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

humblehillsfarm

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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.

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Mika (my dog) and her best friend Kira
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Beautiful doggies! Yes I did reach out to a shelter and they allowed a 3-day "trial." Personally I don't think that is long enough for the dog to even decompress, but I understand from their side why they wouldn't want to do longer. Luckily for all the doggos, shelters have had very few options! There have been very few dogs in any of my local shelters, but the few that are there are most often pit bulls. I'm somewhat open to a pit, but that isn't my preferred breed because they can have a high prey drive.

If you want an adult, it may be harder to train.
I don't really want to go to a breeder and most shelter dogs are adults. Also I work long days so it would be more challenging to handle puppy energy. The door isn't closed to a breeder or a puppy, but it isn't a preference. I *did* find an excellent training facility very close to my home in hopes that someone with more experience can help "teach an old dog new tricks".
 

ninja333pirate

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Beautiful doggies! Yes I did reach out to a shelter and they allowed a 3-day "trial." Personally I don't think that is long enough for the dog to even decompress, but I understand from their side why they wouldn't want to do longer. Luckily for all the doggos, shelters have had very few options! There have been very few dogs in any of my local shelters, but the few that are there are most often pit bulls. I'm somewhat open to a pit, but that isn't my preferred breed because they can have a high prey drive.


I don't really want to go to a breeder and most shelter dogs are adults. Also I work long days so it would be more challenging to handle puppy energy. The door isn't closed to a breeder or a puppy, but it isn't a preference. I *did* find an excellent training facility very close to my home in hopes that someone with more experience can help "teach an old dog new tricks".
I hear you there, bully breeds are very common in most shelters, and they can be great dogs, but they are definitely a dog that should not be in a family of beginner dog owners, they need a lot of socialization, and exercise, I wouldn't even say so much that they have a high prey drive, but they are usually very hyperactive, most people that I see owning them dont socialize, train and exercise their dogs very well and they end up very hyper, jumping all over you and plowing right through you, and sometimes even nippy. But on the other hand when you actually pay attention to how you are working with them they can be very obedient and loyal dogs.

Like I said, if you find a dog (even a pittie) that you feel like you vibe with then take a chicken down to the shelter and just hold the chicken in front of the dogs kennel, if the dog seems good with that then place the chicken down (while still holding it) in front of the kennel, if the dog seems to be overly obsessed with the chicken (beyond just wanting to sniff it) then its not a good candidate at all. But unfortunately dogs in shelters dont quite get the amount of attention and walks that they should be getting.

Another option is going down on a regular basis and find a few dogs you are interested in and just spend time with them at the shelter. The shelter near me has walking trails on their property and some outdoor pens for playing with the dogs. You can see if they will let you come and take some of the dogs you are interested in on walks or hang out with them in an outdoor pen or just the kennel (obvious not at the same time) and see if you can get a feel on the temperament of the dog. And at the same time you will be giving a dog some much needed attention.
 

humblehillsfarm

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I hear you there, bully breeds are very common in most shelters, and they can be great dogs, but they are definitely a dog that should not be in a family of beginner dog owners, they need a lot of socialization, and exercise, I wouldn't even say so much that they have a high prey drive, but they are usually very hyperactive, most people that I see owning them dont socialize, train and exercise their dogs very well and they end up very hyper, jumping all over you and plowing right through you, and sometimes even nippy. But on the other hand when you actually pay attention to how you are working with them they can be very obedient and loyal dogs.

Like I said, if you find a dog (even a pittie) that you feel like you vibe with then take a chicken down to the shelter and just hold the chicken in front of the dogs kennel, if the dog seems good with that then place the chicken down (while still holding it) in front of the kennel, if the dog seems to be overly obsessed with the chicken (beyond just wanting to sniff it) then its not a good candidate at all. But unfortunately dogs in shelters dont quite get the amount of attention and walks that they should be getting.

Another option is going down on a regular basis and find a few dogs you are interested in and just spend time with them at the shelter. The shelter near me has walking trails on their property and some outdoor pens for playing with the dogs. You can see if they will let you come and take some of the dogs you are interested in on walks or hang out with them in an outdoor pen or just the kennel (obvious not at the same time) and see if you can get a feel on the temperament of the dog. And at the same time you will be giving a dog some much needed attention.
I live in a huge county..... that doesn't have an animal shelter. I hate it. the "local" shelter is about an hour away so it's always been sorta of impossible for me to volunteer, or I would have already been doing it for years. I'd love to play with doggies and I think it'd make my boyfriend more open to another dog. He has it in his head that he's replacing his dog. I've had animals my whole life and have never felt getting another animal after the passing of an old one is replacing my deceased pet. I remember each and every one of them of all of their special personalities and characteristics.

It's looking like with my own personal preferences and limited options at a shelter, unless I want a breeder dog or puppy, I'm going to be meeting and working with the animals that are available regardless of breed. I think I'll be okay with that.
 

humblehillsfarm

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I would get a puppy. You can raise him with your birds, and he'll be used to them, and know how to act around them from an early age. If you get an adult, there's a much bigger chance that he will attack your birds.
I think my boyfriend would rather have a puppy so he’d definitely have a say in things. I can see the logic there
 

NatJ

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4) intelligent
5) low aggression toward people
6) won't kill my birds

Some of the breeds that traditionally hunt birds might still be a good choice.
They are usually trainable and like people.

If they are just being bred as pets, they are likely to have lower energy and lower prey drive than the ones being deliberately bred for hunting, but I do think trainability is more important than level of prey drive.

All of the bird dogs would traditionally be trained to hunt certain animals only (maybe birds but not deer or rabbits. Maybe only certain kinds of birds, because the hunter is not allowed to shoot every kind of bird in the forest-- so ignore the robins but find the ducks, or ignore the turkeys but find the quail, or whatever.)

This means they should be able to learn "do not hunt that kind of animal" (like chickens.)
 

ninja333pirate

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Aug 3, 2020
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I live in a huge county..... that doesn't have an animal shelter. I hate it. the "local" shelter is about an hour away so it's always been sorta of impossible for me to volunteer, or I would have already been doing it for years. I'd love to play with doggies and I think it'd make my boyfriend more open to another dog. He has it in his head that he's replacing his dog. I've had animals my whole life and have never felt getting another animal after the passing of an old one is replacing my deceased pet. I remember each and every one of them of all of their special personalities and characteristics.

It's looking like with my own personal preferences and limited options at a shelter, unless I want a breeder dog or puppy, I'm going to be meeting and working with the animals that are available regardless of breed. I think I'll be okay with that.
one way I always think of it, its like when you have a second or a third child, your not replacing your first child with a second, so getting another dog is not replacing a previous dog just adding to the family, its just a different journey. Also might be worth it to make it kinda like a date night, both go to the shelter and play with some doggies together, and aim to do that a couple times a month, you might be able to get to know any new doggies in that time as well, as even really good dogs can be left in shelters for long periods of time. and you dont have to be a volunteer to spend time with dogs technically, you just go in and ask if you can see a specific dog and spend some time with them. Maybe spend an hour there and try and see 2 of the dogs that they have. you can also look for rescues on Facebook that are not quite the same thing as shelters, there are sometimes even breed specific shelters that might be closer to you where they only have that breed and mixes of that breed. Might be worth looking in to.
 

21hens-incharge

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As you already know it's really the individual dog.

I would look at dogs that have a need to please the human. They tend to be easier to train.

My own experience with a good around birds dog was an American Staffordshire terrier. She had a big need to please the human.
Her very first interaction with the birds....age 5.
We had 18" of snow fall while I was at work. I was moving waterfowl in deep snow from the pen to the barn 1/2 acre away in the dark. My ex (hoping the dog would wipe out my birds) let her out while the big gate was open. She surprised the daylights out of me by helping move them. Every time a duck or goose sat down she lifted their butt and shoved toward the barn.

After that I trusted her 100% around the birds. Never had an issue with her.

Most dogs are not like that. Most take years of training before they MIGHT be trustworthy.

Have a plan B on how things could be easily managed.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
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one way I always think of it, its like when you have a second or a third child, your not replacing your first child with a second, so getting another dog is not replacing a previous dog just adding to the family, its just a different journey. Also might be worth it to make it kinda like a date night, both go to the shelter and play with some doggies together, and aim to do that a couple times a month, you might be able to get to know any new doggies in that time as well, as even really good dogs can be left in shelters for long periods of time. and you dont have to be a volunteer to spend time with dogs technically, you just go in and ask if you can see a specific dog and spend some time with them. Maybe spend an hour there and try and see 2 of the dogs that they have. you can also look for rescues on Facebook that are not quite the same thing as shelters, there are sometimes even breed specific shelters that might be closer to you where they only have that breed and mixes of that breed. Might be worth looking in to.
For breed specific rescues I’d been looking at Brittany rescues. There were not any available within a three hour drive! It’s crazy. I have had ly heart set on one for years. And I do feel like getting another dog is just getting another dog.
As you already know it's really the individual dog.

I would look at dogs that have a need to please the human. They tend to be easier to train.

My own experience with a good around birds dog was an American Staffordshire terrier. She had a big need to please the human.
Her very first interaction with the birds....age 5.
We had 18" of snow fall while I was at work. I was moving waterfowl in deep snow from the pen to the barn 1/2 acre away in the dark. My ex (hoping the dog would wipe out my birds) let her out while the big gate was open. She surprised the daylights out of me by helping move them. Every time a duck or goose sat down she lifted their butt and shoved toward the barn.

After that I trusted her 100% around the birds. Never had an issue with her.

Most dogs are not like that. Most take years of training before they MIGHT be trustworthy.

Have a plan B on how things could be easily managed.
So glad that person is your ex! At least your doggo had your back ❤️ We got lucky with our dobie too. So loyal and just wanted to please her people. And eat.
 

Isadora

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I know you said you're not really looking for a puppy, but I wonder if a puppy, even half a year old, might be a better fit just because they are a lot more trainable. We got our lab / pit mix when she was 4 months old. Already potty trained, so that was a relief, but needed pretty much all the other training done. I have been obsessive over her training when it comes to my other animals like our cats and the chickens and she has been very good so far. She shows interest, like she wants to sniff them and eat their poop, 🤢, but not obsessive or aggressive.
 

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