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German Shepherd as Guardians

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

A little background info. I grew up on a working farm had goats, chickens, rabbits, sheep, cows, horses, and working dogs.  Joined military until retirement.  Now getting back into farming.  Recently started raising chicks.  I have 32 right now bantams to large breeds.  I owned 2 German Shepherds that I got while stationed in Germany Cash lived until 13 years old and Einstein until he was 14.  I love the breed.  Great reliability, train-ability, and loyalty. I even competed in dog sport while stationed in Germany.  Enough background.  I am planning on purchasing new puppy in mid June to July from German Working lines.  Parents are SV registered ( this is the German Shepherd Registry out of Germany).  German bred dogs are very different from those from American lines, everything from conformation to temperament is different.  I believe the puppy will be a good guardian of my flock and of the future goats and sheep I will acquire.  I have read allot of negative post about GSD's and chickens.  My question is what are if any the experiences people here have had with German bred GSD's a flock protectors.  Again American bred GSD's are a different animal and I would never consider them trustworthy, this is a pure bred dog out of east/west bred working lines.  I know GSD's can be great for flocks of sheep and herds of goats and are used as such in Germany quite often.  Mostly Turkish bred dogs and great Pyrenees are what I see used her in Texas to guard goats and sheep. So any thoughts, suggestions, or training techniques would be great.  Thanks:)

post #2 of 9

I don't have a german shepherd of any style, but starting from a puppy most dogs can be trained to ignore, or at best not hurt the birds, my hairdresser has two mastiffs around her flock all the time and they don't touch her birds, my mom's poodles on the other hand have killed 2, 2month old birds last spring and this spring. It depends upon training and instinct they should be good to go with your birds.

 

Welcome to BYC, and thank you for your service.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Chick lover 1998 thanks for the info and the welcome. I'll try and update how the training goes once I get the pup
post #4 of 9

My wife's cousin married a doctor who loved farm living.  His dad had brought a couple of German-bred dogs home with him (from Germany).  He had a couple of puppies from working stock imported to help on his farm.

 

Those dogs were incredible!!  They would walk amongst his chickens very slowly so as to not spook them.  The one crazy thing I always remember was that they never made eye contact with the chickens.  I don't know if I would have noticed that if Doc Pat hadn't pointed it out to me.

 

Never killed or chased any of his stock.  They both lived a long time as well.  By the time they passed, Pat had decided to move to warmer country and never had livestock any longer.  Every time we meet, all he wants to talk about is animals, gardening and his precious Shepherds!

 

You'll do just fine with some good dogs!!

Married 46 years. Great wife, 4 sons, 13 grandchildren! 

 

He who laughs last thinks slowest!


Give me ambiguity or give me something else.   

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Married 46 years. Great wife, 4 sons, 13 grandchildren! 

 

He who laughs last thinks slowest!


Give me ambiguity or give me something else.   

Reply
post #5 of 9
I think you will do great with German Shepherds too, especially starting with a pup. I think many people don't realize that the history of GSD's includes being livestock dogs. I'm thinking it was WWII when they started being used as military and police dogs. A GSD was second on my list when we got our Great Pyrenees. And I haven't totally given up on the notion of getting a GSD. We had a half GSD female who lived to be 16 and was one of the most amazing dogs I have ever owned. My cousins have one now (registered) that has been trained as their service dog. As a breed they have amazing versatility. If it were me, I would just start a pup on a leash walking among the chickens so you could nip puppy playfulness in the bud. Teaching "leave it" and "look at me" commands would be a priority. I use "doggie crack" to teach those two commands and it has never failed me. Doggie crack is hotdogs cut into pieces and microwaved about 30-45 seconds. Makes a nice small reward to use. smile.png
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigoledude View Post

My wife's cousin married a doctor who loved farm living.  His dad had brought a couple of German-bred dogs home with him (from Germany).  He had a couple of puppies from working stock imported to help on his farm.

Those dogs were incredible!!  They would walk amongst his chickens very slowly so as to not spook them.  The one crazy thing I always remember was that they never made eye contact with the chickens.  I don't know if I would have noticed that if Doc Pat hadn't pointed it out to me.

Never killed or chased any of his stock.  They both lived a long time as well.  By the time they passed, Pat had decided to move to warmer country and never had livestock any longer.  Every time we meet, all he wants to talk about is animals, gardening and his precious Shepherds!

You'll do just fine with some good dogs!!
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Bigoledude
I think your right and it's good to hear a positive story about gsds and chickens. The dogs out of German lines are amazing animals. I grew up with shepherds but they were always the house protector and family pet. We never let them in with the livestock we used border collies for that. The dogs I grew up with were all out of American lines and I didn't come realize the vast difference until I got my boys. It's good to hear of such a succesful story of gsds.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
birdydeb
Yes I agree many people have forgotten the original intentions of the German shepherd breed. I appreciate your insight and recommendations. I know the fight crack well it's what I used to train my boys to track for competitions. One hot dog per footprint until they get the hang of it. I agree it will work equally well to teach leave it or stay.
post #9 of 9
I think, as someone else mentioned, starting out as a puppy is going to be the biggest benefit. Add to that the brains and work ethic of a really well bred gsd, you'll be golden! smile.png

I've not personally had a gsd of German origin, but I've known a few and they excel at whatever job you give them! My own regular old American gsd/Australian shepherd mixes are awesome with my chickens. Mostly it's all about time and training. Like I said, add excellent breeding and it's a recipe for success smile.png
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