Chickens bring pure satisfaction to all farm owners—from fresh eggs to fresh meat and even cherished pets. But, unfortunately, most farm owners have trouble keeping their poultry safe from common predators. Did you know that a dog can be your perfect solution?
Purebred livestock guard dogs with a low prey drive are the perfect farm dogs for chickens. The Akbash, Anatolian Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz, Komondor, Maremma Sheepdog, Old English Sheepdog, and the Spanish Mastiff are the eight best farm dogs for chickens.
Various dogs have a low prey drive and are bred to have an instinctual habit of protecting livestock, including chickens. So let’s have a look at the top 8 farm dogs for chickens.
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The 8 Best Farm Dog Breeds For Chickens
If you’re going to raise chickens on your farm, a dog will do just the trick to protect your hens from dangerous, roaming predators.
First, however, you’ll need a dog breed suitable for a farm, with a low prey drive and chicken friendliness. These dog breeds are dubbed as “livestock guard dogs.”
Note: No matter what type of dog you choose, proper training is essential to improve your dog’s herding instincts before introducing a canine to your chickens.
Here are our eight best farm dogs for chickens.
The Akbash is a sizable, rare Turkish breed bred explicitly for livestock protection. These pups are alert, highly intelligent, excellent watchdogs, and incredibly loyal – some of the best qualities you could hope for!
Irrespective of their large frames, Akbash dogs are very gentle, loving, and affectionate canines.
They aren’t at all hesitant to protect their family and livestock when threatened. However, they tend to have a low prey drive, making them ideal farm dogs for protecting chickens.
The Akbash has a uniformly white double coat and a lean, muscular build with an arched loin.
These large pups are better suited for larger homes with yards or farm life where they have plenty of space to roam around.
The Akbash breed tends to live 10 to 11 years like most large dog breeds.
Most Akbash dogs weigh in at 80 to 140 pounds and range in height from 28 to 34 inches at the shoulder.
The Akbash is a gentle dog, bred with strong guarding instincts, making them very protective of their families and flocks.
Akbash dogs do not have an explosion of energy, but they are quick to act when they sense danger.
Akbash dogs love to be around family and are great with children, but are fiercely independent and need early socialization if they live with other pets at home.
They require a consistent owner, and a little patience will go a long way as they are slightly aggressive during training.
The Akbash also tends to be aloof of strangers and will raise a quick barking alarm to guard those they consider family.
It’s recommended to get an Akbash as a puppy for best results.
2. Anatolian Shepherd
The Anatolian Shepherd is also a rare native of Turkey and definitely still a point of pride! They were commonly bred as a shepherd’s companion and livestock guardian.
The Anatolian Shepherd does not require training to protect your chicken flock. They are naturally strong, fast, and highly intelligent livestock guard dogs that easily outrun ground predators.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a rugged, large, impressive dog breed, with broad, muscular shoulders and strong, bold heads.
They usually have short, fawn double coats and black masks, but their coats also feature white, pinto, and brindle colors.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a lone wolf who prefers to do the guarding work alone. They are highly trainable, yet just as stubborn!
They are extremely possessive and protective – it’s important to note that the Anatolian Shepherd does not make a good home guard dog as they are very temperamental.
The Anatolian Shepherd can live between 10 to 13 years.
The Anatolian Shepherd male dogs frequently weigh in at 120 to 150 pounds and stand 29 inches tall at maturity. In comparison, females weigh in at 80 to 120 pounds and stand 27 inches tall at maturity.
Novice pet parents need to beware of an Anatolian Shepherd dog. They are generally known to be stubborn and require firm, consistent trainers with previous training experience. In addition, untrained and un-socialized Anatolian Shepherds can become aggressive, overprotective, and even uncontrollable.
Therefore, socialization and behavior training should start as early on as possible, ideally in puppyhood. As stubborn as they are, a properly trained and well-socialized Anatolian Shepherd is a life-long friend and guardian for those they consider to be their “flock,” including humans.
However, an Anatolian Shepherd is quite suspicious of strangers and reserved with those outside their “flock.”
So, if you are willing to stay firm with training, and to put in the effort, time, and dedication to training this large pooch, an Anatolian Shepherd dog will be a perfect fit for you and your chickens.
3. The Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees breed originated from the gigantic flock guardian dogs of Asia Minor, where nomadic shepherds took their flock and guard dogs to the Pyrenees Mountains.
Intelligent and kind, the Great Pyrenees is a sound, well-coordinated dog breed initially bred to guard flock alongside shepherds. Nowadays, they are adored house pets used to protect chickens and work with people, often in therapy.
The Great Pyrenees is an exquisite combination of size, elegance, and beauty! They are gigantic dogs with a muscular build, beautiful, thick, white, double coats, and plume tails. They can also have markings that can be tan, gray, or reddish-brown.
The Great Pyrenees has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
Their intelligence and steady temperament make them excellent family dogs!
Great Pyrenees male dogs weigh 100 to 160 pounds and average 27 to 32 inches tall at maturity. In comparison, females weigh 85 to 115 pounds and stand 25 to 29 inches tall at maturity.
The Great Pyrenees’ goal in life is to protect anything and everything from sheep to goats and chickens, owners and children, your yard and its flowers, from any actual or imaginary intruders and predators.
Training the Great Pyrenees takes lots of patience, consistency, positive reinforcement, and early socialization- They are definitely worth it, though!
They are docile, devoted, and protective pups with a fantastic ability to determine friend from foe.
Side note: if you’re noise-sensitive, a Great Pyrenees might not be the dog for you. They are vocal pups with extraordinary senses that loudly ward off any intruders.
Great Pyrenees dogs are social, active, hardworking dogs with the sweetest disposition. They get along very well with children and other pets.
To conclude, the Great Pyrenees is a gentle, affectionate, and hardworking breed that will be a perfect farm dog for your chickens.
The Kuvasz is a large, purebred white livestock guard dog from Hungary.
Their beautiful white coat has contributed to the breed’s popularity as a “fashion dog.” However, the true reason that they were bred with white coats was to help shepherds distinguish their dogs from wolves.
They are a one-family dog; they’re sensitive and protective pups that are suspicious of strangers. Dogs of this breed think for themselves and can be challenging to train.
They are also not as heavily built as most livestock guard dogs. Still, they have wonderful, loving personalities and low prey drive, making them a perfect addition to protect your farm chickens.
The Kuvasz is an eye-catching breed with sturdy frames and great endurance abilities. It has an odorless, dense double coat, generally white fur, dark skin pigmentation, and a black nose.
A Kuvasz tends to move with a powerful, graceful stride. Their gait allows them to trot for up to 15 miles or more without tiring.
These pups are very sensitive to praise and blame and are devoted to protecting their family, whether human or chicken.
The Kuvasz is an intelligent dog often described as having a clownish sense of humor.
Kuvasz has an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
Kuvasz male dogs weigh 100 to 115 pounds and are an average of 28 to 30 inches tall. In comparison, females weigh 70 to 90 pounds and stand 26 to 28 inches tall.
Kuvasz dogs are extremely intelligent canines, but they are fiercely independent, strong-willed, and difficult to train. It is imperative to properly train and socialize your Kuvasz at an early age!
Kuvasz dogs are active and need a large yard, making them ideal for farms. In true working spirit, they are loyal, protective, and love having a job, whether it’s watching over your hens or children.
In addition, they’re typically gentle, making them ideal farm dogs for your chickens.
The Komondor, also know as the Hungarian sheepdog, is a purebred canine native to Hungry. These large, ‘white-dreadlocked’ pups have a long and noble heritage as flock guarders.
They still retain their protective and robust instinct today and will not hesitate to defend their flock and family with their life.
The Komondor is a confident, self-reliant dog with long, firm legs, a short back, and a corded, matted coat. But, quite frankly, if we’re honest- they look like a mop on four legs!
Komondors are affectionate, intelligent, and eager to please. And, because of their protective instincts, they can make perfect watchdogs, barking whenever anything is amiss.
Komondor males weigh between 110 and 132 pounds and stand 27.5 inches tall, whereas females weigh 88 to 110 pounds and stand 25.5 inches tall.
Due to their protective instincts and suspicion of strangers, the Komondor is not suited for an inexperienced owner.
The Komondor needs plenty of socialization from an early age; you’ll also have to be careful around other dogs as they tend to be aggressive with unfamiliar dogs.
Despite their aggression towards other dogs, the Komondor gets along perfectly with cats and livestock.
The Komondor is a demanding, large dog that most families struggle to meet the demands of. However, if you are looking for a loyal dog that will fiercely protect your chickens, a Komondor would be the way to go.
6. Maremma Sheepdog
The Maremma Sheepdog is a purebred canine native to Central Italy (rare in the U.S.).
In the 1970s, government agencies began deploying Maremma Sheepdogs in areas where they wanted to naturally protect livestock and wildlife populations from predators, using non-chemical means.
Maremmas were bred for the express purpose of guarding livestock.
They are independent thinkers and are quick to solve problems on their own.
Maremma Sheepdogs are mainly pure white or cream, but some variation of shading is allowed. They have long, thick, and coarse coats.
Maremma Sheepdogs are large canines. Males tend to weigh 77 to 100 pounds and range from 25.5 to 28.5 inches tall. Females weigh 66 to 88 pounds and range from 25.5 to 26.75 inches tall.
Maremma Sheepdogs are loyal, independent, and active dogs that do best when allowed lots of roaming space.
Early training and socialization definitely help Maremma Sheepdogs adapt to your house and family. But keep in mind that they are independent thinkers and are known to thrive with children within their own family. However, they do not do well with other kids or strangers.
It’s a good idea to have a space to confine your Maremma when expecting company.
Investing in one of these will allow your chickens to roam around freely.
7. Old English Sheepdog
Descending from Europe, the Old English Sheepdog is easy to spot! These purebred dogs have shaggy coats and belong to the herding dog group.
They emerged from early herding dog breeds in England, where they historically helped farmers drive sheep and cattle to market.
The Old English Sheepdog is a drover dog known for stamina, steadiness, and courage, making them excellent chicken flock protectors.
Old English Sheepdogs tend to steal the show thanks to their adorable, messy hairdos. Underneath their shaggy, double coats, these dogs are all muscle.
Their coats are commonly white with gray markings; however, some show grizzle, merle, and shades of blue coloring.
They have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
Old English Sheepdogs generally weigh 60 to 100 pounds. Males grow up to 22 inches tall, and females grow to 21 inches tall.
Old English Sheepdogs are obedient, playful, and friendly pups. They get along well with kids and other pets as long as they are given proper socialization and training during puppyhood.
An Old English Sheepdog is alert and responsive, making them relatively easy to train. However, they are independent thinkers who need a firm and consistent leader to train them. Early training and desensitization will ensure that your Old English Sheepdog is safe for chickens.
Old English Sheepdogs have a friendly demeanor but can be protective when necessary. Whether you desire a farm dog for your chickens or a family pet, you can’t go wrong with an Old English Sheepdog!
8. Spanish Mastiff
The Spanish Mastiff is a giant, purebred working guard dog, originally from Spain, and well known for its kind, warm nature, and history of serving as a guardian dog for sheep and livestock.
The Spanish Mastiff has a large, strong head with a very alert expression. They have a build large enough to ward off any predators.
They are very active dogs, ideal for protecting your farm chickens in open spaces like your farm!
They have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
Male Spanish Mastiffs typically weigh a whopping 140 to 220 pounds and grow 30 to 35 inches tall. Females weigh 140 to 150 pounds and grow between 28 to 35 inches tall.
Spanish Mastiffs have an independent personality and will often do exactly as they please. So, training can pose a challenge to new owners.
These sturdy pups love children and are very protective of them, but they are territorial by nature and typically don’t enjoy other dogs. They are best kept as solo pets.
Spanish Mastiffs have an aloof and composed temperament. They are protective, loving, and calm, and these gentle giants have become popular guard dog breeds and family pets alike.
Once properly trained, the Spanish Mastiff will thrive in protecting your chickens, children, and home.
Finding an ideal farm dog for chickens takes a lot of thought. We hope that our list of the 8 best farm dogs for chickens will make your choice a whole lot easier.
Remember to choose a well-trained dog, or even better, train your puppy from a young age.
Enjoy your new best friend and fierce protector.