Dogs are an important addition to every farm. Not only do they improve the overall mood of their owners, but they also have a lot of space to play and run in and play an important role in protecting other domestic animals from potential predators such as moles, foxes, wolves, and other animals. Many dogs are also playful towards chickens and other flock birds and will protect them from potential predators. However, how dogs will act towards chickens depends on many factors, from breed to how you raise them to behave.
While all dog breeds will be friendly if raised and trained properly, some dog breeds are more aggressive than others, while some are too playful and goofy to ever act territorial or protective. Choosing the right dog breed for your farm is super-important because you’re also choosing a guardian that will protect your chickens and won’t harm them in the process.
Chickens are generally playful and brooding animals, and they won’t harm your dog, they’re becoming more popular and they’re all about living chill lives where they lay eggs, play with other hens or flirt with roosters.
Even though it’s the rooster’s job to watch over chickens, and warn them by crowing when danger is approaching, it’s quite difficult for roosters alone to protect chickens from predators like coyotes, foxes, and wolves.
That being said, a dog is a perfect addition to your farm that won’t only protect chickens, but also chicks and other flock birds that you may have. According to a study chickens and guardian dogs can easily be considered best friends!
However, choosing the right breed can be quite difficult, which is why we crafted this article and a guide that will help you choose the right dog breed for your chickens. Additionally, we’ll list the most popular farm dogs that are suitable for chickens and behave well towards them. Continue reading to learn more!
Things to Consider When Choosing a Dog Breed That is Good With Chickens
Unfortunately, chickens, even though they are very peaceful and active animals, they are vulnerable to a big number of predators. Many consider their meat super-delicious and won’t shy away from waiting for the right moment to attack them. Here are things to consider when picking the dog breed that is good with chickens.
Keep in mind that the dogs that you will bring to your farm need to be well-trained and prepared to face the challenges that chickens have. First and primarily, your dog will need to be mannered enough not to assault the livestock in the first place, and then you should make sure that it will listen to your commands, as well as commands from your employees or family.
It’s important to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder that will also provide the necessary training for your dog. Some dog breeds have better instincts than others, in which case less training is necessary. Their instinct will guide them on protecting your chickens and react accordingly when the flock is endangered.
Most dogs are energetic, they need a large space that will allow them to spend their daily energy and also play around. That will contribute to a better mood and better temperament in the process. Dogs that will be good with chickens need to remain calm and patient in stressful situations, especially when encountering territorial roosters that can sometimes get aggressive.
It’s easier to understand the temperament of a dog that you know is 100% the breed you purchased, which is why it’s important to purchase your guardian dog from a reputable breeder who will also ensure that the dog won’t be aggressive towards the chickens and other animals or humans.
Finally, one of the traits of a dog is to be clever enough to understand the difference between a threat and a non-threat event, as you don’t want the dog to hurt your chickens or other animals.
Finally, breed plays an important role in whether you should choose a certain dog to watch over your chickens or not. While all dogs are generally considered cute, some breeds are more suitable for guarding than others.
It’s less likely to choose Huskey or Golden Retriever for the task, as they’re both playful, goofy dogs that don’t have a sense of protection, especially when it comes to protecting your livestock.
Some other dogs like the Great Pyrenees and other larger dogs are more suitable for the role, primarily because they’re large, have strong protective instincts, and are also loud, agile, and fast.
Top 10 Dogs That Get Well With Chickens
Whether you’re choosing dogs that just get well with chickens or the entire livestock (livestock guard dogs (LGD)) it’s always important to consider the size, temperament, breed, and how well-trained they are to put up with the task.
Many guard dogs are not only trained, but they also have a special instinct that allows them to live up to the task they’re given. They are devoted and friendly but don’t take them for the traditional family dogs that we see in movies and on social media. This dog will take care of your household, and it needs a lot of strength and focus to do so successfully.
Below, we put down a list of the top 10 livestock guardian dogs. While some of them are considered 100% livestock guardian dogs, we also included other devoted, loving canine animals that are just as good at performing the task.
- Height: 24-26 inches
- Weight: 80-150 pounds
- Life span: 12-15 years
Tibetan Mastiffs are lovable family dogs that also do a great job at protecting your farm from unwelcome guests like other dogs, unwanted neighbors, and of course, predators that can potentially harm your chickens. They can grow quite tall and weigh up to 150 pounds. They’re loud and hairy, and their size can intimidate potential intruders.
Although they are loving family dogs, they’re highly intelligent and when they suspect there’s a threat, they tend to be reserved.
They will also get along with your chickens and won’t let anything happen to them. They have decent dog instincts for protection, but you will still need to train them. They’re mellow so you’ll need to be more assertive in order to get better results.
- Height: 25-34 inches
- Weight: 80-140 pounds
- Life span: 10-12 years
Akbash is a dog breed that originates from western Anatolia in Turkey. It was bred more than 3,000 years ago, and given it has always known the rough, bumpy mountain terrain, it was a popular dog breed for village farms, especially for livestock protection.
Although at first sight, they look cute and huggable, they are quite large and have large jaws that could intimidate any predator. They’re known for their snow-white hair, with the rare addition of biscuit color around the ears.
They have strong instincts and require little training before they’re ready to watch over your chickens. Make sure that it has a lot of space to roam and run freely as they’re prone to weight gain when they’re not active. Also, don’t leave them alone for too long, they can get quite anxious without their owner around, but they are quite wary and protective around strangers.
- Height: 27-50 inches
- Weight: 100-150 pounds
- Life span: 10-12 years
The Great Pyrenees originates from a French mountain breed, which makes it ideal for a livestock guardian dog. He’s one of the most popular livestock guardian dogs. They’re easily recognizable for their white color, fluffy eyes, big figure, and triangular ears.
They’re known as shepherding rescue and therapy dogs, but aside from that, they have various talents which have been used for the longest of times. They’re intelligent, strong, and communicative dogs that won’t attack your flock, but will understand their duty to protect them.
Although they’re quite independent, as long as you provide them with enough food and water, they will be able to communicate their needs to you and warn both you and the chickens in the flock of the potential dangers. It’s also worth noting that they’re the ideal dog for cold climates. Its origin off the French mountains allowed it to adapt to frigid weather conditions.
- Height: 20-32 inches
- Weight: 80-145 pounds
- Life span: 13-15 years
If you’re looking for a dog breed that is large and looks enough intimidating at first sight to scare off potential predators, Turkey-native Kangal is the right choice for that. Both males and females can grow quite large, up to 32 and 30 inches respectively.
They love being around humans, but also around other domestic animals. They love helping humans and are intelligent, intuitive, and expressive in the sense that they can communicate their needs. They have strong instincts and don’t require strict training.
They’re the best at guarding their flock because they’re agile, curious, and fast at noticing potential threats. One of the best traits about Kangals is their strength and courage, as they’re strong enough to fight a wolf if necessary. Despite that, they’re gentle giants and love being petted and snuggled with.
- Height: 28-31 inches
- Weight: 130-200 pounds
- Life span: 10-13 years
Pyrenean mastiffs are large dogs that are also prone to gaining weight and looking way more aggressive and territorial than they are. However, they are some of the best guardian dogs that you can have on your farm, as they don’t just get along with other animals, but also children.
They are gentle giants that can gain up to 200 lbs and on rare occasions can weigh as much as 220. They are adapted to both colder and warmer climates and will get along with your flock and make sure their needs are fulfilled. They have a noble posture but are very protective when they see someone they know is in trouble.
They may need a little more training than they have instincts. Be assertive, but also apply some reinforcement teaching methods. They love being rewarded for hard work, and enjoy praises and snuggles.
Old English Sheepdog
- Height: 20+ inches
- Weight: 60-100 pounds
- Life span: 10-12 years
Old English Sheepdogs are highly intelligent and adaptable dogs, which makes them ideal for taking care of your flock of birds and other livestock on your farm. Although they might not grow as big as some other breeds we mentioned here, they’re reliable, trustworthy, and very courageous.
They are quite active and need a lot of space to run, exercise, and practice. They are intuitive and have instincts so they’ll love completing tasks for you and making you generally happy.
- Height: 26-30 inches
- Weight: 100-135 pounds
- Life span: 12-14 years
Karakachan is proud, and noble, but also friendly and protective dogs that love families and take care of farm animals. They can grow quite large which will make them intimidating to predators.
They’re quite independent so you’ll see them roaming and running around, which is why it’s good if you can provide them with a large running space. They’ll be friendly with your flock, and thanks to their alert nature, they’ll warn the flock of nearing danger.
- Height: 25-30 inches
- Weight: 80-120 pounds
- Life span: 10-12 years
Komondoros are some of the most popular flock dogs because they’re loyal, intuitive, and brave. There’s no chance you’ll miss a Komondor thanks to its long cord-like hair. They’re intelligent, and intuitive, but will need some training.
Luckily, they don’t need a lot of training thanks to their instincts and curiosity. It’s best to get them as puppies and socialize them with your kids, neighbors, and family because they can grow up to be aggressive.
- Height: 16-17 inches
- Weight: 30 pounds
- Life span: 12-16 years
Although they’re quite similar to Komondor dogs thanks to their cord-like hairs, they’re significantly smaller. However, their size doesn’t mean that they won’t be good enough guard dogs for your flock. They’re extremely easy to train, intuitive, curious, and have great instincts.
They will easily take care of your flock, and also other livestock animals. They get along with chickens and spend a lot of time with them. Still, make sure to provide them with enough space.
- Height: 23-26 inches
- Weight: 50-70 pounds
- Life span: 12-13 years
There are many Collie breeds, and whichever you choose you won’t go wrong, especially with Border Collie which is one of the most popular livestock protection dog choices. Nevertheless, no matter which breeds you choose you’ll be faced with an intuitive, clever, and intelligent dog that is devoted and will take care of your chicken’s safety.
They are dutiful, but you will have to take valuable time to train them to perfection. They’re still gentle, and loving and get along not just with animals but also with children.