Amboy or “Boy” as he has been known for most of his life, came to us as a 6 year old experienced livestock dog.
Boy was guarding a herd of hair sheep in Spokane when the farm was sold and he was split from his female companion. He has settled in wonderfully at Devil Goat Farm and adores his partner Artemis. It can be risky introducing an adult LGD – in fact his previous partner ran away from her new farm. Besides the risks to the dog, if can be nerve wracking seeing how the dog fits in with both stock and the owners. We are very lucky that Boy is a gentle giant. He is wonderful with the goats, chickens, house dogs and cats and even adores the 1 year old baby.
Boy prefers to ignore fences, he seems to actually dissolve through them at will. However he only does so in order to further his patrol in morning and evening checks. The rest of the time he can be found sleeping in a pasture or on a hillside overlooking the goats. He is also terrifying looking and will stand in the driveway blocking cars until released – not a bad bonus when you live in the middle of no where.
Boy’s diet was what some farms consider typical prior to coming here – scraps and mice, and offal from sheep slaughters. We started him on a large breed dog food and supplements that are proving he has a lovely coat after all and his health at nearly 9 years old is still quite vital. Boy is a neutered male and can’t be bred, but his service to our farm is invaluable; we have felt safer from day one with him here.
When he first came to use we were told that he was a Maremma. Amboy had worked on several farms over his lifetime and his origins are unknown, though I’ve traced back through two prior owners and hit a dead end. However after more research it has become clear that ‘Boy’ is actually a Turkish breed of Livestock Guard Dog called an Akbash. This breed is a little less friendly than the Maremma, a little harder around the edges, but still wonderful at their jobs. You can see the difference between he and Artemis with his shorter coat, shorter tail that curls at the end and his amber-colored eyes. He also barks far more than she does and is less likely to tolerate poor behavior from stock, visiting dogs or humans.
Even though we’ll never know if Boy is truly an Akbash or a Maremma mix or something else entirely, he’s a saint as far as we’re concerned and will never have to find a new farm to guard again.
Read more about LGDs here.