In Raymond Coppinger’s book on dog origins and behavior, he states that livestock guardian dogs, if they are to be successful, are to show virtually no predatory behavior.
Active herding dogs, like border collies, exhibit predatory behavior towards the stock. In fact, it’s well-established that border collies can easily turn into sheep killers if not carefully managed and trained.
In this view, it is impossible for a dog to be a livestock guardian and herding dog, and in the United States, this is a commonly held assertion. In fact, I held this belief until just a few days ago, when I was confronted with two pieces of evidences. One was a herding Caucasian ovtcharka who belongs to Lindsay Tompkins, who also raises shiba inu. The other was a this post by Dave of the former Little Heelers blog, which has moved to the new Prick-Eared site.
On this site, he has posted a very interesting piece called “Wolf Killing Collies.” In the post, he embeds two videos of dogs in Kazakhstan herding cattle and horeses. Although the post titles leads one to assume these might be traditional herding breeds, the dogs in the videos are Central Asian Ovtcharka, livestock guardian dogs that are know for their courage in fighting wolves and also each other. The ones in Kazakhstan are called Tobet, and they do guard sheep and other stock. But when they are needed to herd, they do herd.
Why these dogs are capable of doing both tasks is a major problem for the Coppinger model. For the Coppinger model to work, both herding and livestock guarding have to be mutually exclusive. Livestock guardian working behavior, according to Coppinger, would have to be devoid of all predatory behavior.
But it’s obviously not the case.
Ask this wild boar if a livestock guardian has no predatory behavior: