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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Good dog! Using livestock guardian dogs to protect livestock from predators in Australia’s extensive grazing systems

Published source details

Van Bommel L. & Johnson C.N. (2012) Good dog! Using livestock guardian dogs to protect livestock from predators in Australia’s extensive grazing systems. Wildlife Research, 39, 220-229


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use guardian animals (e.g. dogs, llamas, donkeys) bonded to livestock to deter predators to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after study in 1997–2010 on a grassland-dominated ranch in Queensland, Australia (Van Bommel & Johnson 2012) found that when guardian dogs Canis lupus familiaris were used to protect livestock from dingoes Canis dingo and other predators, sheep mortality declined. By three years after the guardian dog programme commenced, annual sheep losses had fallen to 4% of the flock and remained at 4–7% over the following five years. In the six years before the programme commenced, there was 7–15% annual mortality of the sheep flock. Sheep mortality figures included all causes of death, not only predation. The study was conducted on a 47,000-ha ranch, hosting approximately 12,000–22,000 sheep and 4,000 cattle. Dingoes and feral dogs were the main livestock predators in the area. In 2002, twenty-four Maremma sheepdogs were integrated with the sheep. The sheepdogs worked unsupervised in groups of 1–4. They had access to self-feeders with dry dog food. Dingoes and wild dogs were also baited with poison and wild dogs were shot opportunistically.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)