Considering Multi-Species Grazing? How to Choose a Guardian Animal for Sheep & Goats

So you’re a little sheepish about multi-species grazing. It’s understandable. Changing fencing strategies and planning handling, sorting, lambing and all the rest of it is a daunting task. Once you add predators to the mix, it can all seem a little overwhelming. Or, at least it did until I attended the Multi-Species Grazing Conference hosted by Sexton Grazing and Consulting in Hanley, Sask., last week..

Once there, I spoke with An Peischel, extension specialist with the University of Tennesee, who explained that the Canadian prairies have huge potential for multi-species grazing, and predators should not hinder anyone from setting it up.  In this video interview, Peischel describes the important role livestock guardian dogs play in her operation, factors to consider when choosing a breed and offers tips on training pups.

In selecting a dog, Peischel says, “I look at the topography of the area first, I look at the climate and then I look at the number of goats I’m putting in.” Peischel adds that it’s important to know the predator you’re mostly likely dealing with — be it bear, wolf, coyote or human — when choosing the breed and number of guardian animals.

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.


Debra Murphy

Debra Murphy is a Field Editor based out of east central Alberta, where she never misses a moment to capture with her camera the real beauty of agriculture. Follow her on Twitter @RealAg_Debra


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I had no idea there was so much involved in choosing in a guard dog! Loved the sound of the meadowlark in the background.

Lyndsey Smith

Me too! And I liked learning about how the predator pressure impacts the decision. Fascinating stuff. Sheep and goats are a neat addition to grazing cattle…more on that next!


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