Bernese Mountain Dogs as chicken guards?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Ibicella, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. Ibicella

    Ibicella Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    Hi folks,

    My fiance and I are going to be spending this next year doing our research and getting our new home next October, hopefully. We both have lifelong dreams of moving to the country and having our own little farm. We want some chickens, goats, dogs, barn cats, and what have you. We're both animal lovers. [​IMG]

    One of his dreams is he really, really, REALLY wants a Bernese Mountain Dog.

    I'm a strong believer in researching dogs before you adopt/buy. I've done rescue and trained of quite a few pound puppies, but this is a breed I'm really not familiar with. I've never had a chance to really meet one or know anyone who has one. I read they are used in drafting and were bred to be livestock guard dogs. It sounds like a good match for us so far. We would like to have a working dog to protect our chickens and goats and also be able to go rockhounding with (yes, we're rock geeks!)

    Any BMD breeders/owners here who can tell me a bit about their experiences with their Bernies? How are they around chickens? Any advice or things you feel I should watch out for or consider?

    Thank you!
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I read they are used in drafting and were bred to be livestock guard dogs

    They may "guard" the territory, but they are not considered one of the true LGD breeds.

    They might do for what you want, but they wont do it by instinct.
  3. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    DH wanted one as our second dog, but we ended up getting a different breed. The Berners are certainly beautiful, intelligent, calm creatures, but they are very VERY prone to diseases, especially cancers. On average they live 5-7 years, per our Dog Bible. Since LGD training takes anywhere from 1-2 years before the dog will be old enough to have lost the puppy playing behaviors for good, I had a hard time with the idea of repeat training every few years. Also, it's so heartbreaking when your dog dies--would rather not go through that repeatedly, you know?

    I understand why your fiance adores them. They're gorgeous. But they really don't last. If you are tougher/braver than me and don't spend weeks sobbing into your pillow whenever a pet dies, then, sure, go for it.
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
  5. mekasmom

    mekasmom Songster

    Dec 9, 2008
    Quote:My son has one. She has a higher prey drive than the pyrs or anatolians have. She will chase chickens or goats. I don't know if she would actually hurt them, but she will chase them. She is a very sweet dog to people, and is everyone's friend. That is the only BMD I have ever known in the family, so I don't know if that is usual behavior. She is easily trained, much more so than pyrs. My pyrs will only sit when I hold a treat, but not on command unless there is food involved. We have never gotten beyond "sit". Lady, the BMD is like our st bernard, very easy to work with for obedience commands unlike the pyrs.

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