The farm is located at the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range which means we have a variety of predators in our area posing a risk to our flock. This includes coyotes, cougar, bear and there are even recent reports of wolf. For flock protection, we started with Rocky the guardian llama. Rocky is a goofy character but don't let his cartoon characteristics fool you, he takes his guardian job very seriously. The flock adores him as much as we do. A llama can discourage many predators, but not all.
To sleep better at night, we added a mature and experienced Maremma livestock guarding dog (LGD). The Maremma breed originated in Italy where they have been used to guard flocks for centuries. The LGD's lives with the flock full-time. The LGD partnered with Rocky making a well rounded team.
We later added a second Maremma youngster to the team who gave us a a beautiful litter of pups. We kept two pups as our future guardian team. The "pups" fully enjoyed their puppyhood as farm dogs and eased into regular work slowly over their first two years. They refined their guardian skills by learning from their parents. The LGD breeds mature slowly and it is not unusual that a youngster will take two or more years to be fully trained for the guardian role.