best dog breed around chickens?

earthnut

Songster
12 Years
Sep 18, 2007
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I want to get a dog, but it must be compatible with chickens, as I only have a 3000 sqft yard and I'd rather not have a house-dog. (they will be allowed inside too) I am used to and prefer large dogs - I hate high-strung small dogs - but was thinking a small breed, for the chickens' sake. Also, I've always rescued adult dogs, but am willing to get a rescue puppy, for the chickens' sake. All my chickens are standards. I will have 4-5 by the end of the year.

What breeds / types of dogs are best around chickens?
How small should I go?
Any personality tests I can do on the dog when I go to the shelter?
Would an adult be ok, if it was small enough and/or the right breed?

Thanks!
 
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hooligan

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Aug 20, 2007
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The dogs that have shown no aggression to my chickens were APBTs and EBs.
They roam with them and occassionally steal their pellets but thats about it


ETA all mine are rescues and only one was a puppy when we got her.
 
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12 Acres

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Mar 23, 2008
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Consider what the breeds were bred for and start there. I'd stay away from any type of bird dog, hunting dog or terrier. They were bred to go after critters. A good old American mutt adopted from the shelter would be the kindest choice. I bet Bull Mastiffs or bull dogs would be uninterested in poultry. Course, there's always exceptions. My MIL's German Shepherd ignores the chooks completely. I hear Great White Pyrenese are excellent with livestock of any kind. A puppy raised with the chickens would be good with them too I'm sure.
 
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Chickaroo!

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Dec 27, 2007
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When I let my chickens out, the lab next door glances at them and that's about it. He's only about 7mo. old, but as the post above said, if you get a puppy and raise it around the chickens from the start, that should work.
 

raindrop

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Feb 10, 2008
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I would agree that if you are going to have an outside dog I would recommend a Great Pyrnenees or other flock-guard type dog. They have been bred to live with animals that they could eat if they wanted to, and they have been bred to be independent (won't mind as much being outdoor only). I think they need to be raised with the animals they are supposed to guard so they view them as their "pack." I have never known one that lives with chickens, though.
 

fowltemptress

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Great Pyrenees or Anatolian shepherd are in my experience the best dogs around ANY type of pet. I'm not sure what you mean by having a smaller dog for the chickens' sake, but our chickens have never had any problems with the massive pyrenees. They even climb on top of them and peck at them.

I had one we kept out of the goat and sheep pen, in order to make more of a family pet out of him. He took to sleeping with the chickens, and adopted them as his pack. He was killed by coyotes one night while guarding his "pack," but while he was alive he was always very devoted to the chickens. Once a hen went broody outside of the coop, and he would constantly check on her and sleep with her at night, instead of his usual spot. It didn't surprise me, because the dogs with the goats and sheep would often do that with a sick or pregnant goat/sheep, but I guess the fact that he did that with a chicken is pretty amazing.
 
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texasgirl

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12 Years
May 27, 2007
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Pick up a mutt pup from the pound and give him some training! I'm pro-mutt

Any dog with proper training will do what you want but I'd agree with staying away from terriers and bird dogs.
I have a heeler mix that loves to watch the chickens but wont touch them. I also kept my mother's Boston for a month and she was great with them also.
 

earthnut

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12 Years
Sep 18, 2007
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Seattle, Cascadia
Thanks for the responses! I'm looking up flock-guard dogs.


What's an EB? I love retrievers, grew up with them, but I'd never trust one around a chicken. I had parakeets growing up, and though our retriever ignored them in the cage, we almost lost one when it got out with the dog around.

I was thinking small because I figured if they were the size of a chicken, they wouldn't attack something their own size.
What do people think of a mini poodle?
 

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