There's no denying that dogs love to chase things that move, especially squirrels, birds, cats, even cars. So what makes you think it's a safe bet to have dogs and chickens in the same backyard? Most mammals eat chickens, so won't your dogs try to kill your chickens?
It's a common question, especially for those new to raising chickens.
Raising Dogs & Chickens Together
Is there a way the two species can live peacefully together in a single setting without trouble?
Well, if you choose the right kind of dogs, yes! As a matter of fact, there are some dog breeds that have been tasked with protecting chickens, and vulnerable farm life for decades.
We’ve picked out a few dog breeds that love chickens, or at least won’t kill them, for your peace of mind:
If you're going to be raising your dogs and chickens in a small backyard, then a large dog breed might not be a good fit. Besides the fact that large breeds take up more physical space, requiring larger beds, more space to run, larger food dishes, etc. - they also will get bored more easily. And a bored dog is the last thing you want around your precious brood.
Here are a few breeds that won't intimidate your chickens, and will live in harmony with them in a small space.
Its incredible intelligence and friendliness ensure the Japanese Chin is a lap dog that’ll heed your every beck and call. Your chickens have nothing to worry about as well since the breed’s low prey drive keeps its playful side from going overboard.
However, their small stature makes them a bad fit for guard dog duties.
Sheepdogs from Hungary
The Komondor, or Hungarian sheepdog, earned the nickname the “giant mop” for its large, white-colored curly, but matted hair. This Hungarian breed is a livestock guardian dog that's known for being extremely friendly.
You can tell straight away that the Komondor means no harm to any human or bird. Despite their playful nature, which can turn into roughhousing, your chickens are in safe paws.
The Kuvasz is an ancient breed of Hungarian ancestry. Historically, they have been royal guard dogs and are known to be extremely intuitive when it comes to the intentions of the energy around them.
Excellent with poultry, the Kuvasz is a joy to have around. Their keen attention to danger makes them excellent livestock guards, while their friendliness ensures they are good with kids too. Their devotion is unrivaled.
Sheepdogs from Turkey
The Akbash is native to Turkey, and are bred as livestock guardian dogs or shepherd dogs. Essentially livestock guard dogs, an Akbash won’t harm a feather on your chickens’ bodies. They are friendly and quite intelligent. They can also quickly learn to follow your lead or commands, also making them excellent family dogs.
It’s best to get one while it’s still young, as is the case with most dogs.
The Kangal, or Kangal Shepherd Dog, is also a livestock guard dog from Turkey. They don’t come any more prepared for the role than the Kangal. This breed is famous for its unusual strength and speed, as well as their receptive nature toward poultry.
However, you may need a lot of space to satiate a typically overactive Kangal.
Other Herding Dogs
Don’t let their large bodies fool you, Maremma Sheepdogs are gentle giants.
They also have a hardwired instinct to protect livestock, so they don’t need a lot of supervision once well-trained. You’ll need to do a lot of grooming though due to their layered fur.
Old English Sheepdog
Fueled by an almost non-existent prey drive, the Old English Sheepdog is the very opposite of aggressive. It makes you wonder why they were bred so large since they're virtually non-aggressive. Thanks to their devotion and obedience, these are great family dogs, farm herding dogs, and dogs to have around small children for protection.
Although, if they deem another animal playful rather than threatening, they will not attack it. They don't tend to chase small animals like other dog breeds. In the end, you can trust them around your family and poultry as well.
Cats and dogs may be foes to your brood, but the Anatolian Shepherd redefines those boundaries with its unique tolerance for birds. This friendliness extends to poultry and small children as well. Fittingly labeled the great “Shepherd,” your livestock can trust this breed with their lives.
Pyrenean Mastiffs channel their extraordinary strength not into chasing down birds but protecting them and your livestock in general.
Their loyalty never wavers, even in the face of scampering poultry. Plus, you’ll have a best friend that can hang out with your chicken without worry.
Who says dogs and chickens can’t get along?
Picking the right dog breed and the right chicken breeds will make your transition to raising healthy backyard chickens a breeze. These are just a few great breeds that pair well with backyard poultry.
Try to keep only breeds that do well in adverse environments, like Polish hens. Remember, broody hens struggle to get along with other hens, dogs, and children. And keep in mind, the level of harmony in your backyard homestead will affect your chicken's egg productivity and overall lifespan.
I cannot stress that enough. Picking the right breeds will make raising chickens so much better. You'll have fond memories to look back on, and some delicious and healthy eggs to enjoy right away.
Even if your birds and dogs don't play together or cuddle, you're not at a loss. You can still have peace and harmony amongst the species living in your backyard homestead.
At the very least, if you choose the right breeds, your dogs will protect your birds.
Share this post