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Author Topic: Best farm dog type?  (Read 13452 times)

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Best farm dog type?
« on: April 10, 2021, 05:30:14 pm »
What do you think is the best dog which would match the following criteria:
  • will not eat the chickens
  • can live outside (meaning not in the house - it can be kennel, barn etc)
  • will scare predators away (foxes, badgers)
  • not too big
  • will not mind living with livestock (more of a guard dog really)

The best would be something like the large shepherding breeds from Central and Eastern Europe - Maremma, Tatra Mountain Sheepdog, Carpathian Sheepdog, etc but they are obviously rather large. Are there any smaller breeds that would match those points?

I'd love a Dachshund or a Shiba Inu type of dogs - but they will most likely eat the hens or at least scare them to death. Shiba would probably try to run away.

How about Lancashire Heeler? Can they be raised with livestock? Or is their cattle driving instinct too strong to get rid of?
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
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Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 05:37:20 pm »
Can you have two or three?  They're pack animals, so if not living indoors as part of the human pack, would be happier with another dog for company.  Although they're maybe more likely to "get up to things" as a pair, I s'pose...

Sorry, can't advise on breed; no experience of Lancashire Heelers nor Livestock Guarding Dogs, but it sounds like the latter might suit the role, although they're all rather large.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2021, 05:52:49 pm »
1. All dogs will potentially chase and kill chickens, even if they only die of fright rather than actually being killed by the dog. It is your job to train them not to.
2. There are kennels and kennels. If a dog starts life in kennel then it will learn to except it. Again it is your job to settle them in that routine. And provide a suitable kennel free from the elements etc
3. Badgers and foxes generally visit after you have gone to bed so your dog will have gone to bed too. There is no guarantee any dog will scare off either. Plenty of people have dogs and chickens and lose chickens to both.
4. I'm not sure what to suggest as I'm not quite sure what stock you have and what you really want this farm dog to do.
5. Dogs don't mind being kennelled next to livestock. Farm dogs are all the time.


Unless you can leave a dog loose all the time it is only going to manage a certain amount of "guarding" and if it is loose then it must be secure.

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2021, 06:06:13 pm »
We have a big problem with foxes coming at day time...
I wouldn't mind having two dogs!

They wouldn't be kept with chickens - hopefully chickens will be separated by an electric fence and quite a distance away anyway, but just in case I would dog not to treat chickens like a potential snack  ;)
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2021, 01:07:42 am »
We had a livestock guardian dog, well bitch, about 11 stones worth, but she had not been raised as part of a flock.  They need to have been raised by a mother who lives outside with the flock, so they grow up to that life from the start.  Conna loved the sheep and was happy to defend them all day, but when the sun went in, so did she  ;D .  So no night time guarding. (Conna was born in a council house, along with her 11 brothers and sisters, so no sheep)
In fact LGDs work in packs.  There was a lovely TV programme using infra red to watch what they did and how they saw off a pack of wolves, somewhere in southern Europe.  I think there were six dogs, four stationed themselves on the edges of the flock as soon as they heard the wolves approaching, evenly spaced, including 'round the back' so no part was unguarded against a sneaky wolf. The other two stayed right in the centre of the flock to keep the sheep tight to them. When the wolves got close, all six dogs barked and barked - they have very big voices, and they jumped on their hind legs to look bigger.  The wolves slunk off.  Apparently, the dogs rarely attack, because this tactic works, but it does need several dogs.  A lone dog would be torn to pieces by a big pack of wolves.  Even with the six in the film, there were several shepherds there too, watching all night.


I don't think there is an easy answer to predators of farm animals.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 01:10:08 am by Fleecewife »
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Backinwellies

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Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 07:16:45 am »
We have a big problem with foxes coming at day time...
I wouldn't mind having two dogs!

They wouldn't be kept with chickens - hopefully chickens will be separated by an electric fence and quite a distance away anyway, but just in case I would dog not to treat chickens like a potential snack  ;)

If coming in daytime then any breed that isnt a bird hunter will do, especially a barking one. .  Collies round up rather than kill birds generally (my birds live in my garden with 2 collies.) ...but collies obviously need stimulation and ecercise or hens will become their stimulation! 

You might have more luck getting a local huntsman to deal with foxes?
Linda

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Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 08:09:46 am »
Bur you live in an urban area, so your foxes will be the "urban" variety too.... they are not scared of foxes, and a bored dog may well make friends with them... The problem of "urban" foxes is quite a recent one, so I think we haven't yet bred a guard animal... I think trapping and the euthanising the fox(es) may well be a less costly solution to your problem.

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2021, 12:29:30 pm »
Where we are at the moment the trapping is pointless - we have a Brook in the middle of our land - foxes use it as their highway.
When one is gone, another two move in the very next day.

Some breeds of LGD guard at day time, some at night time - in Hungary they use small puli dogs to guard and herd animals at day time, once dark the large Komodor dogs wake up for their shift.
Some breeds work in male and female pairs (Central Asian Shepherd - which is a very nice dogs but very aggressive to strangers), some in groups. Som are bred to bark and scare predators away (and that's what we want) and some are bred to fight with predators.
To be fair, as we don't have wolves and don't really need to guards goats or sheep, we are really looking for a family friendly dog that would live outside with livestock and not bother them.
A dalmatian comes to my mind as such creature...
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2021, 01:25:22 pm »
Would you expect the dogs to be loose on your land during the day/night? Always the potential for them to get out unless the plot is really well fenced. Dogs left alone can and will get bored and into mischief....... escaping, chasing stock (even though you may train them not to touch hens that training could quickly break down if they were unattended for long periods and bored), barking incessantly (which maybe a problem in urban area)
Urban foxes are pretty smart and if there is a way in to your hen enclosure would soon learn that the dogs were locked in another section and couldn't get to them.

Farm dogs have work to do ..... not really sure what role the dogs would have in the situation you suggest.


in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2021, 01:57:59 pm »
Or are you mainly wanting a family pet dog but one that will live outdoors?

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2021, 02:08:21 pm »
I had a spaniel. He lived with the chickens perfectly well, seemed to really like chicks and would lay in the sun with them all around and over him. We had no fences, he went wandering once. when I caught up with him half a mile away I told him off and he never did it again till he was senile and at the end of his days. The foxes picked off the hens in the day after we lost him. At night if a fox came he’d go out and bark but he wasn’t very brave and mostly wouldn’t go beyond the security light but I liked having the alarm of him.  He’d bark once for a vehicle coming down the drive as well, also handy. I taught him to bark on very subtle command so he could seem rather vicious on the end of a lead but was as soft as dough. Living and often working alone in the middle of nowhere, I liked having a dog who could seem aggressive and barky. Spaniels are silly but very trainable and keen.

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2021, 03:40:24 pm »
Or are you mainly wanting a family pet dog but one that will live outdoors?
Yes actually.

I will not get any dog as long as we live in the city.

We are searching for a larger place in countryside (went to see a very promising smallholding last week and made an offer :fc: ). Only when we move out we will get one
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2021, 04:15:11 pm »
Sorry, to be blunt but a family pet lives with its people not in a shed or barn.

I understand that some farm dogs that work are often kept in kennels, probably because of the mess they would take inside, but it's not my idea of pets - our dogs all lived with us when we moved to our farm in Aberdeenshire.

They were shooting dogs rather than sheepdogs, and we had a boot room for them to clean off before they came into the main part of the house.  We had kennels in one of our barns for when any of the bitches came in season and the boys lived there for a week or so.  If we only one sex they would only have gone out there if we had to leave them overnight and someone else had to come to feed them
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2021, 04:34:12 pm »
Good luck with the smallholding offer  :thumbsup:


I think you're a bit ahead of yourself with thinking about which dog to get.  Once you have moved in and settled in and you know what livestock you will have, then is the time to look for an ideal dog to fit your actual circumstances.


Why a dalmation? They are running dogs, not livestock guardians.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Best farm dog type?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2021, 09:08:09 pm »
Good luck with the smallholding.


It's good to start thinking and doing some research but I agree with FW. Once you've moved in and settled in and decided on stock then it will hopefully become clearer as to what type of dog suits your needs and you'll have a better understanding of how a dog can fit into your new lifestyle ...... what you want from your dog and also which dog can live a fulfilled and happy life in your new situation.


Outdoor working dogs don't always make the best family dogs though there are exceptions I suppose.


A family dog will often be happiest being in the house with its family ... though it can spend some time outdoors in a kennel. It's a working dog too in a way ..... working at being a companion and an important job too.

 

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