Best Dog Breeds For Chicken Farmers

Having chickens on your farm means you need a protector for them. Therefore, investing in a dog on your farm to protect your chickens is highly recommended for a chicken farmer, and a smart choice. Plus, dogs are great pets and companions. Chickens can live up to 15 years if they are taken care of adequately and protected by a farm dog. They have a long list of predators from weasels to owls. So you have to be prepared! Today we will take a look at the best dog breeds for chicken farmers. 

The best dog breed for chicken farmers are dogs that are bred for working and protecting livestock. These types of dogs will most definitely be the perfect type for your chicken farm. They will guard the livestock and warn of any imminent danger to the farm and chickens. We will get into the breeds in just a bit. First, let’s take a look at a few questions you may have. 

How To Teach Dogs To Protect Chickens Not Eat Them?

A dog and a chicken are two different species that you will have to train to communicate with each other. This may not be an easy task for chicken farmers, but it can be done. You want your dog to be friends with your flock, not eat them. Dogs are great pets and affectionate, but dogs are natural predators. So we have to get our pup to understand that chickens are not to be eaten. But how do we get this across to our canines?

Raising Them Together Like Peas And Carrots 

Just like with children, dogs do best with them when they are raised with them. The same thing goes for chickens. If you have a new pup and young flock, then you are already ahead of the game. You could start by letting them share and explore the land together. Let them drink and eat with each other. Even get them their own toy that they get to play with together. Having a toy they have to share will teach them to get along and perhaps also form a life long friendship.

Some may think that chickens are stupid and unable to form a bond, or do anything else but eat, however, they are smart creatures. They may only associate you with food, but they are quick learners and can be trained! Yes, a chicken can be trained. Chickens do well with clickers. They may even be able to teach a dog a thing or two!

Train Your Dog To Treat The Chickens Like Family

If you want your dog to protect your chicken, then the dog needs to feel like they are part of the pack. You will have to train your dog to accept the chicken as a family member. Dogs are natural predators, so you’ll have to show your dog that you want to protect the chickens. Put a leash on your dog and bring it over to the chickens while they are running around. Your body language should be showing protection towards the chickens. Your dog will pick up on this and want to protect them as well. 

When feeding and providing water to your chickens, let your dog be present. This will show your dog that the chickens are in your care. Your dog will eventually accept the chickens into the family and be a protector of them. 

Train Your Chickens To Treat The Dog Like Family 

Chickens are feisty! So, any animal that comes near them may be in for a surprise. Therefore, you need to proceed with caution when introducing your chickens to your dog. Chickens will either attack or run away from your dog.

If you want your chicken flock and dog to get along, it is recommended that you slowly introduce them. Bring your dog around the chickens when they are out and about. Let them get used to each other being around. Once they settle down and stop facing off, give them each a treat. Since both species love food, this is something they can have in common, other than you, of course. They may just forget about you with all the treats around. 

Once they get used to seeing each other every day, things should be okay. Keep them busy with activities they get to do together to build their bond. However, do not leave them alone together and unsupervised. You never know, and you always want to be safe rather than sorry. 

I hope you find these tips helpful. They are not guaranteed to make your chickens and dog best friends, but it may be able to help you out a little. For more advice on how to build friendships between your dog and chickens, seek out a professional dog trainer. The dog trainer you select should have experience with training dogs to accept chickens for the best results. 

Foxes and Weasels and Bears Oh My!

Chickens have a hefty list of predators that a chicken farmer and his/her dog will have to look out for. These animals can come at our flock from many angles. It is highly recommended that you do your research on these common chicken killers, and how to keep them away and your chickens safe. Based on where you live, of course. They can come at them in the day or night. So your chickens are always at risk of being munched on. Here is the list of the top predators.

  • Weasels(evil creatures when it comes to chickens)
  • Foxes
  • Bears 
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes
  • Coyotes
  • Cats
  • Skunks
  • Opossums
  • Hawks
  • Owls
  • Bobcats

So we have touched base on a few things. Now it is time to get to the best dog breeds for chicken farmers.

You will want to get a livestock guard dog for your chickens. These dogs are great at protecting and show no mercy when it comes to predators. They are also gentle with chickens and will stay with them at all times.

Best Dog Breeds For Chicken Farmers

Akbash 

The Akbash is a sizeable rare guard dog from Turkey. They were bred to guard and protect livestock. They are incredibly loyal, highly intelligent, and very watchful dogs. Great qualities for a farm dog. This dog may be significant in size, but it is very loving, gentle, and affectionate with its family.

This dog can even tell who is a friend and who is an enemy. They will protect their family and livestock if they feel there is a threat. An excellent dog for protecting your chickens, and any other livestock you may have. A great dog breed for a chicken farmer to invest in.

It is recommended to get this dog from a pup for the best results.

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 10-11 Years
  • Weight Male: 41 – 64 kg
  • Weight Female: 41 kg
  • Height Male: 71 – 86 cm
  • Height Female: 69 – 81 cm

Best Raised Together  

Introducing an adult Akbash to your chicken flock can pose a threat because of their size. This is a large dog, and your chickens are most likely not used to such a large creature being with them. It is best to raise the pup and chickens from a very young age. This way, it makes it easier for them to get along and accept each other. 

Tibetan Mastiff 

Another great dog breed for chicken farmers. The Tibetan Mastiff is a very large guard dog and can most certainly protect your chickens from predators. These guys can endure the harshest of climates without batting an eye. What does this mean? This dog can take the heat and extreme cold. So it doesn’t really matter where you live, this dog will adapt just fine. 

Due to its enormous size, this dog can take on any type of predator that comes onto the farm. This dog can stay up at night, so, therefore, they can protect your chickens not only throughout the day but during the night as well.  

Although they are great protectors, they are somewhat stubborn, and training must start for the first day this dog is brought home. 

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years
  • Weight Male: 45–73 kg
  • Weight Female: 34–54 kg
  • Height Male: 66–76 cm
  • Height Female: 61–71 cm

Maremma SheepDog 

Maremma sheepdog on a farm with sheep
A Maremma sheepdog on a farm with a herd of sheep. Maremmas are gentle with other animals especially chickens

This gentle creature is a livestock guarding dog originally from Italy. The Maremma sheepdog is a thick and muscular dog with a white coat. Even though it is a relatively large canine, the Maremma is super friendly and gentle toward other animals, including chickens. Maremmas are tranquil and witty and can protect free-range animals like your chickens from aerial predators such as:

  • Hawks
  • Eagles 
  • Owls

And land predators such as 

  • Coyotes
  • Wolves
  • Weasels
  • Foxes
  • Skunks
  • Opossums
  • Snakes 

Chicken farmers looking for a gentle and affectionate protector of your flock, can’t go wrong with this great dog breed. Oh, and the Maremma makes a great family pet as well. 

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 Years
  • Weight Male: 35–45 kg
  • Weight Female: 30–40 kg
  • Height Male: 65–73 cm
  • Height Female: 60–68 cm 

Anatolian Shepherd- A Great Breed For Chicken Farmers

This next dog does not need to be trained on how to protect your chicken. The Anatolian is a highly intelligent livestock guard dog. They are strong and fast and can outrun ground predators. The Anatolian is highly intelligent and does not need any direction from its owner on how to protect the chickens or any other livestock. However, they do not make a good home guard dog due to it being very temperamental. 

The Anatolian is a natural breed to train; however, this breed can be stubborn and may decide it does not want to listen to any instructions. A lone wolf, this dog prefers to work alone. 

General Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 Years
  • Weight Female: 40–55 kg
  • Weight Male: 50–65 kg
  • Height Female: 71–79 cm
  • Height Male: 74–81 cm

The Pyrenean Mastiff

This large canine comes equipped with a cumbersome white coat and some dark spots. The Pyrenean Mastiff is a reliable and self-efficient dog while being calm and homely. Pyrenean Mastiffs can be a home guard as well as a livestock guard. Bonus! This dog breed is also gentle towards chickens, and it can get along with other animals that it knows.  

If challenged by an unfriendly, this dog will stop at nothing to protect your livestock or any other animals that are under its protection. The Pyrenean does not require high energy exercise daily. But, they must be trained by a strong leader for it not to take over as alpha. It is highly recommended that this dog be socialized from a very young age. 

If you are looking for a dog to protect your home and your livestock, then look no further than the Pyrenean Mastiff. 

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 Years
  • Weight: Up to 81 KG
  • Height Female: 71 cm
  • Height male: 77 cm

The Great Pyrenees-Protectors Of The Flock

A Great Pyrenees in a field of snow
A Great Pyrenees in a snow field. This dog is a large dog breed that protects livestock.

The Great Pyrenees, aka Pyrenean Mountain Dog, is a large dog breed that has been guarding livestock for centuries. A natural guard dog, Pyrenees, can get very aggressive towards predators who are thinking of attacking the flock it is protecting.  The Pyrenean Mountain dog is an excellent choice for a chicken farmer.

This dog is also highly active at night, so any predators messing around with your flock will be in for a BIG surprise! Small animals that are young and need protection can be trusted with the Great Pyrenees. 

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
  • Weight Male: 50–54 kg
  • Weight Female: 36–41 kg
  • Height Male: 70–82 cm
  • Height Female: 65–74 cm

 The Komondor A Great Dog Breed For Chicken Farmers

A Komondor running down a country road
The Komondor is a livestock guard dog.

Komondors are known for their heavy coats that sometimes bear a resemblance to dreadlocks. This dog is originally from Hungry and bred to protect and guard livestock. The Komondor is enormous, reliable, robust, and extremely muscular. They can take on most predators without an issue.

This dog is quite brave and will defend the flock no matter what. This dog is very protective and may attack strangers who are not a threat. However, with rigorous training, you may be able to prevent this.

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
  • Weight Male: 50 – 60 kg
  • Weight Female: 40 – 50 kg
  • Height Female: 64–69 cm
  • Height Male: 71–76 cm

Kuvasz- A Cousin of the Komondor

A Kuvasz splashing around in the water
A Kuvasz is smiling and splashing around in a lake.

The Kuvasz is another livestock guard dog from Hungry. They are also great at protecting the home. This breed is another large breed that has an odorless coat. These guys are highly intelligent and funny. They can make anyone laugh with their hilarious shenanigans. If you are looking for a fun and smart dog that will look after the house and your livestock, then this is the breed for you.

The Kuvasz is a loyal companion that can work and think on its own without its owner instructing it what to do. This dog is an excellent scanner that evaluates the land for any potential unfriendly visits. They will take protective action when needed. That being said, this breed is noisy, meaning it likes to be heard and leans more towards being independent. 

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
  • Weight Male: 45–52 kg
  • Weight Female: 35–40 kg
  • Height Male: 70–76 cm
  • Height Female: 65–70 cm

 The Kangal- Another Good Breed For Chicken Farmers

A Kangal taking a stroll down the road
A Kangal dog breed is going for a walk on non busy country road

Kanagals are not herding dogs, but they make a great guardian for your chickens. This dog will protect your flock from predators such as bears, jackals, and wolves, just to name a few. The Kangal is also recommended as a home security dog due to the love it has for other family pets and children. This dog is loyal and gentle. It is on the lighter side of guard dogs; however, it has flash-like speed (up to 50km/hr) and excellent agility. 

General Breed Stats

  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 Years
  • Weight Female: 41–54 kg
  • Weight Male: 50–66 kg
  • Height Female 72–77 cm
  • Height Male: 77–86 cm

Conclusion

I hope you found this list of the best dog breeds for chicken farmers helpful in your search for the perfect dog breed to guard and protect your chickens. Remember that it is best to get your guard dog in its early stages of life. This is so that you can train them from a young age, and they can grow up with your young chicken flock. Training is essential, and they need to have a strong leader who can train them to be the best they can be!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Animal To Protect Chicken?

The best animal a chicken farmer can have to protect their chickens is a dog. Guinea fowl are incredibly territorial and will give chase to any trespassers. They are also very loud and will scare off potential predators with its screech. Donkeys, Alpacas, and Llamas can also be used to protect chickens. Alpacas and Llamas hate foxes and would be great guards for a chicken farmer. Donkeys have a mean kick and would really harm any potential predators that mess with the flock. 

What Smell Do Coyotes Hate?

Coyotes hate the smell of wolf urine, mothballs, and ammonia. All pretty bad smelling things. You should be able to pick these up at Home Depot or online somewhere. Should you get your hands on these deterrents, place them around the coop, and farm. It is also recommended that you place them inside your outdoor garbage bins. Although these have been known to keep coyotes away, you will have to use them often, and it can become expensive. But they will be helping out your dog with protecting the chickens. And you can’t really put a price on that, can you?

What Time Of Day And Year Are Coyotes Most Active?

 Coyotes are very active in January. This is the month they start breeding, and they are very mobile at this time. These creatures are most active at night. This is when they like to hunt for their food. If your livestock guard dog works at night and is a big energetic breed, then you really don’t have to worry. Your dog will do all the work and scare those beasties away!

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