Best farm dog breed

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jennatis's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 13/03/2016 - 2:31pm
Best farm dog breed

Happy Easter everyone!


I know there is probably not one definitive answer.....we are in the process of purchasing a 5 acre property on the mid North Coast. We would like a dog. We couldn't have one in Sydney as the yard is too small and we were spending too much time away from the house.


Now, we would like to get a dog and will have chooks and other livestock. I like staffys and my partner likes german shepherds. I don't think either of them will be suitable as farm dogs unless they are really well trained. We thought either a kelpie or a border collie although we think short haired would be better and easier to care for and check for ticks.


Any thoughts?




barb's picture
Last seen: 1 month 4 weeks ago
Joined: 23/11/2011 - 9:38am

Hi Jennatis,

Well, I'm probably a bit prejudiced as I have two Border Collies. One of them has no interest in chooks, the other one would spend his whole life rounding them up and putting them back in the pen,if I let him. Kelpies are a very intelligent dog too, with the bonus of a short coat. However, as both these breeds are working dogs, they do need to be trained. Hope this has helped a little.


cheers and I hope you enjoy your new life style,



jennatis's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 13/03/2016 - 2:31pm

Thanks Barb,

I think it is preference. I'm hoping we will know when we find him!


microfarm's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 11/05/2016 - 12:02pm

Hi Jennatis,


I have been doing the same thing as you. Researching best breed for a small farm with chooks and livestock. Before I launch into what breeds I am thinking of, I just want to tell you that I have seen what happens when dogs are puchased because the owner liked the look of them and did not take into account the situation that the dog was to live in. Point in case a Malamut and a blue cattle dog on a small holding. The Malamut killed everything and the blue cattle dog bit and chased and attacked everything. Not saying it was the breeds fault, what I am saying is combined with a dopey owner their natural tendancies ended up problematic. What I thought was really sad, was these poor animals were always "bad dog". They could never be "good dog" because they spent their entire existance in trouble. Asking a Blue Heeler not to heel is liking asking a fish to fly, it's just not fair. OK rant over.

I am considering more of the guard breeds without much chase in them. I was thinking German Shepherd as well. I have owned Dobermans, beautiful dogs but they tend to take the weight of the world on their shoulders and they think they are responsible for everything! I am looking after my mothers Lhasa Apso at the moment, and when you get over how cute they are, he has impressed me with his guarding type behaviour with very little chase in him, very intelligent too. But might not suit you due to length of hair.They were bred as temple guard dogs so it makes sense. I was thinking about Marema but apparantly they are a little like Malamutes for trainability which suffice to say is very specialised. The other breed I have heard about (but have not had anything to do with) is an Australian Shepherd, these dogs are bred in America, and are not related to Kelpies (best dog I have ever owned but I did not have her with other livestock) or Cattle dogs. I have heard that there is very little chase in this breed and I am waiting for more info from someone who owns one and has chickens. I currently have a terrier cross and love her to bits but to see her go after a rat or a mouse you know she means business.  I am thinking she wont be any good with chickens. She is very old now so she will just be a house dog on the farm but I don't think I would get another one. Anyhow look into Australian Shepards and tell me if you find any info.                                                       

jennatis's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 13/03/2016 - 2:31pm

Hi Microfarm,


Thank you for your thoughful answer.


I haven't heard of Australian Shepards. Worth looking into.


Unfortunately, the property we are interested in fell through. I am going up there next week for a week to have a look around and look at other properties.




CastleGrove's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 22/07/2016 - 12:06pm

What do you want the dog to do? That's the question, if nothing then it's just like buying a dog for a house in the suburbs. Collies, kelpies and heelers are the serious working farm dogs but if you don't have real herding work for them, they get bored, and when they get bored they get annoying and cause problems. Maybe a big dopey bullmastiff or something would be better, will be happy to just sit around and guard your 5 acres, something like a maremma would be even more dilligent guarding your chooks but can be a pain with the wooly fur and ticks. And/or maybe a terrier to kill rats and mice.


Don't need to rush out and get a serious working dog just because you have 5 acres. I'll soon have between 200 and 350 acres and 30-40 odd cattle and I'm tossing up whether I realistically need a serious working dog just to move the cattle between paddocks every now and then. Can probably get away with getting one or not getting one, but 5 acres is just a big yard. A staffy or gsd would be fine.

OzSledge's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/02/2018 - 9:54am

We have 2 dogs.

Heidi, German Shepherd. Didn't take long to realise the Shepherd part of the name is literal. Not at all like a kelpie of border collie. Heidi will just walk out and sit on a hill and watch the sheep. If one wanders away she goes and herds it back to the flock then sits on the hill and watches. Great with lambs too protects them like they are her own. Picks them up and moves them back to flock and stressess if the lambs are distressed.

George, Ridgeback. Sleeps for about 23 hours a day, once he learned (mainly from Heidi) he was not allowed to to hunt the sheep (and now cows) he's cool with all the animals. Likes to socialise with them when he's not sleeping and just generally hang out. He likes bourbon and beer and his favorite thing to do is sleep on the veranda or go for a walk/run. He is very protective of his cows chickens and sheep and strangers are not allowed near them. He will stand between them and strangers and just stare at them.. George is the perfect farm dog sleeps or hangs out with Liz or myself, likes a drink or 3. As long as he dosn't figure out Cows are made of steak I think we'll be good.

greggy's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/10/2017 - 2:38am

Poodle, or to be exact...plural.

Very smart, easy to train, but do tend to be like terriers, but small poodles really can't hurt much.

One we have is very active and will take on the world, the other thinks it is human so not interested in anything but people, the active one needed some experience with livestock, a few headbutts from the goats had that sorted, and now ignores all animals and chooks etc, except for any that get into the house yard or any person or dogs that pass our fenceline, in other words, near perfect.

Do not get a breed that is well known for killing or chasing livestock, cause if you do and it like also to escape, you will be hated and it is likely to be shot, sometimes people think that there lovely labrador etc is so friendly it can be allowed to just wander around, or the stupid owner of cougo the rottweiler that would not hurt a fly. Your dog can be shot if going onto others property causing problems.

So stop and think before you get a dog, they can be a real nuisance in rural areas, also any dog that barks constantly at nothing for no reason for half the night, sound travels a long way in many places.

Ironically, I think the staffordshire terrier would probably be ok if you get it young and it mixes with all the animals you have, but do not underestimate what they can do if get one that is aggressive or decides to kill, but they tend to want to stay home and lay about. But they are strong dogs with a killer instinct & not afraid to take on pretty much anything. Get the wrong one and you would have to get rid of it.

You do not need a working dog on 5 acres, it probably would go loopy, too active and not enough to do. So get one that will be a family pet, leave animals alone, and alert you when anyone is around or anything unusual.

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