Livestock Protection Dogs

Great Pyrenees protecting sheep

Livestock Protection dogs or "guardian dogs" are used to protect sheep from predators such as coyotes, mountain lions and bears. While out recreating, you may come across large white or tan Great Pyrenese/lab mix type dogs. These dogs are not strays or abandoned. If you do not see sheep nearby, they may be patrolling the area for potential predators. Leave them be as they are not pets. 

If you encounter sheep while recreating on public land, it is best to alter your route to minimize contact. However, if you cannot avoid contact:

  • Watch for livestock protection dogs near sheep (usually large dogs, white or tan in color).
  • Remain calm if a livestock protection dog approaches you.
  • If you are on a bike, dismount and put the bike between you and the dog.
  • Tell the dog to “go back to the sheep” or say “no” in a firm voice.
  • Walk your bike until well past the sheep.
  • Keep your distance and choose the least disruptive route around the sheep.
  • Keep your dog leashed.
Do Not:
  • Chase or harass the sheep or dog(s).
  • Make quick, threatening movements towards the sheep or dog(s).
  • Try to outrun the dog(s).
  • Attempt to befriend, pet, or feed the dog(s).
  • Allow your dog to run towards or harass the sheep.
  • Mistake a dog as lost and take it with you.

Please call us if you are in doubt or have any questions.

To learn more about Livestock Protection Dogs, visit the USDA's website.