So I just got a LGD because, while the coyotes are still respecting my fence, they make their presence known vocally and there are tons of pics of them on the game camera right by my back gate and I didn’t want to wait until I needed one. A pup takes a while to grow up (some say 2 years to be livestock safe but I personally wanted a faster maturing line). I think way more important than worrying about a specific LGD breed is worrying about the breeder and the lines the dog comes from. I sort of stumbled into mine with dumb luck. He was 5 months old (half Komondor and half Great Pyrenees) and we were his third home through no fault of his own. The breeder had him back at the time I went to look at him. I got to see his older siblings working and his parents. Lucky me! Her farm was ran very much like mine and I loved the reactions her dogs gave and the jobs they did when strangers were near the fence. So we paid the lady and brought him home.
For your first question, if you start with a dog on the younger side, I don’t think you’ll have any issues with your herding dogs and the LGD. Even if you start with a more mature dog, you should be okay if from day one they realize the other dogs belong and have a job to do. If it’s an older dog, keep it secure but let it watch the dogs work and reward clam and relaxed behavior. Just remember, no matter the age of the LGD, EVERY introduction is made by you (goats, other dogs, chickens, people, you get the idea).
2. I’m not going to lie, it’s constant supervision with your first LGD. We used to have a pack and the older ones kept the younger ones in line really well. We don’t have that luxury now so we put a kennel (that will double as a birthing stall later) in the goat barn and that’s where he sleeps. I’ve had him less than 2 months and am fairly certain I could let him sleep without the kennel and he’d be fine unsupervised with the goats all night but I’m a worry wart. He’s with them all day and night and solid gold with his behavior (other than eating their hay, alfalfa pellets and kelp, he’s weird). Our guy is already bonding to the goats. How you go about bonding depends on the age of the pup and even how the goats feel about him. I like mine to turn to their charges for company and comfort as much as they do to me. Some don’t care about that and that works too. And, as a side note, you absolutely can bond with the dog and form a strong one at that. He’ll love what you love. Leash train the dog and for the first few weeks take it on lots of walks all around its area.
To lower the chance of any goat attacks (though if it’s good breeding, it won’t be attacks but rough play from a still-learning pup but either is not okay), it’s just supervision and boundaries. You may have some goats that help you set those, you may not. My “puppy” is way bigger than my goats because he was on the older side for a pup to go to a new farm, but extremely responsive to a correction, which is just a “nahh” or a “Hey!”. They just need to know you’re the boss and respect you and they need to know the rules. And you have to respect their independent thinking because that’s what will save your livestock someday.
The best thing you can do is talk to the breeder you mentioned and explain what you want. If you feel she has quality dogs, then she’ll be able to pick the dog/pup best suited for what you’re wanting. She also knows her lines and can tell you how much supervision they need and how to go about getting the dog to become the guardian your farm needs. The dog I got was not the dog I contacted the breeder about and yet he is the perfect fit and she was absolutely right.
I hesitated getting a dog because it’s been a long while since I had an LGD and I know they’re a totally different breed (so to speak) than what I’ve grown accustomed to over the past decade and I worried for my dogs, cats, poultry and even goats if I got one because of all the horror stories I’ve read on FB. Now I’m so glad I got him! Get in touch with the breeder. It definitely won’t hurt to have a conversation.