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What breeds of dogs do well with chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mandolinmama, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. mandolinmama

    mandolinmama Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    Urbana Missouri
    My family is going to get a dog, but first I wanted to find out what kind of dog would do well with our chickens (and not eat them).
    Of course, it's ideal for me to find one who's stuck in a pound or shelter, but I will buy from a breeder if I need to do so to get a really good dog.
    We have 49 acres and lots of free range chicken children.
    Does anyone have any ideas about what breeds are good (or even tips on ones to stay away from)? I still don't know yet if we will rescue an adult or start with a puppy. Any help would be awesome.

    Thanks so much!

    Donna Sue

  2. Bluedog420

    Bluedog420 Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Cartersville, Ky
    pup is a good idea...i have red heeler's and they don't bother my chicken's [​IMG]
  3. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    If I ever get another dog it will be a Great Pyrenees. They should be very trainable with chickens and are laid back.
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    First, no matter what breed you could get a dog that is great with chickens or a dog that can't wait to eat them from the same litter.

    Having said that there are some breeds that are known to be far worse with chickens because of their genetics: Terriers are generally at the top of that list. Any other breed that is considered high strung would also not be a good choice.

    Great Pyrs are usually really good with chickens because they are herd guard dogs.

    Newfoundlands usually are great with them.

    German Shepherds seem to do very well with chickens (but I've heard the occasional horror story there too).

    Herding dogs in general usually do well.

    The biggest thing to remember is that you cannot trust any dog 100% of the time until you've had said dog for a few years; if ever. (I can't count the number of times people on BYC have said.... I've had my dog with my chickens for so many years and he would never hurt them....but he ate them this morning!)

    All dogs need to be trained well and properly and should be supervised when near your chickens.

    It would be great to adopt a dog from a shelter. I always highly encourage people to do that. But, when doing that you seldom know for sure what the breeds are in that dog. We adopted a Rottie mix puppy from a shelter... turned out he was mixed with beagle. Thus, we had to train him from the perspective of both a Rottie and a Beagle - two very different breeds.

    Finally, puppies are going to chase chickens. They can't help it and it's unfair to ever get angry at a puppy for doing what comes natural. But, that's also where the consistent training comes in. No anger.. just firm leadership and clear understanding of what's not allowed.

    Older dogs may be a better choice since they have often decided it's not worth chasing those jerky moving feather coated little toys.

    Good luck and have fun with your new dog. [​IMG]
  5. LydsZoo

    LydsZoo In the Brooder

    Jan 20, 2009
    We have a chocolate lab and a chihuahua/terrier/Chinese Crested mix (don't ask...found her playing in traffic) and bother were over 4 when we got our first chicks.

    We raised the chicks to 6 weeks in the bathroom, during which time we slowly introduced the dogs (and cats) to the chicks, being very clear these were part of the family. When it came time to put the chooks in the yard, the dogs were protective, rather than predatory. Now they alert to stray cats/dogs outside the fence and even hawks! The chooks are part of the family to them, and thus hands off!

    It's been fabulous, and I'm not sure it's about breed so much as introduction and familiarity.

    Best of luck!
  6. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    All the Australian Shepherds Ive had have never bothered the birds one bit. My free ranging chickens are in my Aussies dog house while he lays outside and watches over them. [​IMG]
  7. IN-farmgirl

    IN-farmgirl Songster

    Feb 3, 2009
    I've heard a lot of good about Great Pyrs, but they are BIG!
    My neighbors have two. They are very gentle. I appreciate them being over there (inside fence) because I think they help keep coons away.

    Off topic....do you play mandolin? My son also plays (he is 16 and LOVES bluegrass music)!!

    (edited for spelling error!)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009

  8. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I previously posted accidentally with my daughter's login, LydsZoo, above- now I'm on as me...

    It occurs to me that I have a friend with a shepherd that does well with their birds- perhaps it is also regarding the general mentality of the breed (herding/working vs. hunting) somewhat- but I can't say...I think our little dog came from a hunting breed- who knows.

    I still think it has much to do with the dog's conception of the role of the chickens and whether or not they 'belong' in the family.

  9. tomcio

    tomcio Songster

    Sep 3, 2008
    I have a Siberian Husky who runs the property to check for predators and Jack Russell Terrier who 'count's the chickens in the morning and evening with me in the coup.

    Both are excellent with chickens. From day olds to adults.

    Good luck with the new puppy.


    I should add that I strongly believe it's up to the owners training for the dog to 'do' what it's supposed to. I.e. I have 2 hunting breeds with high running instinct and I have not had them on leash in a year. My friend has a Merama(sp?) dog and she's killed a couple chickens of hers thus far.
    Whatever breed you pick, you have to ensure you are the true and unchallenged alpha. Each command should get an immediate attention and response from the animal.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My Charlie is an irish wolfhound mix. She's a very special dog. She was a abuse rescue and it took months of very careful handling before she was able to trust anyone again.
    She's helped raise several puppies and kittens and I thought she'd do just fine with chickens. Nonetheless, when the chicks were small she managed to grab one. She didn't mean to hurt it and she really didn't, but the chick was traumatized just the same. It was the only time I can remember spanking her.
    For months after I didn't trust her around the chickens. Then one night something got around the coop. Charlie demonstrated that she knew how to get out of the fenced yard and she chased whatever it was off.
    Now I trust her around the chickens because she's proven that she knows that the chickens are part of the family and she wants to protect them.
    I believe that whatever breed you decide on is going to need careful watching until they've proven that they won't harm them.

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