Which dog breeds co-exist well with chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ohb, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. ohb

    ohb Chirping

    Jan 31, 2007
    Hope Hull, Alabama
    I have a small flock (2 buff hens, 1 barred rock hen, 1 RIR rooster, 4 RIR/Buff hens, 2 RIR/BR hens). I have a small dog that is a Hienz 57 (mostly terrier). He'll eat a chicken if one gets out of the pen but other than that he leaves them be. I'm thinking of getting another dog and I was wondering which breeds if any seem to co-exist with chickens. I used to have two black labs who would have made Sunday dinner out of the whole flock if they could have gotten to them. Unfortunately, one was run over and the other just wondered off while out for play time. While acknowledging 'exceptions to the rule' are there any flock-friendly breeds? Thanks in advance from near Montgomery, Alabama.
  2. FrankBlissett

    FrankBlissett Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    Don't know about "in general", but I can give some specifics.

    We had an elderly whippet who got along well with chickens. He'd actually hang out with them waiting his share of stale bread.

    Likewise, our Yooper mutt (huskey mix) largely ignores them. He pounces toward one every now and then, but it's like with our cats - just an effort to make them "play". (he still gets scolded though)

    Our german shepherd doesn't hunt them either, but plays VERY rough and has subsequently killed a few. Though never made a meal of them.

    IMHO, it comes down a lot to training and previous the dog's previous experience. I'd tend to avoid Sporting dogs though - no sence having the extra instincts to get through. Hounds and Terriers, likewise, would have that extra instinctual hump to get over while young.

    It seems to me that Working dogs, especially herding dogs, would be easiest to train to avoid killing chickens.

  3. aznewbe

    aznewbe In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2007
    I have a 8 month old black lab puppie and am getting some chicks from cackle this month. I will reply with how it works out.
  4. mothergoose

    mothergoose Songster

    Jan 12, 2007
    Chebanse, Illinois
    We only have 1 dog now and have had him since he was a pup. He is 6 1/2 yrs. old now and the best dog I have ever owned. We have approx. 300 birds and a wide variety of other livestock along with 5 kids. Our dog has free range of the farm, inter-mingles with the birds, sleeps in the house & puts up with alot of toddler abuse!! He is a German Shorthair Pointer. I would never have believed a natural born bird hunting dog would be the best dog around poultry and waterfowl, but he is! [​IMG]
  5. happyhens

    happyhens Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    I have had border collies, jack russells and a black lab around my chickens. The black lab would retreive the chicks and drop them on our porch, only he would usually retreive them too hard and they would have puncture wounds, or be dead. We had to get rid of him, he would not only harm the babies but he would chase the full grown chickens and pull their tail feathers out. The Jack Russell I had then was fine with them, but she was really just a puppy. I still have her and love her to death so I hope she gets along well with the chickens. The border collies try to herd the chickens which the chickens don't like, so the BCs usually just end up chasing them, but not otherwise harming them. I have heard that Great Pyreneses are great poultry gaurdians from people on the web and also my friends neighbor has one and he says she is great (he don't treat her very good though GRRR, not really abuse just doesn't feed her very well, doesn't worm her often (if at all!) and feeds her table scraps instead of dog food. Oh yeah and she is crawling with fleas) She is a sweet dog though. A Jack Russell may suit you to, even if they chase the chickens at first they are really smart and can more than likely be trained to leave the chickens alone pretty quick. What sort of a dog do you want? Small or big? Long hair or short? Colors? House dog or outside dog only?
    P.S. Yes I'd say herding dogs would be best. They are generally very smart and eager to learn, and if they are fed well they are not in for the kill, just a little herding fun. German Shepherds, Collies, Border Collies, Shelties, Australian Shepherds...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2007
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    The most important thing to think about is not the breed, but the individual dog.
    While you can train any breed to be chicken friendly, that is the key.
    Some breeds that are known for chicken friendly, can have a individual that doesn't work out.
    Dogs and chickens can work out fine, it depends on the dog , not the chicken.

  7. I'd stay right away from the herding breeds. I have yet to see a border collie or Austrailian shepherd who will leave them be. They start out just trying to herd them, then the grab them and soon they figure out that they are made out of chicken meat, then you have a chicken killer. The drive in these dogs to chase is so strong I'd not ever leave one alone with a chicken no mater how much training or sucess I had with the dog.

    Stick around breeds that have been used to protect livestock and you will more likely find individuals that have no interest in chasing, and they will help you keep you chickens safe.

    I agree however that the individual is more important than the breed.
  8. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    I think the Great Pyaneese(sp?) are supposed to be good dogs. My two dogs,Trixie(black lab/blue healer mix) and Dottie(the rescued stray-appears to be at least part Austrailan Shephard) are both good with my chickens. They rarely give them a second look unless they are where they don't belong(for Trixie, this means anywhere near the front porch). She will chase them just long enough to get them going in the direction she wants. If they get out of the fenced part and into the yard, I tell her to "put them up" and she will chase them back toward the shed from which is the point of their escape(they go under it). Dottie is learning to do the same. It's neat how she will follow Trixie and copy what she does, and then look at her for approval. Here a few pictures of my girls



    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2007
  9. tnokie

    tnokie In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2007
    Love the calico in the background!
  10. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    I don't know if there is one specific breed of dog that is good with chickens. I agree with Border Collies not being very good. My friend Denise has Borders and her older female wants to herd them. In fact Katie aceidently killied our young cockeral bantam that got out of his cage. Denise doesn't trust any of her dogs around her chickens. I don't know about Jack Russels either. They are really really little hunting dogs. I have an hound mix(I have no idea what he is) a Beagle mix I think. Dodge is the best livestock dog ever! He just loves all animals. Dodge is really good around the chickens and he doesn't bother them at all. In fact he is the only dog she trusts around her flock. One time he was playing with one of her barn kitties and was chasing her and her barred rock rooster chestbutted him! He acting kinda suprised and ran the other way. I have pictures of Dodge with a baby chick on his head that I will post one day. I would advise to do your research and buy a puppy and introduce them that way. Your rooster should soon put him in his place.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: