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Need help picking a farm dog!

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  • Need help picking a farm dog!

    I live on 5 acres in a rural area that was overrun with flippers a year or so ago. 5-10 acre lots were subdivided into postage stamps, mobile homes were planted like weeds and RE speculators had dreams of overnight big profit sales.

    So, reality dawns and all of a sudden I live in the midst of a bunch of rural property rentals... you'd be amazed what that attracts. Hence the need for a working farm guard dog.

    I'm looking for a breed of dog that would be protective of the horses and property, friendly to the cats (introduction in puppyhood is fine), not an avid barker / yapper and not a go to ground dog. With just 5 acres, dog pits can get out of control pretty fast. Preferably short haired as we are in florida. Also, nothing flat out dangerous. I am looking for a breed that will deter, not kill... that's what the shotgun is for.

    Talent for agility would be a great addition, though anything that can do the job and graciously get spoiled to death would work. Any suggestions?
    www.hawkstracefarm.com Home of Doodles, Gabby, and Maggie, and resting place of Lexi the wonder horse!

  • #2
    Rottweiler...they are protective of their property, herders by nature, love to have a job. They also ADORE being spoiled by 'their people"
    My girl is amazing, nothing fazes her, she's accepting of everything and anything out of the ordinary with just a simple word from me and has a great sense of judgement when it comes to people. She's instinctive and careful but can be stubborn (as all Rotties can be). Good luck with your decision.


    • #3
      I was going to recommend a Rottie as well. Wonderful dogs!


      • #4
        Originally posted by Carrera View Post
        I was going to recommend a Rottie as well. Wonderful dogs!
        Aren't they though? I'm a SUCKER for them!!!!!


        • #5
          I would say Rotties too, just because of their herding background, I would assume they would be a better choice with livestock than say, a mastiff or bulldog type (bred to take down the livestock). I would have suggested GSDs as well, except for the hair.

          I suggest finding a good working breeder, as working bred dogs have much more stable temperaments (a lot of BYB guard dogs have fear issues) and much much sounder bodies. And make sure they do all their health certs, Rotties are prone to some health problems.

          Also, I know lots of people will say that guard dogs need to be intact to do their job, but thats not true. If you are letting the dog out to patrol, an intact dog is just an accident waiting to happen (in terms of breeding, not attacking). A dog with drive and work ethic will always have that, testosterone or not! And only good training will bring it out and allow you to control that drive.


          • #6

            These guys need homes !
            Last edited by Equibrit; Dec. 11, 2008, 11:16 AM.
            ... _. ._ .._. .._


            • #7
              Australian Cattle Dogs are awesome. Small, herding type and great with agility. Very protective and love to have a job.
              Proud Mama of a BOY rider


              • #8
                I was in the same sort of situation as you, I have 5 acres, live by myself and thankfully it's in a nice town/area but you just never know!

                I tried to adopt a dog from my SPCA and it was seriously harder than adopting a child! They wouldn't give me the dog i wanted because I had a cat (house cat) and this dog didn't pass the "cat test". I asked if it attacked the cat and then said no, it just didn't "back down fast enough" ... not many dogs I know that just meet a cat cower in fear!

                Anyway! Thankfully for me my county also has an Animal Control and they had so many dogs to choose from.. and these dogs really needed homes (the SPCA is no kill). I narrowed it down to a Rottie and an American Bull Dog mix. The Rottie was super sweat but he was a male (which I didn't really want) and had been returned twice... that made me sort of nervous!

                I ended up getting the mutt and she's the most amazing dog ever! She was abused and was soo skinny and had an embedded collar but she came around fast and is the best farm dog ever!

                http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                • #9
                  We have a "pound puppy" female, short hair about 60 pounds, the vet thinks she is a rhodesian ridgeback cross of some sort (the locals have called her a "yellow cur dog"), and she is very protective of our property.

                  She belongs to my in-laws who live with us on a 10 acre mini-farm in Florida. They got her from the pound when they lived in South Florida.

                  However, because she was not raised with horses, she does tend to bark at them from time to time, at first, she was constantly jumping at the fence as if to try to jump over to get them. Now she is better. She only barks if someone comes on the property. She does act very fierce with strangers, and we do know that she will bite strangers also.

                  She has been great with the puppies that we got last year, and I think she might be okay with cats, but not really sure.

                  So, you might consider going to the shelter and saving a dog, if you tell them what you are looking for they should be able to help.

                  Actually, she looks a bit like the dogs in the links below, but with smaller ears:


                  Actually, she is a thinner version of this dog:

                  There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                  • #10
                    I would also look into Australian Shepherds. I just got one in Sept when she was seven weeks old, she's almost 5 months now. When we're ready for another dog, I will look at Aussies again in a heartbeat!

                    She's the smartest puppy I have ever owned. She pretty much potty trained herself, she had maybe one accident. She slept through the night right away. When she gets tired, she will put herself to sleep. She is great in and around the barn, extremely loyal and SO cute!!

                    Of course we got her and took her right to the barn. So here is a picture of Hunter!



                    oh and we have three cats and she's really good with them too


                    • #11
                      Another resource to do breed research can be found on PetFinder:

                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                      • #12
                        Australian Shepherd OR Border Collie! SMART SMART SMART dogs!!!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sddlbrdgrl View Post
                          Australian Shepherd OR Border Collie! SMART SMART SMART dogs!!!
                          Not so much guard dogs, and kind of hairy for Florida though.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
                            We have a "pound puppy" female, short hair about 60 pounds, the vet thinks she is a rhodesian ridgeback cross of some sort (the locals have called her a "yellow cur dog"), and she is very protective of our property.
                            I have two Ridgebacks, and they are wonderful, wonderful dogs.

                            They are also incredibly difficult puppies. Puppyhood can last 3-4 years.

                            For horse people, I use this analogy: if you can put manners on a rank stud horse, you can probably raise a Ridgeback.

                            Baby Ridgebacks require VERY definite, clear rules that are ALWAYS the same. If you waver, or let them get away with something, you are SCREWED. They are absolutely single person dogs and have a very difficult time if the rules are different between different people or if they belong to more than one person. They are sight and scent hounds and will follow their eyes and their nose.

                            Ridgebacks have a bad reputation for being aggressive or being fear biters. It is incredibly important to find a top-notch breeder and for YOU to be the biggest dog in the house. Ridgebacks will absolutely take the alpha position if you don't.

                            My Ridgebacks are awesome. It took a lot of work on my part to get there. It's absolutely worth it, and my dogs are incredibly loyal and amazing companions, but it's still a lot of work. If you can't put that work into them, or if you can't be 100% consistent, or if you want a "family" dog, this is not a good breed for you.


                            • #15
                              English shepherd

                              They are not called Farm collies for nothing.

                              Really one of the best dogs out there. Protective of their people and property, smart, good with livestock and horses, loyal, good varmit hunters......

                              From the English shepherd site
                              "The English shepherd is not obsessive about herding and is capable of resting quietly at his master's feet when there is no work required. He can be trusted to not bother livestock and does not require kenneling when chores are done. Indeed, the English shepherd frequently develops a bond with, and displays a nurturing attitude toward, his owner's livestock and will keep them in their place while guarding against unwanted predators and pests. "

                              I have one that is almost 2. He amazes me with how smart and eager to please he is. His mother does agility so we are going to start that in the spring. I am super impressed with this breed. I also have a perfect mixed breed and an over protective lab who will chase people back into their cars if they are not announced . But for farm stuff the ES is worth looking into.

                              Here is a picture of mine.
                              "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."



                              • #16
                                Rotties get me vote as well.
                                For a moment there, you bored me to death


                                • #17
                                  Rotties! or Dobbies! both are the best!


                                  • #18
                                    I would suggest looking into a Great Dane in addition to some of the other breeds mentioned. I currently have a 7 month old pup who is my second Dane. Both have been protective of me and our home, have had limited exposure to horses but have no shown any inclination to chase or otherwise misbehave, neither cared a bit about cats one way or the other.

                                    Some Danes can be timid but a good breeder should be able to differentiate the timid pups from the more outgoing. My first Dane was more timid but my new pup is very dominant. At 7 months old his bark already intimidates as does his size. I live in an apartment complex where there are some questionable neighbors, and he has already been helpful. For example I was walking him late at night recently and when he heard voices coming around the corner he very purposefully stepped in front of me and barked three times paused and repeated the three barks twice more. I was rather impressed with his initiative and that when I quietly asked him to hush he listened.

                                    Great Danes are truly wonderful dogs and I highly recommend them. (Of course due to their size and quick growth they do require some special care but totally worth it!)


                                    • #19
                                      Chesapeake Bay Retriever. There are some good rescues, as well as lots of good breeders for you to choose from.


                                      • #20
                                        We have a catahoula leopard dog and she is almost too protective of our property but in general a very good dog. Mellow, not smart enough or motivated enough to cause trouble, not destructive, herding bred so manageable around livestock, bark-y and growly enough to deter anyone but not a biter. Likes going places and doing stuff but will happily stay home all day and sleep if that's what's on the schedule. Also happy to be an only dog, which my previous hounds were most definitely not.

                                        They are interesting dogs. A bit weird and very brave and strong willed but ours is very easy to live with. She has very little hair and barely sheds, which is nice except that it snows here and she freezes!

                                        She also did not pass the "cat test" at the pound but it turns out that while she will chase them if they run, she will also let cats crawl all over her and claw her to bits and not show one bit of aggression. I am more worried about her losing an eye by being overly-friendly than any cats being harmed.