people decide on a pair and not just a single dog. This is a good idea if you don’t want the dog trying to play with and frightening easily scared animals they guard.
They also really need animals to protect so they are content with fencing. Consider getting a few sheep or if trained early in life even chickens. Keep in mind the fence will be their territory, anything, and I do mean anything, that gets in, is subject to be checked out and attacked if it is deemed to be considered a threat. Introduce your farm animals to your pup not your dog, if you must introduce a different animal to your older dog try to chose similar size animals to what you currently have, this way at least something is similar. Also keep in mind despite your best effort to bring new animals into the fold, you may be unable to do so in your dogs territory. A final note on this subject if your dog should kill or injure a new animal you introduced, be careful how you reprimand. Remember this is your guard dog that has been guarding his present territory and something strange entered. In all honesty he believes he did his job protecting.
On the next subject, be sure to interact with these dogs so they learn who their owner/owners are. These dogs will choose their own master. It does not matter who feeds or cares for them. They need obedience and ours choose the man of the house as his master, my husband. My husband rarely feeds, waters, or even sees the dog but this makes no difference to Krypto. He is always waiting anxious with wagging tail for his pat on the head when my husband is around. Since food and care had nothing to do with his choice of owner we believe he chose the person most likely to keep him in line. My son and I are both softer spoken, my husband has a deep, loud and can be demanding voice. When Kyrpto does something he knows he should not have and my husband raises his voice and speaks in a respect demanding tone, Kyrpo will drop his head and shy off from everything and everyone. He will wait for my husbands ok before he comes back to his old self. These dogs are smart and know when they do something they are not supposed to do. It is important to let them know what they did wrong, reprimand their action, and then also show them you love and care for them, much like you would a small child. My husband and son are also both larger than I am. My son was smaller when we got Kyrpto. Again I feel he needed someone large enough to handle him not only when he wants to play but also when he must be disciplined.
Be aware they are temper mental and can change at the drop of a hat, always keep this on mind. They are very large dogs, Krypto is almost 90 lbs. Make sure to watch them around kids because they do like to run, play and jump. They could easily hurt a small child on accident not even meaning to. They play rough.
In Closing and Retrospect
I have pointed out many flaws in this breed of dog. Now I would like to point out what makes Krypto so special to us and our farm here at Triple M.
As mentioned above you see that this dog is a lot of work, care and balance. This being said there is nothing I would take for him. He has been snappy with me at times but he is also just as quick to defend me if he thinks I am in trouble. I used to be a big chicken (no pun intended) to go out in my yard after dark because of the coyotes and other things that lurk in the dark. Now I really don’t even think about it. He barks and checks his fence on a regular basis, not just keeping the predators away from our animals but also us. I also have no doubt that if I was in trouble he would come to my rescue. Now I can safely check on animals day or night and not have to worry so much with beasts of the wild.
Another great factor he has provided is he keeps my yard clear of stray dogs. I used to inherit every stray in the neighborhood. I honestly think people knew I would try to see that they were cared for so they kinda just dumped them on me. Now I only have the animals I chose because again his barking keeps other animals at bay. This is not to say I don’t love the stray animals but I just couldn’t care for them all and honestly many times would like to have been able to have chose my pet.
They are very smart animals that perform their job duties well. Despite the fact that to me he looks like a big loving ball of fur, he knows and understands that his room and board comes with a price. He has a job that he has to do. As stated earlier their job is their mission in life, what they are born to do, so it comes natural.
In closing, there is nothing I would take for him. He doesn’t realize that the field he is in is his until death does him part. He has earned his place on the farm. I do wish that I had gotten another pup along with him. I think the sheep would be chased around for fun a lot less if he had a like mate to play with. This might be why I have started getting all my animals in at least a pair. I am approaching this adventure with a farming perspective but these dogs are not able to be just taken to another home and given to someone else. They are loyal to their owners until their dying day. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice a bit of cost to allow an animal to live out their duty and enjoy their full life.