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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Skeeter10, Nov 10, 2015.
what is a nice small breed guard dog
I like rat terrier.
will they attack hens
Every dog will chase chickens as puppies and need to be taught not to, as adults my rat terrier have mostly ignore chickens, you need to pick a low prey drive breed, pick a more mellow dog and know how to properly train dogs to leave chickens alone. A lot of breeds are good after a proper raising. I just happen to like rat terrier.
My bird dogs were easier to train than the terriers (terrors!), but starting with a young dog, and consistant training and supervision, are essential, no matter what breed. Arctic breeds and terriers might be the most difficult, but individuals vary. Mary
I would think a small terrier like a rat terrier would be very hard to train to not kill the chickens. The terriers I've had were headstrong and have had a very high prey drive. However, they've all been females. Maybe the males are a bit more mellow. My beagles on the other hand, are too laid back. My biggest (actually a beagle/lab mix) is terrified of the chickens after one minor encounter with a bantam rooster. I guess he's a lover, not a fighter.
I actually have an indoor/outdoor cat who has been very effective in keeping away predators, except for hawks. She roams the property at dusk and dawn and has kept the foxes, raccoons and weasels at bay. At this point I don't have any bigger predators to worry about.
I brought up rat terrier first because I really like them and second because they are more interested in mice, rats, and squirrels, they are a low prey drive terrier compared to other breeds, at least in the poultry department, and are very sensitive and easy to train, they are actually a perfect terrier and have been all around good farm dogs for decades, though maybe most aren't familiar with them.
To the original question, any smaller dog can be a watch dog, as most smaller dogs like barking. So you will have to decide other things as well, like coat care and health issues associated with each breed.
I know you said small dog, but I have never owned a small dog so I will put a plug in for a larger dog. The German Shepherd. That's what we have and she does great with our free-range birds.
I agree but i am very biased as GSDs are the only dogs i have ever owned. In reality though, its more about socialising and training whatever dog you decide to get - its down to the owner to put the work in.
Not really small, but my two pits are great guard dogs. They let the chickens basically climb all over them and eat out of their food bowls.