Originally Posted by enola
Labs are retrievers also and there are a lot of reports on this site of labs being the perfect farm, family and livestock protectors.
Agreed. My last dog was a lab, as was the dog before it. The thing about bird dogs that people don't think about is, they are bred to have "soft mouths". You don't want a dog with a "hard mouth" that is going to put holes in your duck or pheasant when it's retrieving it. We had one dog that went out into a little wet spot out behind the barn one day and came back with a live, healthy blue-wing teal in his mouth. The bird was fine - not a bit of damage. It was just looking around like, "What the heck?" Got the bird away from the dog, dog went back out to the slough, came back holding his mouth funny, with grass hanging out of it. I held out my hand, told him to "drop it" and he deposited 3 intact little teal eggs into my hand! The biggest problem could be with a young dog playing with your chickens until they quit moving. One lab we had discovered that if he ran around and around the run enough, the chicken would panic, fly out and he'd jump up and catch it. We have since reinforced and covered our runs... The most important thing with any breed of dog is training, training, training. Some will be more trustworthy than others, but you just don't know until you try.
My "bird dog" Dakota. He thought he was the protector of the flock. He broke up lots of hen fights in his day, and would put an unruly rooster in his place, but never hurt a bird.