I'll be getting my own horse property soon and moving my horses there. However, I want to know at all times my horses (and family!) are safe. There are cougars in the area, so I want something that will be able to alert me and stand up to them and any other predators, as well as let me know if the horses are "off" - i.e. injured or sick. In addition, I'm a trail/endurance rider, so I want a dog I can bring with me and know we're safe. Preferably, I'd like something that can go down the trail with me off-leash if needed.
The Great Pyrenees seems to be the perfect dog for us, except for the off leash part. I got my info from this website: The Great Pyrenees Temperament
What I like about them especially are these things:
- Gentle and easily managed (we need a dog patient with kids)
- Affectionate and loyal, but not attention-seekers or needy dogs (I plan for it to live in the pasture/barn and don't want it to get excited about new people)
- Not a one-man-dog
- Protective, but only agressive when necessary
- Laid-back and tolerant, particularly of small things like children and of strangers petting them
- Independent - I need a dog that can think for itself and make decisions; I also liked how the dogs evaluate each new person or animal to decide if they're welcome
- Attentive and fearless
and of course, they were bred specifically for the purpose I need one for.
Is there another breed that has most of these characteristics that would do better off leash? I understand that staying nearby off-leash can directly contradict some of the traits I value more, such as independence and ability to make their own decisions when guarding my horses and family, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Worst case scenario, I guess we could do something with an invisible fence or limit his territory with goatwire fencing. I plan to have his territory include the pasture and barn areas as I wouldn't want him in the front yard if someone needed to come to the door. Any suggestions for other breeds? Or anybody with experiences with Great Pyrenees?