Cougars are big.
How do you think a 40-45 pound coyote (average sized male)
would fare with this mule?
I got my first horse in 1952 and have owned horses ever since.
I've lived in Eastern Colorado, West Texas, and Central Texas.
Most of the places I've lived have had an abundance of coyotes.
Our horses were kept in the pasture to foal naturally... not in
barns or stalls, so the mares were out there with all the predators.
I was NEVER worried that a coyote might hurt one of my foals - I knew
that the mare would protect her foal. The idea that a coyote could hurt
an adult horse in good health makes me laugh. One strike of the
hoof, one well placed kick, one serious bite and the coyote is history!
At least, that is my opinion!
While I love my Anatolians, I don't believe my Anatolians are required to protect
my horses from coyotes.
Anatolians were raised and selected for thousands of years to guard sheep and/or
goats. Correct Anatolian working responses are always those behaviors required by
sheep and/or goats. Sheep and/or goat responses are frequently quite different than responses
needed by other domestic animals. Seeing how an Anatolian interacts with horses,
cattle, llamas, and poultry can be useful in determining an Anatolian's overall
livestock guardian ability, but not essential in making that determination.
For example, when I moved my llamas and my incredible working Anatolian,
Conard's Tawny Kat (TAWNY)
from Elgin to Lucky Hit Ranch, I saw how important it is that an Anatolian understands
when to change behaviors to match the livestock with whom they are dealing.
My neighbor had an aggressive
mule. When I walked across the pasture to visit my neighbor, I had Tawny accompanied me.
Tawny co-existed with several horses in my pasture with her llamas and goats.
When the mule saw Tawny, he moved toward her aggressively and
she dropped to the ground to demonstrate that she wasn't a threat, a perfect
response for sheep and/or goats. However, the mule didn't care and viscously struck her head
with his foreleg! Tawny's lightening reactions saved her from a death blow but she did
receive a glancing blow to the head! Her immediate response to this unprovoked attack
was to leap forward and bite his nose, creating a slit down his nose! The mule ran off.
A young Anatolian most likely would not have returned the mule's aggression with greater
aggression, like my adult Anatolians do to stop the attack. A passive response might have resulted in a
dead Anatolian pup!!! So I keep my Anatolian pups on a lead in pastures with larger animals (horses and cows)
until the Anatolians are about 6 months old. Before releasing them, I want to ensure that
both the pup and the animals are comfortable with each other and that the pup understands the different behaviors
required for that animal!
Of course, if the owner doesn't have the animals to evaluate their pups' working
responses and abilities, they are unable to truly evaluate their Anatolians' livestock
guardian ability! Serious Anatolian breeders interested in Anatolian breed preservation have
done the work to create an environment in which the true nature of their Anatolians
is revealed. The only environment that can and will reveal an Anatolian's level of
livestock guardian ability is a predator rich enviornment in which the Anatolian
protects sheep and/or goats 24/7! Without this environment, an Anatolian's
working ability is only guess-work!
Health testing and show wins alone are the
smallest part of breed preservation, since the essence of the Anatolian lies in
the dog's ability to successfully protect their sheep and/or goats in a predator
rich environment! Anatolians who have proven they have superior livestock guardian
abilities contain the MOST IMPORTANT GENETICS required in Anatolian Breed Preservation!