Cartoon of Wuf Wuf farm - farm dogs

The best farm dogs – breeds you need

Old MacDonald’s farm wouldn’t been complete without a dog (with a Wufwuf here, and a Wufwuf there). While herding sheep and cattle are occupations we most usually associate with canines, their roles often stretch further. do more than that. Here are some breeds that can make the best farm dogs for various tasks.

Different farm dogs for different roles.

Farms can vary a lot in size, scope and function. Most of them however, have open areas and animals that need protecting, rather than killing. They also attract vermin that needs to be killed

Where there is cattle or sheep, a dog with herding instincts will also be indispensable.

Best farm dogs for The field

For rugged, outdoor spaces, canines with double fur coats rather than single hair
ones will be more robust, especially in rough conditions. The bottom layer gives
comfort while the outer one protects against rain, dirt, and thorns. This coat
sheds, which means less need for bath times (but obviously, a lot more hair on the floor).

A good field dog should also have homing instincts. In large, open spaces it’s
easier for ones who do not to get lost once they wander away from their familiar
territory. Mastiffs, Great Pyranees, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and Sheepdogs
all fit the bill as canines able to return to where they came from.

Best farm dogs to protect hens and chickens

If the farm has hens, chickens or baby calves it is likely to attract prey-animals. Ideally, the
guardian dog will not have a high prey-drive (that is – driven to kill small animals), so that it
could attack the homestead as well. This means that Terriers, Beagles and Mastiffs are out for this task.

Golden Retrievers, and Labradors would be a better choice, but they don’t make the best
guard dogs. In contrast, Great Pyranees will protect the most vulnerable livestock, rather
than want to destroy them. They seem like the best choices for this.

Best farm dogs for rodents and vermin

While Terriers would not be suitable for the above, they are skilled at killing small animals that might attack livestock. These include rats, mice, and even badgers, and ferrets. Jack Russell is a type of Terrier with a lot energy and personality. Dogs of this breed excel in this role.

Great Pyranees and Standard Schnauzers are fantastic all-purpose dogs, as they have a
protective nature as well as the ability to catch and kill undesired predators.

Jack Russell dog  portrait
“Day 11: Jackie, the Jack Russell Terrier (11/365)” by Dusty J is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Farm dogs that herd

One image that many people will associate with pastoral country life is that of a canine in a field
herding sheep -an important role for dogs on many farms. Any dog with ‘Shepherd‘, or ‘Cattle
in its name is likely to be good at this. However, there is one that wins this slot for us is – the Border Collie.

Thought to possibly be the most intelligent dog breed of all, the Border Collie’s brainpower,
agility, and efficiency makes it a winner at herding. It has been highly sought after for this
purpose, since first being bred at the turn of the 20th century. Like many dogs already mentioned, Border Collies will require extensive training and attention before graduating.

You can read more from Wufmag about Border Collies – a guide to puppies, and the challenges of training them.

If you’re thinking of running a farm or a homestead, you might want to consider the above breeds dogs – some of the best farm dogs for the various jobs. It’s currently springtime, which means more animals in the fields, so if you’re near one – go and take a look!

Great Pyranees – best all rounder

As you may have noticed, The Great Pyranees comes up as a great choice different farm tasks, and therefore wins our tip for best farm dog all rounder. This breed is ancient, and has strong nurturing instincts, as well as guardian ones.

Great pyranees napping
“Napping Great Pyranees” by photonooner is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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