Which dog breeds in general tend to do well around backyard flocks?

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,664
7,205
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
I lucked out with my dobie who loved the chickens for their treat (poop) production. With that said, it took us a year of keeping the chickens in a run before we felt safe to introduce them to the dog, and free ranging. Sadly my dobie passed in February of this year. She would have been 15 in May. My heart is ready to love another dog. My dobie was a very, very, very, very stubborn dog. She was smart enough to pretend to be dumb, which made her challenging to train, and she was aggressive to new people at first. This time around I was hoping to get an easier-going dog without the goal of protection. Unfortunately most dogs not bred for protection were bred for hunting. I know it ultimately comes down to the individual dog, and my dobie was a prime example of breaking the norm, but what breeds have worked well for you all? My end goal, and I'm prepared to take time for introduction, training, and overall caution, is to allow the dog to roam freely among the flock when I am outside. I live on 5 acres but am surrounded by hundreds of acres. Closest neighbor is a good ways away, so I'm not concerned about people here, just chickens. Also cats so we have five of those.
 

alwaystj9

Small goats & big chickens + 1 old horse
Premium Feather Member
Aug 20, 2019
598
1,403
287
SE Louisiana
I have had Eskies around my birds, no problem. I have a terrier mix who ignores them. My recently adopted sheltie spends way too much time trying to herd them but no other issues. You are right, a lot has to do with how old the dog is and how well trained. The chicks I have lost to my dogs were killed when the dog tried to play with them...my dogs weren't hunting them. I also have 5 acres and over 30 years, with horses, goats, chickens and occassional other animals. I have ruled out a lot of breeds for different reasons. I won't have Pits, retrievers, spaniels, tiny dogs, Heelers, most terriers, the more aggressive herding breeds. That's not to say those breeds wouldn't work around poultry but rather they are not a good fit for me here. Strangely, the one animal that drove most of my dogs nutso was a Tortoise.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
16,153
33,823
861
South-Eastern Montana
I don't have a ton of personal experience with dogs and chickens.

I have owned two mutts (only definate breed in them is a smidge of German Shepard) that do decent.

One loved the chicks every year, they were her babies and she would stand guard by the broader constantly.

The other is very curious around them, and loves to smell their butts and necks when they come inside for some reason and has tried to lick their poop off their feet. But I'm not sure if she would resist chasing if they suddenly started squawking and running away. She's old now though so she might just feel too stiff to start chasing them most times.

That being said, I have lost birds to:
A hound (either blood or coon, not sure, the neighbor has both and one got a bird)
A yorkie terror
A golden retriever

The last two actually wiped put my duck flock and most of the neighbor's flock. The hound brought the bird back to her human to show them and make them proud (at least she got the stupid bird and not my main boy)
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,664
7,205
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
I would stay away from a husky. Personally, I have no issues with my terrier mix, but that may just be an individual thing.

My sister's border collie does okay, but he is not bred for herding (it seems to have been bred out of him).
Yes my neighbor years ago had a husky which wiped out their own flock. It was their own fault from the beginning though. Although I wouldn't want a husky for a variety of reasons.

I would prefer (but don't require) these traits in a dog:

1) doesn't shed more than average (shedding is okay, but not husky level shedding)
2) isn't larger than 50 lbs (dobie was 75 and it was so challenging for me when her joints started failing her)
3) bigger than 20 lbs (I do want a "farm" dog)
4) intelligent
5) low aggression toward people
6) won't kill my birds
7) an adult, so probably a rescue
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,664
7,205
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
I would avoid any kind of breed with a high prey drive, like terriers, pointers, hounds, etc. Also, no overly aggressive herders.
Look for a breed that is very calm and docile, but tends to listen really well, and is easy to train.
Ugh and I had a Brittany as a child, she was the best dog ever. Did well with cats. But they are supposed to be a bird dog :'( I'd love to have another
 

cherrynberry

🍒 ❤️🐓
Premium Feather Member
Aug 2, 2020
10,421
27,748
906
California
Yes my neighbor years ago had a husky which wiped out their own flock. It was their own fault from the beginning though. Although I wouldn't want a husky for a variety of reasons.

I would prefer (but don't require) these traits in a dog:

1) doesn't shed more than average (shedding is okay, but not husky level shedding)
2) isn't larger than 50 lbs (dobie was 75 and it was so challenging for me when her joints started failing her)
3) bigger than 20 lbs (I do want a "farm" dog)
4) intelligent
5) low aggression toward people
6) won't kill my birds
7) an adult, so probably a rescue
If you want an adult, it may be harder to train.
 

ninja333pirate

Songster
Aug 3, 2020
242
358
121
Pacific Northwest, WA
My mutt (1/8 American bull dog and 1/8 rat terrier rest was to muddled for the dna test) does just fine around my chickens, she also did fine around my guinea pigs, and if I bring a cat into the house she does fine with them as well. I can even let her in the chicken coop and all she wants to do is eat the poops. That said if neighborhood cats are in the backyard or alley behind the house she will chase them off, and when she see rabbits while on walks she stares at them with a very focused stare like she wants to chase them down. Though that might be because she just wants to smell them.

She was raised around cats and bearded dragons and a small Pomeranian was her doggie role modal. and when I got my guinea pigs I made sure to introduce her to them in a way that made her know that they were apart of the pack. I did the same with the chicks as I was raising them, made sure she got to know them and sniff them. when I first got her (she was a rescue) her very first owner starved her and her brother so badly they almost died, and she was terrified of the world around her, would hide behind the couch (on top of that the person that originally adopted her from the shelter, their house burned down and my dog was inside the house for most of the fire took her home after that) I now can get her to sit in front of a fire place and she does not give a single care in the world, she loves meeting new dogs and animals and people. With the right socialization and training she managed to get over her fears.

I think any dog can be good around chickens if you get them as a puppy and make sure that they are very well socialized around many different animals. Though like others have said stay away from high strung dogs, hunting dogs, huskies and herding dogs are very athletic dogs and are very high strung because of it, they have drives if not worked in a way that satiates that drive they can be too much to handle for most dog owners. That said if you have plenty of experience in raising and training dogs then I would think you could do just fine with a breed like that.

Another option is to go to shelters near you and bring one of your chickens and test to see how the adult dogs do around your chicken and just pick out a dog that is chill around them, nice thing about adult shelter dogs is you can already tell how they will be and know their personality.

f0783104.jpg

Mika (my dog) and her best friend Kira
f1090560.jpg
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom