These Are the 14 Best Livestock Guardian Dog Breeds

Portrait of a Great Pyrenees dog outdoors with colorful autumn leaves
© Mary Swift/

Written by Kirstin Harrington

Published: December 14, 2023

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Whether you’re starting a hobby farm, are interested in a home setting, or are a successful farmer, having a guard dog for your livestock is essential. Sheep, goats, cows, and other farm animals are susceptible to predators like coyotes and wolves. 

There are certain guard dog breeds that are perfect to keep your outdoor animals safe. These canines make great pets and will show plenty of love and protection for their owners as well. Let’s take a look at the best livestock guard dog breeds for you!

1. Great Pyrenees

Portrait of a Great Pyrenees dog outdoors with colorful autumn leaves

Great Pyrenees

are particularly patient dogs.

©Mary Swift/

First on our list is a dog breed that was initially bred to keep sheep safe from predators. The great Pyrenees is a stunning canine that looks similar to fluffy polar bears. They are incredibly protective of the animals and people they watch over. 

This working breed weighs between 85 and 150 pounds. Great Pyrenees are affectionate, patient, and fearless dogs that are perfect for guarding livestock. They live on average 12 years and are devoted until the end!

2. Rottweiler

Happy rottweiler puppy running and playing on a beach at sunset. Cute little dog jumping and splashing water. Sand play.

Despite popular opinion, Rottweilers can be sweet and gentle toward people.


A livestock guardian dog breed that many humans find intimidating is the Rottweiler. These beautiful dogs thrive in an environment that is busy and full of energy. They have a naturally protective instinct and are surprisingly good at pest control as well. 

All over the world Rottweilers are used for a variety of tasks on the farm including herding, droving, and protection. Their round eyebrows are used to trick predators into believing that their eyes are open even when they’re sleeping. 

Rottweilers can weigh up to 140 pounds and typically live for 10 years.

3. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian shepherd dog standing outside

Anatolian shepherds can be very territorial.


Popularly known as Kangals, Anatolian shepherds are truly impressive dogs. These canines are from the country of Turkey and have protected sheep and goats for decades. They are sweet and patient with their owners and wildly protective of other animals. 

It is essential to socialize this breed when they are puppies to avoid them becoming aggressive towards people and other animals. Kangals can wait up to 150 pounds and live between 11 and 13 years.

4. Kuv

Cute Kuvasz dog playing in the water in the summer.

Kuvaszok will never say no to a trip to the beach!

©Jakab Flora/

The Kuvasz is another great livestock guardian dog breed. Famously amazing with children, Kuvaszok are gorgeous Hungarian canines. We suggest this dog breed for households with only one dog. 

Kuvaszok can be so protective that they will be aggressive toward other canines around their family. While this can be managed with training, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This breed is fiercely loyal and will easily keep track of cows, sheep, goats, and other livestock. 

With their dense double coat, Kuvaszok can weigh up to 115 pounds. These energetic pups can live between 10 and 12 years! 

5. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan mastiff puppies in the open air

Tibetan mastiffs surprisingly don’t shed a lot despite their massive coat!

©Tatyana Kuznetsova/

It may seem impossible to not instantly fall in love with the precious face of a Tibetan mastiff. These dogs have a beautiful flowing coat that makes them ideal for locations that get cold winters. 

While Tibetan mastiffs may be aloof at times, they are wildly intelligent and have no shortage of protection skills. Many farmers will get this livestock guardian dog breed to keep their outdoor animals safe at night. 

They can weigh up to 150 pounds and live to be 11 years old on average.

6. Bernese Mountain Dog

Large Bernese Mountain Dog lying on the grass in the park, panting.

Bernese mountain dogs are great at droving, drafting, and herding.

©Kriste Sorokaite/iStock via Getty Images

Another amazing livestock guardian dog breed is the Bernese Mountain Dog. This is one of the most common dogs to own to help keep livestock alive and well. This breed grows to be up to 115 pounds.

As they’re smiling faces suggest, Bernese mountain dogs are even-tempered and incredibly loyal. They work well with other pets and are easy to train. The average Bernese mountain dog lives to be 9 years old.

7. Akbash

Akbash dog standing in a yard

The Akbash is a relatively rare breed.


While they may resemble a Labrador retriever, the Akbash is only recognized as a breed by the United Kennel Club. This breed comes from Turkey and is famously calm unless a predator approaches their herd. 

Female Akbash dogs weigh around 90 pounds when fully grown, while males tip the scale at about 120 pounds. They have relatively low energy levels, making them ideal for people with busy lifestyles. 

On average, Akbash dogs live to be between 10 and 12 years old.

8. Pyrenean Mastiff

Pyrenean mastiffs won’t hesitate to protect livestock from massive animals such as bears!


Next is the strong and sturdy Pyrenean mastiff. These canines are perfect for protecting both animals and humans. They are from Spain and have a habit of being courageous in threatening circumstances.

Although they’re typically calm and fantastic with children, a Pyrenean mastiff will flip like a light switch if there’s an intruder in your home or pasture. This livestock guardian dog breed can weigh a whopping 240 pounds! 

They typically live to be 10 to 13 years old! 

9. Romanian Carpathian Shepherd

romanian shepherd dog standing on natural meadow, image taken near the sheep farm

Romanian Carpathian shepherds are experts in herding sheep.

©Saharrr/iStock via Getty Images

It is hard to beat how cute a Romanian Carpathian shepherd is when they’re a puppy. This gorgeous pet tends to be loyal to one person in an entire household. Whoever they choose should be responsible for training, feeding, and endless cuddles. 

A Romanian Carpathian shepherd will protect your livestock from a variety of predators including bears, coyotes, and wolves. They’re classified as guardian dogs, while many others on this list are considered working dogs. 

Romanian Carpathian shepherds need plenty of mental stimulation, or like a toddler, will find themselves getting into stuff they shouldn’t. They can weigh up to 100 pounds and live to be roughly 14 years old.

10. Komondor

Types of Big Dogs

You never have to brush the corded hair of a Komondor.


While this breed may look like a mop, this Hungarian sheepdog is incredibly sweet. In fact, their unique hair makes it easy for Komondor dogs to blend in with livestock! It also keeps them warm during extremely cold or snowy weather. 

This working breed lives up to 12 years and can weigh over 100 pounds. They’re often bred specifically to work with sheep, making them an excellent livestock guardian dog breed. Komondors are relatively independent yet still affectionate to their human family.

11. Slovak Cuvac

Slovak Cuvac

The more land you have, the happier a Slovak Cuvac will be. They love spending time in open fields.


The Slovak Cuvac is a naturally protective dog that won’t let predators get between them and the livestock. While many pet owners claim this breed sheds a lot, it may be worth it for their incredible guarding skills.

Slovak Cuvac dogs tend to weigh just under 100 pounds. They can live to be 13 years old and have a lively personality that pairs well with energetic animals such as goats.

12. Maremma Sheepdog

Maremma sheepdogs are related to Tibetan mastiffs.

© Griffiths

If you have chickens or ducks, consider adopting a Maremma sheepdog. This beautiful breed is amazing for smaller animals. They will happily protect pigs, goats, birds, and lambs. They have a thick, white coat that makes it easy for them to blend in with herds of sheep. 

This breed weighs 90 pounds on average and lives to be 12 years old. They are fiercely loyal to their family but can be hesitant to meet new people.

13. Karakachan

Bulgarian Shepherd, Karakachan Dog Portrait

This dog breed is named after Greek nomadic shepherds.

©Kisa_Markiza/iStock via Getty Images

Popular around Bulgaria, another name for Karakachans is Bulgarian sheepdogs. These canines are absolutely stunning and are popular for having incredible senses. Karakachans form tight bonds with any animal they’re in charge of protecting.

Their thick coat makes them ideal for regions that experience frigid temperatures. The average dog of this breed weighs about 110 pounds. While they are an amazing livestock guardian dog breed, they do require a bit of training. 

Karakachans have a habit of being independent to a fault. As long as you’re willing and able to put in the work, their love and loyalty will be your reward.

14. Australian Shepherd

Australian shepherd herding in field

Despite their name, Australian shepherds aren’t from Australia.

©Ellis Berankova/

As the name suggests, Australian shepherds are ideal livestock guard dogs. This breed can herd anything from sheep to cows to your unruly neighbor! They have a ton of energy and love to spend time working in the great outdoors. 

Australian shepherds are the smallest dogs on this list, averaging around 65 pounds. They live to be 12 to 14 years old on average. This breed learns quickly and needs much less training than other dogs on this list.

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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