Livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) are great at protecting their flock from predators. However, many people who own LGDs don’t realize the full potential of these amazing animals.
In this blog, we will discuss the best & Worst dog for guarding chickens.
Importance of Dogs in Protecting Poultry
Poultry-guardian dogs are amazing to have around when raising backyard flocks of chickens. However, unless you understand the importance of having a good livestock guardian dog in your flock, you may not see the full benefits of this amazing animal.
The truth is, most backyard flock owners never bother to train their guard dogs to protect their flock from predators. Therefore, they go through life completely oblivious to the fact their dog is guarding their flock 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.
Problems that can occur when poultry are not guarded.
- One of the major problems when poultry is not guarded, predators like foxes, coyotes, and wolves will take them for food.
- Strangers and predators may raid chicken coops at night. They may even attack during the day.
- Poultry can become diseased from predators. Predators can transmit diseases to your chickens.
- Predators can cause your chickens to panic.
- All of this leads to poor egg production and lower quality eggs, leading to health problems for you and your hens.
Now, let’s go through the dog breeds that get along with chickens.
Best Breeds for Guarding Chickens
There are many different breeds of livestock guardian dogs. Each breed has certain advantages and disadvantages.
Before discussing these various breeds, it’s important to define what we mean by “laboratory-bred.” Laboratory-bred LGDs have been specially selected and trained to protect laboratory animals (typically mice or rats) from predators.
However, these dogs are not necessarily great at protecting poultry from predators, where some of them are bred to attack and kill chickens.
Here we list ten dogs that have been tested and proven successful in this are often considered safe.
Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog is one of the most well-known field-bred LGDs. This is a breed I used to use myself whenever I needed to protect many animals from a predator. They are courageous, tenacious, and extremely loyal to their owners.
They do not hesitate to attack any threat. However, they are eager to please and will work tirelessly for their owner without complaint. They are great with children and are very gentle with them.
The Old English Sheepdog is a small herding dog used by many people who keep shetland sheep, welsh pounds, and other herding breeds of livestock.
The Maremma Sheepdog is the most widely-used LGD in Italy. Like the Old English Sheepdogs, they were originally bred to protect farm animals from predators.
However, they are not nearly as well known outside of Italy. Like all field-bred LGDs, they are extremely loyal to their owners and will go to any lengths to protect them.
They have a very strong sense of duty and take their job seriously. Maremma Sheepdogs are courageous, tough, and protective of their herd. They are excellent with children and are gentle with them.
They have a low-key, almost lazy temperament which belies their incredible fighting spirit. These dogs can be very intimidating when necessary but are generally non-aggressive unless provoked. They make wonderful livestock guardian dogs.
The Akbash is an ancient breed of LGD native to the Middle East (Turkey). They are still used today for herding and guarding livestock.
Akbash dogs are extremely devoted to their owners and are extremely loyal to them. However, They may attack chickens and other farm animals without hesitation if they are threatened.
But in general, they are very protective of their flock and will attack anything that threatens them.
The Kuvasz is another small LGD breed. They were originally bred to herd cattle but are now used as livestock guardian dogs throughout Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
Kuvasz is protective of their owners and will attack and even kill any stranger who gets too close to them or their flock. They are brave and tenacious and have an upbeat and cheerful demeanor. They are good with children and make wonderful pets for the family.
The Puli is a small, agile, aggressive, and highly intelligent dog. They were originally bred to herd yaks but are now used as livestock guardian dogs. These dogs have a very high pain threshold and will attack and kill chickens and other farm animals without hesitation if they are threatened.
However, they are excellent with children and make wonderful pets for the family.
The Rottweiler was originally bred as a farm working dog but is also used as a guard and guardian dog. They are extremely loyal to their owners, very protective of them, and are extremely aggressive toward anyone who threatens the owner.
They are originally bred to fight other dogs and are extremely courageous and tenacious fighters. This breed has an extremely strong jaw and powerful shoulders.
Rottweilers can weigh up to 95 to 135 pounds and have jaws capable of delivering a powerful bite. They are fearless, very protective of their flock, and make wonderful livestock guardian dogs.
This is one of the most popular herding dogs in the world. Anatolian Shepherd is a brave, tenacious, and cheerful working dog.
They are used as guardian dogs and livestock protectors worldwide. It is very loyal and protective. So you can easily rely on them to protect defenseless animals from predators.
Komondor is good at keeping chickens safe from predators. In addition, Komondors are extremely loyal, protective, and courageous dogs.
They have an extremely cheerful. They are excellent with children, ducks, and other livestock.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is used as both a livestock guardian and a working farm dog. They are reliable to protect flocks from wolves, bears, and thieves.
It will attack and kill any stranger who gets too close to them or their flock. They are extremely and tenacious fighters. However, they are also good at guarding chickens.
List of Dog Breeds that are Bad for Chickens
There are several breeds of dogs that are natural predators of chickens. And it would be irresponsible of me to tell you that you should not be concerned about these particular breeds of dogs.
These breeds are almost certain to cause problems if they get their teeth into your chickens. These are the kinds of dogs that will most likely attack and bite your chickens and then turn on your flock.
Jack Russel Terrier
The Jack Russel Terrier has an inborn aggressive, instinctive behavior towards chickens. This breed is extremely loyal to its owner, but it is also extremely territorial and will become a dangerous problem for your chickens if it ever gets a chance to go after them.
This is another very aggressive breed of dog that will also be likely to attack or bite your chickens. I consider this breed slightly less of a problem than the Jack Russel Terrier, but it’s still something you should be aware of.
However, this particular breed has been selectively bred over many generations to have a high prey drive and an absolute refusal to ever back down from a fight.
Do You Need to Train Dogs to Protect Chickens?
Indeed you do. If not, then you will have a very bad time with it. If you do decide to use your dog to guard your chickens, you need to train it properly so it does not become a threat to the birds. Your dog may hurt the birds or chase them.
Most people are under the impression that if their dogs will only learn to protect their chickens. They have to teach their dog the chickens and tell him to “attack” whatever animal is attacking the chickens. It can take time to train a dog to protect chickens than to protect a person.
How to train a dog to be a guard dog for poultry?
Guard dogs are very loyal to their owners, and they will protect those owners with their lives if necessary.
Guard dogs are often used to protect large estates, ranches, luxury homes, and other places.
Therefore, you should find out everything you can about the dog’s background, including how old he is, his health, energy level, temperament, obedience skills, and any other pertinent information.
Once you know all this, you should talk with other people who have owned or seen in action the type of dog you are thinking about getting. If your dogs have any type of aggressive behavior whatsoever toward them, then you must train them to protect your chickens.
You should also talk with a trainer who has trained attack dogs and see if he would work with you on this project.
There are two main ways you can train a dog to be a guard dog for poultry:
1. Use “Obedience Training” to make the dog do whatever you want.
2. Use “Lethal Force Training” to teach the dog to kill (or attempt to kill) any predator that threatens your flock. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail. First, we will discuss the “good ol’ fashioned” way of using obedience training to get a dog to do what you want.
Next, we will discuss the more “extreme” method of using “Lethal Force Training.” After that, we will discuss some other options you have for training your dog to protect your flock.
Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) aren’t new to the family of farm animals. LGDs were developed as a protection against predators and are very effective.
Dogs are great to protect their owners’ livestock from wolves, coyotes, foxes, cats, squirrels, and humans. If you train them properly, they can also protect free-range chickens, ducks, turkeys.
Now, if you have chosen a dog breed to protect your chickens, let us know in the comment below.