Looking, would like suggestions, info


Queen Of Clueless
11 Years
Jul 27, 2008
I did post this on the WTB section as well, but this is a kind of extended post, questions etc.!
I am wanting to find a good farm dog. Now my original idea was to get on a waiting list for a pup and would wait up to a year or two.
I have been thinking and re-thinking and though buying a pup is still an option I wouldnt count out getting a rescue as well. One that would be part of the family of course.
My biggest problem with that is how it would be around chickens and goats.
On FURTHER thinking, there are all kinds of dogs out there in rescue so what I am looking for is probably there.
Advice, suggestions, info on individual dogs available, well ANYTHING to do with my search is welcome. I DO have dogs, just not ones I would consider "farm" dogs, I will have to watch them around livestock, but they are members of our family and we love them.
LOL, all of this to say basically what I am looking for is a dog or a breed that would be good with other dogs, not aggressive towards the smaller animals, yet a good watchdog/burglar deterrent. I am not needing to do this RIGHT NOW as I am working on finalizing the paperwork for our farm, though if the right one came along I would defintely consider it.
We adopted a mostly-border-collie who came to us knowing you leave chickens alone. She would even cringe if I put a chick next to her. She was briefly interested in chasing cats but has the emotional sensitivity of a border collie and quit after being scolded (read 'yelled at') a few times.
We adopted a red heeler who never showed any interest in chickens, though she did chase cats (mostly only other people's) occasionally.
This last year we were given a border collie-Aussie cross. She was and is infatuated with chasing cats, and her interest is intense. She was surprised by the flapping of chickens when introduced in the coop. Before she could become comfortable and interested, we removed her. For a couple weeks, we only let her near them if we had a choke collar on her and said "No! No!" if she so much as thought about even looking at them (I realize that's very strict, but with her potential for intense interest, we had to establish boundaries way far back from the behavior that would actually cause harm). It worked! A few times after she got excited at some action while they were free-ranging but we reprimanded her strongly. She now runs around the farm and chases horses and tries to play with cats, but leaves chickens alone.
My husband had a border collie-heeler cross that killed roosters and cats. My in-laws' heeler cross is serious when she goes after things. I wouldn't trust her with chickens.
My neighbors have a bird dog breed and can't trust her with chickens.
There is our experience with dog breeds.
One of the reasons I adopt older shelter dogs is that you already know how they do with birds and other small critters. Only one of the dogs I've owned has had to be taught to leave the chickens alone (mostly because she wanted to "mother" them and carry them around in her mouth
). I've had a variety of mixed breeds (German shepherd, hound, beagle, and now a small girl whose breed is anyone's guess.
The shelters are full of awesome older dogs who are always passed by because they are "too old". I think that's silly. The only drawback is that you may not have them as long as you would a puppy, but knowing that you've given the old ones a last chance at life is very rewarding. You may even get really lucky and find an old farm dog who already knows how to have a job!
An option in between buying a dog and a shelter dog is to go to a breed rescue. You can pick a breed that was bred to be around livestock and then go find pures and mixes of that breed in a breed specific rescue. For example you can go as specific as a border collie rescue http://www.bcrescue.org/ or more general to a herding breed or shepherd rescue http://www.arherdingrescue.org/. Just do a google search with your state or area and the rescue you want. Often times specific rescues will also have a better idea of the dog's temperament and be more willing to work with you than a standard shelter.
Just as for instances I like German Shepherds, Catahoulas, Texas Blue Lacys (the TBLs would win hands down if I could find one!) Mountain Curs,Blackmouth curs etc. I have had crosses of those breeds I liked just as well as the purebreds.
My grand-dad had hounds and curs, his curs made great all round farm dogs. And a lot of people have the GSDs around here for the farm.
I am sure you have seen this.


What pretty dogs. I had never heard of them until I read this thread.

We have a blue healer that protects well and thinks the chickens are his. He's never tried to eat one, he just loves to watch them.

I hope you can find what your looking for.
I've never met a Blue Lacy that wasn't aggressive and fearful...I haven't met a lot of them but the ones I know have made me dislike the breed.

My heeler mix doesn't bug the chickens, she just watches them and eats their poop.

I'm a big fan of Catahoulas, heelers and black mouth curs. They can all make great family pets and they are very protective and hardy type outdoor dogs.
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It's really going to depend on the individual dog and your ability to train it. You also have to look at your experience and what type of breed you can handle instead of just what most people think makes a good dog around their chickens. Not everyone does well with a catahoula. Some people would even have trouble with a border collies energy while others would think it's great. Personally my akita is doing very well around chickens and if you get them past their prey drive into guarding mode they won't let anything or anyone anywhere near your birds, coop, or other pets and property. I wouldn't suggest an akita to just anyone though. Definitely not if they aren't willing to take the dog to some obedience classes, and they actually have an extremely high prey drive which can make some individuals very difficult to train around chickens. It all depends on your ability, the time your willing to put in, and the individual dog's personality. This is where going to a breed rescue that knows the personality of their dogs and is willing to match you comes in handy. Getting a puppy of a certain breed isn't going to gurantee anything.
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Research different breeds on the internet. Go to the library and check out one of those "encyclopedia of the dog" books. Narrow your search down to a few different breeds, then narrow it down even further.

If you raise the dog from puppyhood around your livestock, you should be okay.

Every person has different luck with different dogs. You have to figure out which breed will work best for you. I did not like my Dachshund mix, but love my Bloodhound.

Once you find a breed you want, look in your local newspapers and go to www.petfinder.com

You'd be amazed at how many purebred, lovely dogs (and puppies!) end up at shelters.
I am strongly considering going with a Texas Blue Lacy. I wonder if there are rescues for those? Second choice, Blackmouth Cur, third choice, Catahoula, fourth choice German Shepherd (preferably German lines).
I have experience with dogs. Right now we have our smaller dogs and Max, a Chow/Shiba Inu. He has been a handful but I have worked with him constantly, he's a great dog. And who knows? Maybe he WOULD make a farm dog!
I do know he has the best instinct for people I have ever seen in a dog.

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