If you plan to protect livestock on the farm, having working, intelligent dog breeds is a must. Herding dogs are important helpers for grazing cattle and protecting cows, goats, sheep, and chickens from predators.
These dogs know how to protect barns and feed stores from rodents, and some of them will gladly be with you in the field during the day.
A farm dog requires a lot of training, so be patient. Required dog training includes safety, such as avoiding dangerous equipment, establishing territory boundaries, and ensuring proper interaction with the animals and people it works with.
Herding and guard dogs see their work on the farm differently. “Shepherd dogs treat sheep as prey (although they won’t attack them). On the other hand, Watchdogs, who are usually raised with livestock from an early age, see the animals as part of their pack and therefore seek to protect them at all costs.
Most dogs will only be able to excel in one of these activities. However, some breeds can handle both well. Breeds of dogs for a farm that works great and live outside the city are further in the article.
What Tasks Can Farm Dogs Perform?
Farm dogs are varied both in their duties and appearance. Although most people will immediately think of herding dogs – and they do play a vital role on many livestock farms.
These dog breeds drive animals and keep the herd together, preventing the animals from fighting back. They are light, hardy, and agile dogs, able to react and move extremely quickly.
Several breeds have been actively used to carry goods and supplies between points. These are large dogs with sufficient mass and musculature to carry heavy loads.
They protect farm animals from wolves and other predators. Usually, these are large dogs with ferocious characters, not afraid of threats, physically strong, and naturally independent.
Small terriers, playful, and active, play a crucial role in preventing rats, weasels, and other pests from entering the territory.
How To Choose the Perfect Farm Dog
Belonging to the ranch and farm breed doesn’t automatically ensure a dog will be excellent at ranch and farm tasks. Choosing a dog that will execute the tasks you have in your mind isn’t an exact science, however, these key features help expose your perfect working companion for farm life. To become the ultimate farm dog, a dog must have the following features
1. Energetic Dog Breeds
It does not matter if you need a herder or a protector of livestock, you need a dog with sufficient determination and vigor to perform long hours, decline to back down, and travel lengthy miles. In case a dog is energetic enough this can be a good sign that it’s powerful enough to manage the assigned work.
2. Aggressive Dog Breeds
An aggressive dog or a dog that will growl or bark at you is usually a good sign that the dog has grit. This’s particularly significant in working ranch and farm dogs. A canine that is not afraid to run after cattle or chase off a wolf from the farm needs to be fierce.
3. Obedient Dog Breeds
Dogs on your farm or ranch must have urge control. If your farm dog breeds are not obedient then they may harm your cattle instead. So, you need to make sure that the dog breed you are considering for your farm is an obedient one.
Provide proper training to the farm dog to make sure it understands your basic commands and acts according to your commands.
4. Even-Tempered Dog Breeds
There is no place for loose-tempered dogs on farms. Since a farm or ranch is a business, as well as a four-legged helper, should make your life more comfortable instead of making it harder, you need to have an even-tempered dog breed for your farm.
5. Athletic Dog Breeds
Even if your farm dog must monitor sheep in a field, the farm dog should have the capability to carry out its job quickly at a moment’s notice. Thus, you need to have an athletic dog breed for your farm.
6. Confident Dog Breeds
Farm dogs need to act independently as well as should have enough confidence to carry themselves with a purpose to get the desired plan, whether it is herding cattle or protecting your flock. So, it is important to make sure that the dog breed is confident enough.
Dog Breeds to Avoid
Not all dog breeds originated to work in the field and guard cattle and sheep. Thus, there are a few particular dog breeds that you must avoid as your farm dog breeds. For example, The Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Coton de Tulear, and Maltese. These dogs are companion dogs and thus they can’t perform the task of a farm dog.
List Of Top 12 Best Dog Breeds For Farmers
Not all breeds are made for farming work. Farm dogs must have health, stamina, excitement, and quick wits. A strong nervous system, independence, and specialized working qualities are also needed. A guard dog may not be as fast as a shepherd, but it needs courage and strength to fend off predators or thieves.
Therefore, if you are looking for a farm dog, first of all, find a breeder who specializes in this breed and cultivates working qualities in it. To make sure the dog comes from a working line and not a show line, you can ask the breeder to show the puppy’s parents’ work in the field.
And some particular dog breeds originated mainly for guarding purposes. Make sure you adopt one such dog for your farm work.
So, here are the top 12 best farm dog breeds you can buy. See the most intelligent dog breeds to guard your farm:
1. Anatolian Shepherd
The Anatolian Shepherds are dedicated protectors with imposing strength, presence, and size. These large dogs have historically worked as guardians of cattle, sheep and also other livestock on farms.
They are loyal and intelligent with a firm sense of commitment and a longing to protect cattle. With proper training and leadership, these dog breeds serve as helpful guard dog breeds and great family members.
2. Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as “heelers”. They are a strong staple for livestock handlers and owners. These dog breeds are compact as well as built for a difficult day’s work around your farm or out on a summer range.
These dogs have strong herding instincts as well as are familiar with their capability to quickly squeeze the heels of livestock. They are very dedicated and just as helpful to take an action in the field as they are to herding cattle.
3. Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd or Aussie is the farmer’s right hand on the field. They were bred to work with the herd and quickly hone their skills in working with various farm animals. These are strong, tireless, and at the same time, intelligent dog breeds that tirelessly drive cattle.
Aussies are fun-loving and great companions, making them great family dogs in their spare time. As with any other herding dog breed, they will try to herd your cow and sheep. Aussies are very intelligent and sensitive.
4. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is the cutest and kindest breed on our list. The roots of the Mountain Dog go straight to the farm, as it has been a versatile working dog from the very beginning, driving cattle, guarding property, and pulling carts.
The coarse coat of this rural dog is also excellent in weather resistance. This dog is also incredible at home. This is one of the best family dogs with a huge kind heart, a patient nanny dog, and an incredible empath.
However, the Mountain Dog needs early obedience training so you can control it before it grows too big.
5. The Great Pyrenees
These are time-tested large breed shepherd dogs, whose height at the withers reaches 70-80 cm. They can be considered livestock guard dogs, because they zealously protect small and more vulnerable wards, including members of their owners’ families, without showing any aggression towards them.
You can safely trust this beautiful and majestic dog. The great Pyrenees are reserved but always alert. This makes them excellent country companions.
Since the breed is not always an accurate predictor of a dog’s temperament, it’s a good idea to socialize a puppy for a bit before bringing him home.
6. Maremma Sheepdog
This gives the Maremma an edge over predators or thieves who don’t notice the dog until it’s too late. The thick coat also protects the dog from the weather and makes it possible to keep it outdoors – of course, with the presence of a warm shelter.
The Maremma is sweet with its family but shuns strangers and this makes it an excellent watchdog. The dog needs early socialization and training to avoid problems later in life.
7. German Shepherd
Originally bred for herding livestock, the German Shepherd can both herd livestock and protect it, as it is athletic and bold. The trainability of these dogs is excellent and, like any good farm breed, the Shepherd is always eager to please its master.
The German Shepherd is also great as a family dog and is happy to spend time with its family. The dog must be socialized from childhood to avoid excessive aggression toward strangers. Training is also essential to curb the temperament of this energetic dog.
8. Dutch Shepherd
This dig breed is a close family of German Shepherd dog breeds. They are extremely loyal, smart, alert, versatile, and independent. This dog breed was originally bred over centuries to keep livestock far away from crops and roads.
It even can guard the farm and pull carts if needed. Weighing between 45-75 pounds, these Dutch Shepherd dogs come in 3 different variations: long-haired, rough-haired, and short-haired versions.
All of these versions have a lovely brindle coat along with silver or golden fur mixed in. They are slightly more effortless to train as compared to German Shepherd dogs. However, they’re very intelligent, active dogs who need a lot of mental stimulation and exercise.
9. Jack Russell Terriers
The Jack Russell Terrier is a sweet little dog with extraordinary abilities. Originally bred to hunt rats and other rodents, the Jack Russell Terrier is just as important on the farm as the larger breeds.
The dog has endless energy in tracking prey. Jack Russell Terrier will replace 10 cats for you, and your vaults will be safe.
But despite being a working dog breed, the Jack Russell Terrier needs to live indoors, as it can get hurt by the cold and bad weather, as well as larger predators if they stray onto the farm.
10. Border Collie
As one of the most popular farm dog breeds, the Border Collie has an extremely responsible attitude to work and is an ideal herding breed. Roman herding dogs were initially bred with regional dogs and ultimately became the Collie. It is also known as Rough and Smooth Collie.
These intelligent dogs have been specially bred to learn to think for themselves in the process of caring for and protecting livestock. In the field, their handlers may not be around, so they must make their own decisions.
In addition, well-trained Border Collies want to please their owners and will do as they are told, even when they are several hundred meters away.” Due to their sharp mind, these dogs are easy to train.
11. Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Brave, strong, and ferocious to the enemies of the beast. The instincts of the Caucasian make it not only an excellent livestock guard but also one of the best ranch dogs to keep on a farm.
Its thick coat is well suited to cold climates, and its loyalty to the herd will ensure that the livestock is protected from strangers and predators. This breed belongs to the aboriginal, such dogs often make independent decisions and are less dependent on human participation.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog needs an experienced owner, as its stubbornness and strength are not for first-time dog owners. Early training and socialization are essential to prevent possible aggression in these working dogs.
In addition, it will be necessary to introduce the Caucasian to each of the new visitors to the farm, not forgetting the dog’s attitude towards strangers.
12. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
These popular farm dogs are small but powerful. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog may not be the best breed for a sturdy herding dog breed but these small-sized dogs are bred to perform well.
From sheep to cows, these canines are quick and agile despite their small size. As soon as the work is accomplished these canines are excellent companion dogs and family dogs with protective and loving nature.
Although these dogs are smaller than most herding dogs they are not to get avoided when it comes to finding popular herding dogs,
It is essential to mention that different ranch jobs need different strengths, so you need to choose the best breed as per your requirement.
Carefully choose a breed from our list that has the aptitudes and skills to meet your requirements on the field!
All of these 12 dog breeds are among the best herding breeds for your farm and ranch.