Farm Dog Breed/Training

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Farm Dog Breed/Training

This is a discussion on Farm Dog Breed/Training within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; I'm going to be moving about 30-40 minutes outside the city and have 20 acres of land to expand my rabbit business as well as ...

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Old 07-09-2015, 11:15 AM
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Farm Dog Breed/Training

I'm going to be moving about 30-40 minutes outside the city and have 20 acres of land to expand my rabbit business as well as start raising chickens and possibly a small herd of cattle.

Obviously with this move the risk of encountering coyote packs,foxes, bobcats, and other little thieving animals become more of a issue. Budget wise I could either afford two large breeds like the akbash or four smaller breeds, I think while smaller four dogs will show a greater "show of force" and be able to scare off most animals (got a .22 or 7.62 for anything that doesn't take the warning)

I'm trying to find a breed of dog though that will handle the outdoors well without a lot of maintenance. I like the Akbash in this regard but I can't find a similar type of dog but in a smaller size.


The next step is training, mainly to beat into their heads where our property lines are and where they need to stay. Any suggestions on how to enforce this to avoid causing problems for others around me? Thank you.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:46 AM
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Where/which country are you in? How small are you looking for?
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:19 PM
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50ish area, something the size of a border collie, in Missouri so larger animals like wolves are a low risk.
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:23 PM
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acds! I grew up in a rural area and acds are more common than border collies. Majority of land owners didnt like border collies as much only because of their coat. Not sure why though.
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:25 PM
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Border Collies have long hair, a lot of people detest the work that goes along with all that hair. Zeek, I would look into Livestock Guardian dogs. I know there are both BC's and ACD's and mixes of those out there who do LGD work. Heck I know a guy who has a foxterrier mix who guards his goats, but none of them were bred for that job.
Breeds like the Akbash were bred for those jobs. But talk to your local farmers, ask them what type of dogs they have and how they're working out. Don't be blinded by breed, keep an open mind, ask around also at your local shelter. You never know what you might find.
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:37 PM
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I would look for an LGD breed. Maybe Maremmas if you're sure you want something smaller - some Anatolians, Pyrenees and mixes run smallish too and are more common in Missouri - but speak with breeders at length before making a purchase. If you've never trained an LGD for guarding before I'm not sure how advisable it would be to get four of them at once. While they're bred for the job they still require early guidance, you can't just throw them on acreage and expect perfect performance - especially if you want them to look after small, non-ungulate stock. People who know LGDs are also going to have more knowledge on containment.

Last edited by Liminal; 07-09-2015 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:54 PM
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Well to be fair I wouldn't buy all four at once, I would buy a male to train first and then get the next set of pups, this way the male will take his place as alpha which helps me train the next batch and solves some issues from having so many dogs.

It's always easier to train dogs when there are trained dogs around, especially from dominate males that will nip certain attitude problems in the butt.


I found some border collie / heeler (acds) mixes in a local shelter, going to read up a little on the mixed breeds and go take a look at them. My big thing is while I love collies (had a pure bred collie for 15 years) and if BCs are as bad as my collie was I wont have time to groom that often. Reason I want a low maintenance dog that wont require 2-3 hours of combing a week. They will be well taken care of but I want breeds that don't require much grooming.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeek View Post
Well to be fair I wouldn't buy all four at once
That is indeed fair.

A word of warning with the herding breeds: many of them will want to run your cows and poultry if they have access to them. It's really hit or miss whether they can be left unsupervised with stock from what I've personally seen.

Last edited by Liminal; 07-10-2015 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeek View Post
Well to be fair I wouldn't buy all four at once, I would buy a male to train first and then get the next set of pups, this way the male will take his place as alpha which helps me train the next batch and solves some issues from having so many dogs.

It's always easier to train dogs when there are trained dogs around, especially from dominate males that will nip certain attitude problems in the butt. .
Just be aware if he's not 100% perfectly trained he's going to teach the next generation bad manners. Also get one dog at a time, not two and stick to one sex. If you have males and you add a female you will probably run into trouble. A local farmer bought a BC pup from me, took him home to his farm where his parents elderly JRT lived. The two boys were best friends for Several months, sleeping together, playing...
Then he bought in an intact female, the boys fought, the BC tore the JRT's throat open and they had to euth the JRT.
BC's, Acd's and their crosses are herding dogs, they will need a lot of training not to run livestock. I have 5 BC's and whenever they escape from my yard I will find them herding my goats. How big is your property? Why do you want four dogs? One LGD can cover a lot of ground and will be more likely to bond to the stock, more than one dog can sometimes tend to bond more to each other, than to your stock.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:16 AM
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If you want something to protect your property, a LGD would be much better than a collie type, especially if you intend to leave it alone outside a lot. Most collies I know really want a lot of time with humans. Also, they'll be very likely to work any stock around if you give them free access.

But LGDs are terrifying when not properly trained. Our neighbor had several of them. He was very much of the old school, yelling at them and beating them when they were bad. Though they were afraid of him (they saw him as the alpha, if you prefer that language) they were never socialized or trained. They would bite any strange person who ventured onto the property. LGDs are naturally standoffish. I've ultimately decided against getting one for several reasons, including the fact that I am not confident enough in my ability as a trainer to make sure it would be safe around visitors.

Another option would be a large donkey. They will chase off or even kill coyotes, and they're a lot easier and cheaper to keep than a large dog.

Edit: One good LGD should easily be able to handle 20 acres.
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