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Best Farm Dog? - A good protector of Rabbits & Chickens

& just a good overall watchdog. Looking into getting a pair of Ridge Backs. Anyone have experience with owning one of these dogs or have a recommendation?

If your gonna have chickens you should have rabbits also - dam tasty them rabbits & the pelt is useful

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I've had all kinds of dogs over the years...

I've bred dogs, showed dogs, etc.

We had a Pyrenees...she barked constantly and could be found miles from home...she also took the other dogs with her. For protection of any sort she was totally worthless...and she did eat quite a bit. We wanted her to protect the cattle...no way.

We had two Border Collies...they couldn't be stopped from chasing the stock unless they were penned or tied...not what I had in mind...smart, yes, hardheaded..definitely.

We had a Pit bull that arrived here after a fight..mostly dead. She recovered. She was a great personal protector but she killed ducks and geese, terrified visitors...( they were just scared of her breed, she did not aggress against anyone).

We had a Doberman Pinscher who was extremely good with the stock and a wonderful pet...she got run over and killed out by the mailbox...dang

We had an Australian Shepard...he was a very nice, loyal, gentle, brave dog that never bothered anyone...He was also killed by someone driving 80 mph on our narrow little farm to market road.

Then a little American bulldog showed up..starved, scared. He bonded with the horses and guards them night and day. He's small, but he'll take on anything that annoys or aggresses against his horses. Just what we wanted....He's old now and can hardly get around...we love him to pieces...when he's gone we will probably get another Australian Shepard or another Doberman.

Good luck with your search...as you can see it took us 20 years to get the 'right' dog (s)...

I'm a big fan

of the Akbash.

I still get choked up

even when I see photographs of them. They are truly magnificent creatures.

Check out LGDs

The specific purpose of livestock guardian dogs is to do just that...guard the livestock. Normally, they are docile, except you had better not mess with their owners or their livestock. We have two Anatolian Shepards who guard our alpacas and my big male is my all time favorite dog...and I've had many different breeds. Some of the dogs suggested here are more working dogs in the sense that they tend to want to herd animals all the time and that might be contra-indicated for small livestock such as chickens and rabbits. Cattle, yes. I believe one of your most important considerations is to look at the parents of the dog you chose and how the dog has been raised up until the time you purchase him/her. To be reliable, the dog or puppy should have been raised right with livestock and not have been treated as a family pet...there is a difference. Good luck to you.

That's probably the best

That's probably the best advice out there. Get a dog that has been bred specifically for the purpose, as they'll be easier to train, better at it and happier with their lot in life. Are there places where breeders advertise LGD's. Like farming magazines and such?

I'd suggest

checking out www.ldg.org where you can read about the different livestock guardian dog breeds. Then you can look up breeders online. Thanks and good luck.

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Australian Shepherd

They are usually too gentle to herd cattle, but are easily trained to herd ducks and geese. They are soft-mouthed, intelligent, protective but not vicious. All around nice working dogs.





Raising chickens and rabbits

does not require a "working dog".

However, if you get into actual livestock, then a working dog might be a good idea. There's plenty of working dog breeds out there to choose from, that do different tasks, and in different sizes.
For chickens and rabbits, I'd avoid terriers(which are "ratters" and small pest controllers) and also things like dachshunds and the like, which are also pest-controllers. Unless you can assure that they cannot get to the rabbits and chickens, because they will kill them. On the other hand, if rats and rodent control are the prime duty, then those types of dogs would be very good for that.

A "watch dog" can be any breed that barks to alert you of danger. The dog itself doesn't have to do anything but alert you. A dog for this purpose can be as small as a "tea-cup Chihuahua".

A "protection dog" will go a step further than a "watch dog". He will do watch dog duty, AND take the step to do the actual protection too. This type of dog needs to be big enough to handle the expected attackers which he is expected to confront.

Select a dog based upon the needs, and consider the care and feeding.
Some here have mentioned that a large dog can eat alot, and it's true, especially during the first year of growth. However, they may be what is required for certain needs, and be worth feeding them.

For a pet, you only need to pick something that you can bond with.
It can range from the scruffiest little mutt, to the most majestic purebred dog. They can all make good pets, but beware that poor breeding can produce bad temperment and also genetic defects that might not show up till late in life, such as bad hips in large dogs. And if you don't know the breed stock of the dog, you are taking a "crap shoot" about genetics.

My favorite: the Rottweiler. They are a pet, a watchdog, a protection dog, and a working dog. They are superb cattle herding dogs, and that was their original working task. Also, a very good cart-pulling dog, which can pull a small cart like a horse, and they have been used for centuries as cart-pullers. In Germany, they were called the "Metzgerhund"(Butcher's dog), and they herded the cattle, pulled the meat cart to the town market, and protected the owner and his money on the way home to the farm. More recently, they have become primarily guard dogs. To my mind, a Rottie is the most enjoyable dog, and can do anything. However, they are head-strong, and you must be experienced in how to handle large dogs without beating them. Rottweilers do not respond well to taking beatings, and they WILL defend themselves. So, you must use gentler means and psychological means to train them properly, and that works IF you know what you are doing. If you don't, you'll have a BIG problem on your hands, because that's a big powerful dog that will consider himself to be the boss. And he can back it up when he needs to
But, if you train a Rottweiler well, it is the most enjoyable companion imaginable, and can perform nearly any duty asked of him. They are very intelligent, agile, and strong. Very trainable, if you have diligence to spend the time necessary. Their intelligence, and their breeding as a herd dog gives them alot of desire to act independently, and they will make decisions on their own. This is why you MUST know how to train them young, and gently put them under your control via "getting into their head' to submit to your will, without beatings. Their strong bonding and desire to please, is the pathway into the training, and you can "make them feel bad" if they didn't do what you asked. This is how they are effectively trained, even if it might sound unusual. NEVER back a Rottweiler into a corner.
Do not get a Rottweiler to chain out in the back yard, and give little attention to. That is very bad. They want to bond to you, and be around you, as your companion and worker. They respond very poorly to being chained and left alone, and can become mean and defensive.
They want to be part of the family, and an important part of it. Treat them that way, and you'll have a great Rottie.

Thanks for the info about

Thanks for the info about the Rot. I had no idea they would herd well. The one's I've seen have always been Schutzhunds, K9's and pets, and very much needy of being around their owners. But they're smart as heck, so I guess training and rearing will go a long way. Also, there are perhaps different breedlines for different tasks, at least in Germany.

The Rottweiler breed

is an ancient breed that is generally attributed to originating in the Roman Empire.
As the armies traveled on foot, and there was no refrigeraton, they drove herds of cattle along with the armies, and the meat was "on the hoof". Rottweilers were the herd dogs, and also worked as war dogs in some cases.
When the Romans were driven out of Germany, these dogs were left behind. Since there were apparently a significant amount of them left in the vicinity of the town of Rottweil in Germany, they became known as Rottweilers.

The were used primarily as cattle herding dogs. They are in the category of "headers". There are 2 forms of herding. There are "headers" and "heelers". Most of the herd dogs we think about today are "heelers" such as Australian Shepherds, aka "Blue Heelers" or "Red Heelers", and there are also many other types of "heelers". They herd by nipping at the heels of the herd animals. "Headers" are bigger stronger dogs, and they actually grab hold of the front of the cattle near the heads and necks, to pull them into the direction they want them to go. Or they push them from the front, or generally direct them from the front. Rottweilers are in that "header" category of herd dog.

Cart pulling became a very widespread use of Rottweilers too. They are big and strong, and can be trained to pull a cart just like a small horse. You can even ride in the cart. This is still practiced today, and there are Rottweiler clubs which specialize in "carting". They pull the carts very well, and it's fun to see the dog harnessed-up to a cart and puling it just like a horse. They are good at i, and they seem to like it. This has been done for centuries.

Eventually, there became less need for these dogs, because horses were able to pull bigger loads, and there were plenty of other herding dogs around, and the Rottweiler almost became extinct in the late 1800s. There were only 2 Rottweilers left in the town or Rottweil, and probably very few elsewhere. Some people decided to save the breed, and worked on a breeding program for guard dog purposes. It worked out well, and they began to increase their numbers. In the 1930s, the Rottweiler came to America, and was recognized by the AKC, for membership. Their numbers steadily increased, and by the mid 1990s they became the 2nd most popular breed in America. This wasn't good, because the dog is just "too much dog" for the average dog owner, and some unscrupulous breeders began churning them out in "puppy mills", which passed-on some undesirable traits. The dogs became biters, and got a bad reputation for the breed. Serious Rottweiler breeders then took hold of the situation on their own, and worked very hard to ensure that they sold no dogs to puppy mills, and worked hard to educate the public about how "not to buy a Rottweiler", and it worked. The biting problem dropped, and the problem of public fear was stemmed, to a certain degree.
Not everyone can own a Rottweiler. It is a big responsibility, and a big task that not everyone can handle. But, if you put the time and effort into it, and you understand the dog's needs and their character, and work with it, you can achieve an extremely good result.

Australian Shepherd...

I have an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix and an Australian Shepherd/Blue Heeler mix. They are amazing farm dogs and very good working breeds. My dogs are excellent guards. They let me know when there is someone/something outside. Smart dogs too! Training is a snap and they are the most loyal breed of dogs. I have had many dogs and these two are my favorite. I will never have another breed of dog. In fact, when I can get a home with more room, I will find a few more Aussies to adopt and add to my pack. Two is just not enough.



I agree...

This is a great watch dog!

There are so many morons I can't keep track


Perhaps you might want to look into a Chesapeake

Bay Retreiver. I've had 25 years experience with them and have found them to be some of the most dedicated and loyal dogs I've had the pleasure to deal with. I do agree with some of the others that a German Shepherd is a great choice but if an all around dog, guard, personal companion, hunter is needed the Chessie would be my first choice.
My wife and I were a bit concerned that our youngest would never learn to walk due to the motherly attention shown by our Chessie towards her. Every time the kid tried to walk off an area carpet in the living room the dog would sit her back down on the carpet. She truly treated the child as her own and would have definitly sacrificed her life to protect her.
The more I know of people the more I love my dogs.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

A big dog (or dogs) will eat you out of house and home...

Border collies are excellent on the farm. And you only need one.

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...


when we were shopping for a guard dog, we came across the caucasian ovtcharka. They -certainly- pass the looks test:


We went and saw some in person. One of the most intimidating dogs I've ever seen, and I've lived with large dogs all my life.

Other than them, any of the well known guard breeds would probably work well. Great Pyr, Akbash, etc. Be sure to look for something that isn't known for its prey drive so your dog isn't eating your livestock! :)

Rott mix

We have a Rott (which I think were once used for herding) mix - picked up that the free range feeding chicken go to their coop at night and thinks he should herd them. I think he justed watched so many times he just started helping.

Please Note Well!!!

An American Bulldog is NOT THE SAME as a Pit Bull. They are 2 different breeds. Period. (unless mixed/cross-bred). Their ancestry isn't even from the same country.

The American Bulldog evolved from the canines the Elizabethan English Bulldog & Asian Mastiffs which were brought to Europe by traders. There is no Terrier whatsoever in them, unlike a Pit Bull which does.

The reasons for the mix-up of Pits & Am. Bulldogs is the face, which is a bit similar. But if you stand the 2 side-by-side the differences are definitely obvious. The A.B. is taller & leaner in build and this is true of the head. While looking at pics of them separated, the heads look the same, but side-by-side, you will see that the Pit has a wider, more triangular battering-ram head while the A.B.'s is more round & narrow.

There are 2 types of American Bulldogs: The Johnson Type - which people often confuse with a Boxer; and the Scott Type - the one people always confuse as a Pit Bull.

Physiologically, the Pit Bull has solid, connective muscles which run from his skull straight down to the jaw. This is what makes the Pit bite so deadly. The A.B. does not share this trait and is like most other dogs with more separated jaw & skull muscles.

In addition, Pit Bulls are illegal in some counties & states. In those same areas, it is perfectly legal to own an American Bulldog.

The poor American Bulldog has gotten a bad rap for being mistaken so often for a Pit Bull and a lot of ignorant dog fighters make this poor breed fight when it doesn't possess the same traits as a true Pit in the ring. (It's head & jaw muscles). It physically cannot win against the Pit's bite.

That said, it is an EXCELLENT working dog, but not for someone who does not take the time to train. No dog is actually.


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Border Collies

are smart, loyal and protective.

Best farm dog we ever had was

a German Shepherd/Collie mix. Great watchdog. Did kill a couple chickens ... but that was fixed by tying one of the dead chickens around his neck for a day. Ohmygosh, I wish we had more like him. He died 25 years ago, and he has still been our best dog. Good ole Mack.

A well trained one!

A well trained one! Seriously. If you don;t want to either put in the time or the money, get a camera or an alarm system. Untrained, trashy dogs are about as worthwhile as uneducated, stupid, trashy people.

And for specifically protecting small animals, get one without much prey drive, and who does not stay too playful for too long.

Well bred and trained GSD's should work well, and, if properly trained, are awesome personal protection dogs as well. So are Belgian and Dutch shepherds. I personally love Belgians (They're not as huge as GSD's, and seem to have less trouble running on asphalt), and they have gotten very 'hip' amongst the protection dogs crowd recently (Watching the IDF unleash them on poor Palestinians helps explains why.....). But they can be plenty demanding, and I doubt they'll take liking to laying around watching a hen house all day.

Collie type dogs are generally bred more for herding and guiding than protecting, but if the threat is a fox, they're perhaps OK. It's flat out amazing what some of those shepherds manage to get them to do.

What is

a GSD breed?

German Shepherd Dog. Sorry!

German Shepherd Dog. Sorry!

Rhodesians are the way to go!!!!!

Ridgebacks are the greatest. My girl is 6 yrs old and she is the smartest dog I have ever owned. The most protective and personal at the same time.
(I must also mention, that it only took me about 4 months of nurturing to train her)
I also have a rhodesian/ pit mix......She is just a nut! Nothing bothers her.

And plus....who wouldn't want a dog who would take on a lion??


Once proclaimed the "greatest utility dog in the world" by Field and Stream. The Airedale Terrier. They dont shed either.

The family business:

I want something that shepherds stock and chases coyotes.

What breed will protect goats and other livestock animals?

Support the Constitution of the United States

Support the Constitution of the United States

Great Pyrenees.

they can kill wolves. they are amazing dogs.

Hey Kevin........

Grew up on farms my entire life.....the best dogs I have known for livestock protection would be:

Catahoula Leopard Hound

Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Australian Cattle Dog

but if someones just gonna have a chicken coop

a dachshund can handle a weasel anyday!

The only dog I will ever own...

is a PittBull Terrier (AKA-Staffordshire Terrier, American Bull Dog, Bull Terrier). They fear nothing, and are tough as nails. They are also great with kids. It's all in how you raise them folks. A dog's sole purpose in life is to please its master. If the master wants it to kill everything in sight, it will comply. Remember the RCA dog, and Petey on the Litlle Rascals? PittBulls. Spuds McKenzie-the Bud dog, and the Target dogs-Bull Terriers.

American Pit Bull terriers,

American Pit Bull terriers, and Bull terriers are not the same breed not even close. Also Staffordshire Terriers are not the same as APBT's. While they have lineage in common they are the show dogs.

Richard Stratton researched and wrote the definitive history on APBT's.. American Bull dogs may have some lineage in common but are not the same breed today either. Also there is no terrier in APBT's just the name which is a misnomer taken from Bull Terriers

Pit Dogs are wonderful dogs, generally love people, smart as a whip, usually easily trainable, and very loyal, however require much more responsibility then the average dog. Also lineage is very important with Pit dogs, hence bad breeding which accounts for the some incidents you read about today giving them a bad name. Look for old time breeders with the older lines most of which are named in Strattons book.

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