What would be the best kind of dog to be around chickens and kids?

mycutekitties

Songster
10 Years
Aug 15, 2009
1,554
11
161
Modesto, California
Hi there. Right now we have 15 chickens with a mix of EE, Silkies, Pencil Rocks and Orpingtons. Three of our girls are sitting on eggs so we have more on the way soon! We have a 11 year old dog that was not raised with them (we just moved to the country last year) but is very gentle and shows not an ounce of aggression. At night she even sleeps next to our open top brooder without any issues. She is a mutt (1/2 Husky and 1/2 Australian Sheppard). She is a very sweet dog and protects our chickens. Anyway we want to get another dog as a puppy but what would be the best breed around kids and chickens? I know some breeds would be more likely to "stock" our chickens. After reading the "pest and predators" section here I am worried. Any breeds to recommend or stay away from?
 

jerseygirl1

Crowing
10 Years
Jun 20, 2009
4,501
31
276
Orange County, NY
I know I will get bashed for this, but my feeling is it's not the breed, but how you train it. Yes, some are predisposed to chasing chickens, but my GSD would never hurt or kill one of my chickens. I have a 13 year old lab mix who up until last year chased them as far as she could, but would stop and bark at it when it squatted to her. I also NEVER leave my dogs alone with those chickens.
 

mycutekitties

Songster
10 Years
Aug 15, 2009
1,554
11
161
Modesto, California
I agree on it's how you train them. I am very lucky with our dog now. She shares an area and sleeps with the babies when they are in the house. I want to get a young puppy so I am train it early. And I'm hoping our older dog would show the new puppy ropes.
 

EggSpudition

Songster
9 Years
Feb 2, 2010
150
4
111
Boise
My Coop
I might think about getting an older dog who is not as interested in doing too much chasing and romping about. You may even try looking up some dog breed information sights and see which dogs are prone to chasing?

Good luck!

 

PortageGirl

Songster
11 Years
Nov 8, 2008
2,511
13
181
Portage County, Ohio
I have to agree with Jerseygirl, though I feel that some breeds should probably be avoided. My neighbor's chihuahuas are insanely eager to catch them, though would probably not know what to do if they caught one, I still am grateful that the one time they escaped taught her to be VERY careful. (I give her eggs every week after all). All that chasing isn't good for anyone!

Whatever breed you get, go for calm, gentle temperament for the good of both your kids and your chickens. If they are taught from day one that the chickens are not flappy squawky squeaky toys, but something to be nice to and protect, not chase, not play with, not bother at ALL... most dogs can learn.

We had a German Shepherd that eyed the chickens a LOT, but never acted on it... well, he sort of rushed "through" them just for fun every once in a while, but he knew not to snap at them. We had a Cocker Spaniel that was gentle as a lamb never even considering chasing them, but he was an old style 'field trial' type dog, bred for hunting and temperament, not an over-bred show-dog type... I had a most amazing Australian Shepherd, who knew the choocks were part of his flock and kept them away from danger (the river or the road) but he was very very well trained and always pushed slowly, which is VERY different than chasing for those who know herd dogs, and another Aussie/BC mix who was rather nutty but finally learned to just LEAVE them... he was not terribly trustworthy with them, but he learned, and he was the only one who was not totally trustworthy even after lots of work. My mom for a long time had a Pomeranian which I would NEVER have trusted with them, but they didn't have chickens anymore then, and I had a roommate that had a Jack Russel, and I'd say most terrier breeds would be pretty iffy just because they are so determined to GET whatever they think they should GET... iffy, but not impossible. Again, TEMPERAMENT, TEMPERAMENT, TEMPERAMENT!

It took work with them all though, calm, consistent, steady work, Work, WORK!

//edit to add// My SILs Corgi is totally trustworthy too, but when she was younger, she'd have been nearly desperate to herd them... she once tried to herd a small flock of deer! She wanted to herd EVERYTHING!
 
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ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
62
291
SC
Unpopular answer, but I honestly NEVER mix dogs and chickens. The rate of disasters seems to be higher than the rate of successes.
 
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PortageGirl

Songster
11 Years
Nov 8, 2008
2,511
13
181
Portage County, Ohio
Ranchhand,

You're right in one respect, the disaster rate is VERY high, but the success rate is directly proportionate to the quantity and quality of work devoted to it. People are lazy though.... ok, that's somewhat unfair. Some people would put in the work, if they only had the time. If you don't have the time, ANDaren't willing to devote the work to it, build strong and tall fences.

Oh, and willing to accept that sometimes all the time and work just isn't going to be successful, like in the case of Jethro, the Aussie/BC mix who still wanted chicken dinner, he never got one, but he never gave up the desire for one either.
 

BasilHillFarm

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 10, 2010
28
0
22
Dresden, Maine
I have 2 pugs that I adopted just over a year ago. (Argumentative as to if they are dogs cause I've always liked the big breeds myself but my hubby likes pugs and now these two are my babies). They are 9 and 8 years old now. When we got them they would try to chase and bite anything that moves. They didn't know any obedience training at all. The male was also very territorial and sprayed and attacked anyone that came in. He even challenged my hubby a number of times. I was always alpha in his mind from the start so he rarely gave me problems. I have lots of irresistible animals so I couldn't trust them around them either. (rabbits, chickens, guineas, etc). Pugs have got to be one of the laziest breeds though and as a general rule are excellent with kids as long as the kids respect their ears and tails and don't pull them. My male use to attack kids because all the sudden movements and their small size made him nervous. I'm happy to say now they know a ton of commands (sit, stay, wait, down, rollover, up, creep, go get it, leave it, etc) and obey really well, and they know not to hurt any of my animals. The territory issues and the spraying are over too. They still bark when people come to the door but now when people come in the male doesn't bite them and if I tell them to settle down they will. In fact they will cuddle with anyone now and try to get any attention they can. The male still has some quirks but for the most part he is a totally different dog. The female I trust to the point that I take her off leash anywhere just about and into the barn with all the animals every night. Once a few weeks ago a new hen I got attacked her and she turned and wanted to snap back to defend herself and I simply looked at her and said her name and she just ignored the hen and came to me. I would never leave any dog alone with hens unless they were perfect at all other times though just because dogs are dogs and it takes just two seconds for a playful chase to become disaster for a chicken. If you want a small dog that is good with kids and animals then with a little training of the dogs (and the kids) pugs are a good choice. They can be quite stubborn but you can win any pug over with food. The reason they live is their humans, food and sleep. They like to play too but not as much as they like to sleep, preferably in your lap.
 

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