Causes and Economic Effects of Mortality in Livestock Guarding Dogs
Keywordscosts and returns
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CitationLorenz, J. R., Coppinger, R. P., & Sutherland, M. R. (1986). Causes and economic effects of mortality in livestock guarding dogs. Journal of Range Management, 39(4), 293-295.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractWe assessed causes of pre-senile mortality among working guarding dogs, and its effects on their management and cost. A population of 449 livestock guarding dogs in 31 states showed no differences in mortality due to breed or sex, but dogs working on open rangelands died more frequently (p<.001) than those working on farms or fenced ranches. Half of the farm dogs died before they reached 38 months of age, by which time nearly three-quarters of the open rangelands dogs had succumbed. Accidents accounted for over half the deaths, culling for inappropriate behavior accounted for one-third, and diseases for 9%. High accident and culling rates in young dogs substantially increased the cost of this predator control technique. However, we found 2 main areas where corrective measures can be applied: (1) increasing the awareness among producers that accidents are a main cause of deaths especially during the dogs' first 30 months of age; and (2) reducing the number of culls by improving the genetics of the dogs and by training producers to manage them.