Over the years I have been contacted from countless customers desperately needing a dog to guard their farm from coyotes, mountain lions, wolves & a slew of other large & dangerous predators. Many times these customers in good faith will have purchased a Western bred livestock guarding breed, then took their new guardian home & faced it of with a caged coon or some other "farm pariah" to evaluate their new guardian’s preydrive. These customers have quickly been disappointed to either see their new guardian casually walk off, or just show little to no interest in the matter at all. Unfortunately this is typical when it comes to purchasing a predator defense dog breed (bred in the west). It’s the classic case of breeding without testing for working ability! The modern philosophy on “Predator Defense” type working dogs in western countries is that as long as he looks big & tough, that’s all that really matters. All emphasis on working ability (or in other words, it’s ability to defend against large predators) has been snuffed out & replaced with a big steaming pile of political correctness & wishful thinking!
Contrarily, in poor & undeveloped Countries throughout Eastern Europe, Central Asia, & the Middle East, protecting the livestock is imperative to the survival of these indigenous people. These people know that testing a Predator Defense Dog’s ability to combat the wolf is a dire necessity to ensure the capability of the guardian of their flocks. Think about it; It only stands to reason that if a Predator Defense Dog’s main purpose is to defend his master & or his masters property from predatory animals, then the dog in question should have (some way) to be proven fit for that job, & if he is going to be relied on to defend against apex predators such as wolves & mountain lions, then he should at the very least be allowed to test for this very important job with other Predator Defense Dogs. This is the ONLY way to preserve these traits! Unfortunately in the US & other Western Countries, testing dogs for these traits is no longer allowed so these working qualities are lost to most of our Predator Defense & Livestock Guarding Breeds.
Bellow is a basic outline of “The Predator Defense Test” used for the evaluation of wolf dogs, & other predator defense type dogs throughout the Eastern Europe, Russia, & the (Middle & Far) East for thousands of years. It is for educational & historical purposes ONLY!!!
The Predator Defense Test
The "Predator Defense Test" is the basic standard test for predator defense dogs. The purpose of the Predator Defense Test is to evaluate if the dog in question is reasonably gritty enough to willingly engage with another canine (relatively equal in size, & equal in it's willingness to engage) for the specified time, in order to be deemed suitable for the task of predator defense work. The duration of time for this evaluation would usually be for approximately 15 minutes. This is ample time for the evaluation, & In most circumstances this is the longest amount of time a wild predator would willingly engage with an adversary in the wild.
In most cases the Tester (usually a farmer or rancher) will have a young prospect that has been in a few short rolls & is now at the proper age (at least 2 years old) & is ready to be tested. The tester would first chose a dog to roll with his dog for the test. This might have been another young prospect looking to pass the Predator Defense Test or an experienced Predator Defense dog that he knew would be more than willing to test his prospect. Once the tester had decided on a willing partner for the test, he would then find a quiet/private place to proceed with the evaluation.
If it was a friend’s dog that had been agreed upon to help test the prospect, the testers would always want to keep it friendly. After all they knew this was not a contest with a winner or loser, but rather a team effort to get one of, or both of their dogs tested & ready to be a reliable defender against predators.
If they made it far enough that their dog is ready to be tested, then they would already know their dog was willing to engage with his partner. The testers would NEVER force their dogs to engage! This would have defeat the whole purpose of testing his/her willingness to engage. Also they would have made sure their dogs were in good physical condition as to have the endurance for the test. On the morning of the test they would withhold food from their dogs until the test was over.
Once ready, the testers would face their dogs a few feet apart, then on the agreed time they would release their dogs. As the dogs engaged they would keep a close eye on both dogs, as long as the dogs were staying in holds (or working to get another one) then all was good, however if one of the dogs got ahead of another & overpowered that individual in such a way that it seemed dangerous to the welfare of the said dog, then the test would immediately have been stopped. Once again the testers were always mindful that this was NOT a match. They never let their egos ruin a good dog, they knew that little good was their predator defense dog going to do them if seriously injured! They also knew that they could always try & reevaluate their dog again at a latter date if needed! If at any time during the evaluation a prospect showed signs that he or she wishes to quit (i.e. laying down in submission with tail tucked, snarling & snapping or running away), then the dogs would immediately be separated & testing would be stopped. (a prospect would never be forced to keep going! Any dog that quit during the specified time was culled from any breeding programs, & were definitely NOT relied on as serious deterrents against Predators.) If the prospect being tested made it to the 15 minute mark with out yielding then he was passed as “Acceptable“. In the instance that a prospect had to be tested on three different occasions, with three different partners, with all three testing attempts having to be cut short before the 15 minute duration due to the said prospect overpowering his partner, then on the third attempt he could be passed as "UNBREACHED".
I think this was a very simple & effective way to testing Predator Defense Dogs & could restore the working ability of these breeds in the West by leaps & bounds if the practice were to be carefully & LEGALLY reintroduced.
*ATTENTION: The above excerpt is for conversational, historical, & educational purposes ONLY, the views here are of a "What If " type scenario & is not to be taken literally. If testing Predator Defense Dogs & Live Stock Guarding Dogs is illegal in your home country, province, or state, then by all means, I recommend that you abide by the laws & regulations set forth by your country. We absolutely do not recommend, condone, or participate in ANY illegal activity.*