It’s may be a low-tech solution, but as man’s best friend greets us at the door every day, another type of dog is becoming more and more popular among farmers as a livestock guardian.
Kuvasz dogs are a breed introduced to Canada from Hungary about 60 years ago. Amber Kunz and her dog Scrabble are at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, educating people about the breed and the qualities that make them excellent livestock guardians.
“They will protect any livestock. Chicken, goat, sheep, alpaca, whatever,” said Kunz, owner of Kuvaszok Kennels. “In Ontario, the coyotes are getting bad,” making the need for livestock protection more prevalent.
Kunz is a Goderich-based breeder and said she’s been coming to the farm show for about 10 years. It’s good business for her, connecting with farmers who need livestock protection. She’s also able to raise some awareness of the breed, which is still relatively uncommon in Canada and one that most don’t recognize, though they look like large, fluffy white huskies.
Kunz said the breed will chase off any predators, from bears to bobcats, or even human intruders trying to break into a home. It’s just instinct, not something the dogs have to learn.
“They don’t want any harm to come to their family, whether that’s humans or livestock,” she said. “They bond very strongly.”
And contrary to what you might think, the use of guard dogs on farms is more popular than ever, Kunz said. The farm show is a hugely busy time for selling dogs into new families because of what is a “low-tech” solution it is to a pesky problem.
“People think its dying out but it is not, a lot of people are using livestock dogs,” Kunz said. ” It’s the best way. It is environmentally friendly. There’s no point in shooting predators if dogs can just chase them off.”
Kunz brought Scrabble, a kuvasz puppy, with her on the first day of the three-day event, Canada’s largest agricultural trade show. The 21-month-old is calm and getting used to kids – “a good ambassador” for the wonderful dogs they can be, she said.