Animals

3 Top Livestock Dogs For Chickens

Chickens are an amazing livestock animal to own and can help provide you with an abundance of healthy eggs out of your backyard. Owning them isn’t the most complicated thing in the world. However, providing them protection against predators can be a bit difficult.

If you’re the owner of a flock of chickens, you’ll probably never meet a better protector for them than a Livestock Guardian dog.

These medium-to-large-sized dogs provide the perfect protection from predators of all shapes and sizes, all while making amazing family companions.

If you want to learn about what livestock guardian dogs are, why you should own them, and three of the best breeds to get the job done, stick around!

 

What Are Livestock Guardian Dogs, And Why Should You Add One To Your Household?

Livestock Guardian Dogs, also called LGDs for short, are dog breeds that have been bred for centuries with the main purpose of guarding livestock animals of all kinds.

From sheep and goats to backyard chickens, LGDs make it their daily duty to keep your chickens safe and in line!

When humans first started keeping and herding livestock a long time ago, these dogs became their most prolific form of protection against predators.

Therefore, most of these breeds have been bred to guard and protect from as far back as the Bronze Age, making them some of the most ancient dogs breeds there are.

LGDs are credited with reducing the number of potential attacks by using a couple of different methods, including:

  • Scent marking
  • Attack disruptions
  • Head on confrontations
  • Alerting

This makes them good at handling threats both before and during an attack.

Even though these dogs are bred to protect livestock instinctively, they aren’t going to know how to do it right off the bat effectively. Proper training and socialisation will be key to teaching these guys how to protect your chickens the way you would like them to.

However, once they’ve learned how to do so, you wouldn’t have to worry half as much about your flock staying protected.

Now that you know what LGDs are, let’s get into three of the best chicken protectors out there!

 

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Image by Steve Slater (flickr) under CC BY 2.0

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a rather domineering dog breed with a mindset of protecting all beings that are weak and vulnerable.

They are descended from ancestors that span back as far as the Bronze Age and are set on ensuring their flocks stay protected and safe within their watchful eyes.

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are very intelligent, protective, and adaptable. While on the job, these dogs remain incredibly demanding; however, in front of their families, they are calm, loving dogs whose goal is to keep their families safe.

They are a very strong-willed breed and require a strong leader as an owner who can convince them to yield and listen to instructions. Unfortunately, not just anyone will do!

These dogs are muscular in build and large in size. They are nimble on their feet, a trait they had to learn when navigating the harsh habitat of their native homeland of Turkey.

As well as being amazing protectors, these dogs are also very good family companions who would love to be added to your household.

 

The Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees
Image by bingham30069 (flickr) under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Great Pyrenees is another large and powerful dog breed that is excellent at guarding hens.

These are, in fact, one of the most popular LGD breeds you’ll see in the US.

Known for their mellow behaviour and zen-like calmness, these gentle giants were bred for centuries to help villagers protect sheep from wolves and bears in the snowy Pyrenees Mountains of France.

However, don’t let their calm behaviour fool you!

These dogs will quickly jump into action when a threat is detected and will do anything to protect their flock.

Currently, this breed protects various livestock species such as sheep, cattle, llamas, and chickens, to name a few.

Outside of protecting livestock from predators, these dogs also make amazing family companions for families of all sizes.

They really are the perfect, fluffy choice for the role of protector and companion.

 

Akbash

Akbash
Image by Teddy Llovet (flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Last but certainly not least, we have the Akbash, which is the rarest LGD around.

This Turkish breed was bred to protect their flocks against wolves, and they have a rather impressive “alarm bark” used to alarm farmers of potential threats.

In the 1980s, they were imported to the US to control the predator problem there and have been used to guard sheep, chickens, and goats ever since.

Outside guarding livestock, these dogs are extremely affectionate, calm, and gentle with their families and have no problem being around children. However, they are quite aloof to outsiders.

These dogs are not only amazing LGDs for your hens but also lifelong family companions, and adding them to your family will not disappoint!

 

Summary

Protecting your chickens from predators may seem hard; however, LGDs make the job surprisingly easy!

These dogs were bred to protect, guard and alert against predators and have been doing so for centuries.

Three of the best LGD breeds for the job include the Anatolian Shepherd dog, the Great Pyrenees, and the Akbash, all large, strong dogs who are diligent at their jobs.

However, when you get an LGD, you’re not only getting a protector for your chickens but a family companion as well.

You’ll be surprised at how well these dogs fit into your family and will never want them to leave!

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