An LGD For All Reasons

Two “common” bits of wisdom about Livestock Guardian Dogs is that their job is solely to protect livestock, and that LGSs are aloof and independent minded. There is one LGD breed, however, that defies both conceptions, and that is the Polish Tatra Sheepdog.

A fixture of southern Poland since the 14th century, Tatras are both guard and herding dog, and this makes them a versatile choice for a small farm or livestock operation. Neither a heeler nor a nipper, a Tatra uses his large body (100 to 150 pounds) to guide sheep along, but once darkness falls, the Tatra becomes guardian of the flock using both urine and feces to mark perimeters as a warning to predators.

An additional breed trait that makes the Tatra ideal for certain circumstances is that while they are self thinkers, they are more social and affectionate than other LGDs, and it’s this taste for human interaction that makes the Tatra a breed worth considering for farms that accept visitors.

The Polish Tatra Sheepdog goes by several names: Owczarek Podhalanski, Owczarek Tatrzanski, Polish Mountain Sheepdog, Chien de Tatras, Tatra Shepherd, and Tatrahund among them, but breed enthusiasts refer to this magnificent white dog as a Tatra, named for the mountains of Slovakia.

“Cute White Dog On The Beach” by Michal Bednarek is available for purchase here

2 thoughts on “An LGD For All Reasons”

  1. They are not, nor should be, herding. EVER! NO LGDs, it’s why every country that has a LGD, also has a HERDING breed, separate jobs, separate genetics. Poland has the PON or Polish Lowland Sheepdog. one moves the herd about, the other guards it. now, ALL LGDs accompany the flock to the pasture, in open range, mountains, etc there are also the shepherds & herding breeds, to move them. the dogs simply accompany to guard. if they are moving stock on their own, they should be stopped. not their job. 30 yrs of working LGD breeds, many different ones. this is unchanged about what they do.

    • Thanks for the comment, Theresa. Our information is only as good as our sources, and we strive to check and cross check information. Virtually every source we consulted – including the Polish Tatra Sheepdog of America – includes herding as part of the breed’s wheel house. The Polish Tatra Sheepdog Club writes on their website: “Tatras were developed as working dogs. They serve a dual purpose and act as both a herding dog and also a guardian dog.”

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