Everyone knows: Dogs are man’s best friend. But aside from being companions, they are also handy helpers! You can trust many dog breeds to help out in working tasks like herding. Some dog breeds even take care of livestock. If you’re wondering about dog breeds that are good with chickens, look no further!
Farm living often includes taking care of livestock like chickens. They’re easy to take care of, and you can get fresh eggs every morning. But you might also be thinking of getting a dog. A farm is a great place for a pet to run around in. However, you might be worried that a dog could be a danger to your chickens.
There are many breeds of good dogs with chickens, and this is your complete guide to them. These include:
- Bichon Frise
- Golden Retrievers
There are many more dog breeds that can get along well with chickens. Learn more about their traits, how to take take care of them, and what else they can do. Let’s get started!
20 Dog Breeds That Are Good With Chickens
Not every dog breed is a hazard to chickens. It’s just a matter of choosing the right breed that will fit your needs. Without further ado, here are some dogs that are great with chickens!
1. Maremma Sheepdog
The Maremma Sheepdog is an “Old World European” breed that traces its origins to ancient Roman times. They are used to large, open spaces and are suited to farms. Maremma Sheepdogs are also great herding dogs.
They are intelligent, friendly, determined, loyal, and alert. However, these are not easy to train and require obedience training and early socialization. They stand at 23-29 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 65-100 lbs. Their thick fur helps them in cold weather but makes it harder for them to be comfortable in the heat.
Maremma Sheepdogs are suitable for guarding all types of animals. Their innate protective instinct makes them a popular choice for herding. They are so affectionate with people they know but are especially wary of strangers.
Komondors are dignified, brave, and loyal. They are famous for their long, naturally occurring cords. Aside from that, they are also fierce and intelligent watchdogs.
They stand at 24-28 inches tall and up to 100 or more lbs in weight. Their coat does not need any brushing, but it needs meticulous grooming to keep it looking pretty.
The Komondor is also known as the king of Hungarian flock dogs. They are easy to train and very curious, making them the perfect protector of your farm livestock. However, they also tend to be aggressive, so make sure you socialize them early on.
3. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiffs are intelligent, reserved, and independent. Aside from being guard dogs, they are also loveable family dogs. Watch out though, they are known to climb fences!
Their height reaches up to 24 inches tall, while their weight can grow up to 150 lbs. Their large sizes make them ideal for wide spaces like farms.
Despite their large, powerful, and muscular builds, these gentle giants are mellow and calm around the house. When training them, you’d need to be confident and assertive.
Akbashes were originally bred in Turkey 3,000 years ago to help protect flocks. They are gentle, independent, and love to be with their human companions.
They can be as tall as 34 inches and weigh up to 140 lbs. However, make sure that they get their daily exercise because Akbashes are prone to weight gain.
Akbashes are also very territorial and may be wary around strangers. Although they’re independent, they also experience separation anxiety when left alone for too long. When socialized early, they get along well with other animals.
5. Anatolian Shepherd
Like the Akbash, the Anatolian Shepherd also originated from Turkey. Farmers bred them to protect livestock and selected their traits to camouflage into the flock they were guarding. Anatolian Shepherds must be trained early on to get acquainted with other animals.
They reach 27 inches in height and 80 lbs in weight, sometimes even more. They have great hearing and eyesight. They’re also able to make their own decisions regarding the protection of their flock.
6. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees are a very precocious and loyal breed. They have various talents, and people use them for shepherding rescue, and therapy. They’re very expressive and know how to communicate their needs. The breed can easily make themselves comfortable in your home.
They can grow as tall as 18-51 inches and reach at least 85 lbs. As they were from the freezing Pyrenees mountains, the breed can withstand extreme temperatures.
The Great Pyrenees are calm and mellow most of the time. But when it comes to protecting their flock, they are all in. They are also very gentle and warm towards animals and children. This makes them one of the best chicken-friendly dog breeds.
Puli is a loyal and insightful dog. They are known for their unique coat that sprouts at 9 months of age. This coat makes them weather-proof and ideal for shepherding duties.
The breed is relatively smaller than the other dogs on this list. They reach up to 16 inches and 35 lbs. But their size doesn’t stop them. They are dedicated and obedient dogs that will guard their flock. Pulis has a lot of energy, so they’re surely up to the task.
They can be strong-willed, so you’d need to learn how to get them to heel. Once you’ve socialized and trained, Pulis won’t be chasing down your chickens.
The Turkey-born Kangal dogs are very friendly and intuitive. They love spending time with humans and exploring open spaces. They are working dogs and so are always eager to help you out with various tasks. Kangals also work best in packs when guarding their flocks.
Kangals can weigh up to a whopping 145 lbs once full-grown. Their large and ferocious builds can scare predators away. In fact, they are even strong enough to go toe-to-toe with wolves! However, they have gentle temperaments too.
9. Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiffs come from a long line of large-breed guardian dogs from the mountains of Spain. Despite their size, they are noble, gentle, and very protective.
The breed can grow up to 220 lbs. This makes them adept at protecting their flock from other predators. They also get along well with animals and smaller children.
Because they are big, you’d need to assert your authority. At the same time, focus more on positive reinforcement and praises when training your Pyrenean Mastiff. They are naturally mellow, so you won’t need to worry about them being aggressive.
10. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are smart and work-oriented dogs. They can expertly herd flocks with their commanding presence.
The breed reaches the height of 20 inches tall and a weight of 65 lbs. What they don’t have in size, they make up for with their intelligence. They may not be that great at guarding chickens, but they make excellent watchdogs. They’re also smart enough to help out with other chores.
Australian Shepherds also need to be occupied with daily tasks. They have a lot of energy, and having nothing to do will cause them to become destructive. Because they are born herders, they may try to herd your chickens. You can prevent this by training your Australian Shepherd.
11. Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdogs are gentle and adaptable dogs. Farmers originally bred them to move cattle from the pasture to the market. But over time, their kind personality made them the ideal household pet.
The breed is 21 inches tall and weighs up to 100 lbs. They are warm and fun-loving, so expect that they’ll be treating your chickens well. Old English Sheepdogs are also very active, so remember to give them tasks or exercise.
One of their most notable features is their thick, shaggy coat. However, their coats require regular grooming and trimming, and they shed a lot.
The Kuvasz is a sweet yet fearless breed. They are alert and wary of strangers all the time, eager to protect their loved ones. The Kuvasz originated from Hungary, where the royal family used them as guard dogs in the Middle Ages.
They grow as tall as 30 inches and weigh up to 115 lbs. They are one of the dog breeds that are good with chickens. This is because being the affectionate but protective guardian is in their DNA. The Kuvasz love it when they are kept busy, so watching over your chickens is the perfect task for them.
Because of their outgoing nature, the Kuvasz don’t do well with being cooped all day indoors. They need large open spaces to play in as well as family time inside the house too.
13. Bichon Frise
Bichon Frises are small, playful, and peppy dogs. They make for great family dogs and are very affectionate towards loved ones. They are also hypoallergenic and non-shedding, making them suited for owners with allergies.
The breed only grows as tall as 11 inches. Despite their small size, they are active dogs who will be able to adjust to farm living. They aren’t really for guarding, but their friendliness makes them the ideal companion of chickens.
Malteses are very charming and gentle dogs. They are another small dog breed that is lively and active. Like the Bichon Frise, their coat is also hypoallergenic.
The breed’s height is only 9 inches, while they weigh up to 7 lbs. It’s recommended that you feed them twice a day. Be careful of their delicate digestive systems.
Unlike other playful dog breeds, the Maltese don’t require much exercise. But it’s still a good idea to walk and socialize often. They also don’t last long in extreme temperatures, especially in damp environments.
15. Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin is a sensitive and fun-loving toy breed. They share a resemblance with the King Charles spaniel, but they have distinct Oriental features.
They only grow up to 11 inches and 11 lbs. Their small size, loyalty, and intelligence make them the perfect dogs for a small backyard farm. Japanese Chins are friendly but can be wary of strangers.
Overall, they are excellent companions who won’t require much maintenance. They’re energetic but won’t be aggressive towards small children or chickens.
16. Polish Tatra Sheepdog
The Polish Tatra is a hardworking and independent sheepdog. Their lineage can be traced back to 14th century Poland, although their exact origin is unknown. Like other mountain herding breeds, Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are wonderful but strong-willed sheepdogs.
They have a large build that reaches up to 28 inches and 130 lbs. They also have a large bark that can scare predators away.
Polish Tatras tend to be serious and aloof. They’re not as playful and high-energy as other dog breeds mentioned here. But you can expect that they will be affectionate and warm towards you.
17. Spanish Mastiff
Spanish Mastiff is a kind and intelligent breed. They can be overprotective and territorial. In case you don’t know, they are happy just to be with you. They are a large and formidable breed capable of defending flocks against predators. They stand at 28-35 inches and can weigh anywhere between 140-200 lbs.
You may need to be firm and assertive in your training. Once properly socialized, Spanish Mastiffs are great playmates for children and smaller animals. They can quickly get attached to their friends and will guard them with their life.
Karakachans are proud and brave shepherd dogs. They once roamed the mountains of Bulgaria protecting their flocks. They are capable of fending for themselves and their wards.
Their height reaches 27 inches, while their weight reaches 100 lbs. Karakachans are strong, alert, and self-sufficient. Because of this, you may need to train your Karakachan to obey your commands. Once trained, they will do their tasks with ease.
19. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a friendly and devoted breed. They are one of the most popular dogs in the country because of their pleasing temperament. They have many talents like hunting, retrieving, and athleticism.
Golden Retrievers are naturally curious and playful. You may need to supervise them around the chickens at first, but you’ll have no worries once they get used to them. You can also easily train them to stay away from your poultry.
Vizslas are energetic and affectionate dogs. They worked as pointers and retrievers alongside hunters before, but they don’t have a high prey drive. The breed stands at 24 inches and weighs up to 60 lbs.
They are also known as “Velcro” dogs because they easily get attached to their humans. Vizslas love doing fun activities and detest being bored and left alone.
Dog Breeds That Are Good With Chickens: FAQ
Now that you know the 20 best dog breeds that are good with chickens, you might have a few questions. Each dog breed differs in its temperament and traits, so it’s good to learn more about them. Let’s get to these questions!
Greyhounds, Weimaraners, Jack Russell Terriers, and Siberian Huskies all have high prey drives. They can be aggressive to chickens. They are known to chase prey like rabbits, so it’s not safe to have these breeds around chickens.
Most of these dog breeds were also bred to be hunters, so their instincts are primed to chase down prey. Any smaller animals like chickens will be seen as targets. It’s always better to look for livestock guardian breeds that are used to interacting with smaller animals. Furthermore, these breeds can also learn to protect your chickens with the proper training.
Yes, dogs and chickens can live together. It’s essential to choose a gentle dog breed with a low prey drive. Additionally, you’d also need to train your dog at first to get them acquainted with chickens.
Training your dogs and chickens can take some time. Start with letting them get used to each other on neutral ground and supervise their early interactions. Once they start getting along, make sure you reward their good behavior.
The chicken poop itself isn’t toxic, but dogs can get Salmonella infection and other diseases from ingesting chicken poop. However, this would depend on whether the chickens are carriers.
Full-blown Salmonella infections in dogs are rare. Besides, they are more likely to be asymptomatic carriers. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Yes, chickens can survive dog bites. They’re surprisingly strong and can withstand injuries. However, the danger would be the possible infection. But chances are relatively low since dog bites are less likely to be infected compared to cat bites.
Yes, dogs can contract diseases like Salmonella, Aspergillosis, and Parvo from chickens. They can get infected by being exposed to bodily fluids like poop.
Not all dogs can cause harm to your chickens at the farm. Some dog breeds have long been guardians and protectors of livestock. They are well-suited to living with chickens, and it’s up to you to choose the right breed! Here’s a rundown of all the factors you should consider when getting a dog for your farm:
- Prey drive – dogs with high prey drive will chase animals.
- Temperament – it’s better to get a kind and gentle breed for farms.
- Size – large breed dogs, can be aggressive to smaller animals.
- Independence – some shepherd dog breeds can be strong-willed
Training will define whether or not your dogs can get along with your chickens. It’s alright if it doesn’t happen at first. You just need time and patience. Surely your dogs will soon be best buds with your poultry.