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Farm Dogs

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Discussing What It Truly Means To Be A Farm Dog

We’ve all heard the term “farm dog” before. But, what does it truly mean? The simple answer would be a dog that lives on a farm. But, it’s a little more complicated than that. Living on a farm is not glamorous and it requires a great deal of effort and work. This applies to both the people and the animals living on any given farm. This article will go in depth about what it means to be a farm dog, the responsibilities that come with being a farm dog, what breeds are best suited to be farm dogs, and overall what makes farm dogs so great!

Herding Dogs

When it comes to living on a farm, you have to earn your keep. Dogs are no exception. There are many responsibilities when it comes to being a farm dog besides being man’s best friend. The two main responsibilities of farm dogs can be broken down into two categories; herding dog and guard dog. According to the American Kennel Club, a herding dog is a type of dog that has been trained in herding or belongs to breeds that have been developed for the purpose of herding. Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group, maintaining the group, and moving the group from place to place. Herding dogs are especially useful on farms when it comes to managing livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens. Livestock are a valuable investment to most farms, so keeping them together, organized, and safe is absolutely essential. This is why having a good herding dog is so important as they are the “ringleaders” of the livestock that keep everything in order. 

Guard Dogs

Aside from being a herding dog, the other important role a farm dog fulfills is that of a guard dog or livestock guardian dog. A livestock guardian dog specializes in the protection of small farm animals. Whether it’s a dairy farm, poultry farm, pastoral farm, etc, most farms have some form of livestock  Regardless of what types of livestock a farm has, there is almost always a need for farm dogs to protect and watch over the farm animals. Farm and/or ranch animals are always at risk of being attacked and/or eaten by natural predators such as foxes, coyotes, wolves, badgers, and bears. While the larger farm animals such as horses and cattle can typically fend off predators on their own, the smaller farm animals like chickens and sheep are less equipped to deal with predators. This is where guardian dogs come in as they are essential for keeping these smaller farm animals safe from natural predators. While a dog versus a bear doesn’t sound like a very fair fight, the very presence of a guardian dog is enough to ward off most predators. Dogs have incredible hearing and can often sense a danger coming from miles away. Even if a farm dog is outmatched against a predator, they can still alert the people on the farm of any potential threat to their livestock. 

Best Breeds For Farm Dogs

While it’s true that any dog can technically be a farm dog, some breeds of dogs are more suited for the job than others. Human beings have been breeding dogs for thousands of years, each one for a specific purpose. Every breed of dog has a variety of different physical characteristics and traits that leans towards their intended purpose. Essentially, today’s dogs are instinctively good at whatever they were bred for. Ten of the most ideal breeds for herding dogs would include Border Collies, Bearded Collies, Australian Shepard, Australian Cattle Dog, Beauceron, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog,  Shetland Sheepdog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and German Shepherd. There are plenty of other options, but these are some of the best. As for livestock guardian dogs, some of the best breeds include Anatolian Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Kangal, Tibetan Mastiff, Komondor, Kuvasz, Akbash, Spanish Mastiff, Karakachan, and Maremma Sheepdogs. Again there are plenty of other options for livestock guardian dogs, but these are some of the most renowned when it comes to keeping farm animals safe and well protected. 

Why We Love Farm Dogs

Farm dogs are amazing animals for a variety of reasons. They are kind, loyal, and serve a very important purpose on any given farm. Agriculture and farming wouldn’t be where it is today without the dedicated service that farm dogs have provided us humans for the past couple thousands of years. We hope you found this article informative and if you would like to learn more about dogs and the variety of services they provide for us, check out our previous article entitled Service Dogs. We know you’ll love it! 

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