7 Dog Breeds More Than Happy to Lend a Helping Hand Protecting Chickens
May 15, 2019
Dog breeds that Protect Chickens
Have some chickens that you need protecting from wily foxes and other predators? Or, are you simply just wondering which dog breeds do an excellent job of protecting our small, vulnerable friends the chicken?
There are plenty of dog breeds which have the capacity to become a great saviour to chickens, however, it really is all about the training! If you don’t start your dog’s training early, this may make it slightly impossible to get the protector which you were looking for!
Needless to say, each of the dogs with the capability of protecting chickens will need to have a desire to protect which is stronger than their prey drive!
We’ve put together a list of 8 of the best common dog breeds which are perfect for defending your flock. Not only will they not eat or harm the birds in any way, they will also be pretty fearless when it comes to fending of unwelcomed visitors who dare to go near to the coop!
Unsurprisingly, the best protectors of chickens are all farm dogs which have had a long history of having this trait instilled within them. There are plenty of different protectors to choose from which won’t make any bones about their duties protecting chickens around the clock. Yes, these dogs really do take their work seriously and will be on guard even when you’re not around! Don’t forget that dogs love to please us and do a good job – you’ll just need to make sure that you regularly reward their good behaviour to keep them willing to do the job! A happy guard dog is an effective guard dog.
- Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan Mastiff is a gentle giant, they can weigh anywhere up to 200lb, but they will use all of that extreme mass to make sure that no animal gets past them into the chicken coop! The breed sports an incredibly thick coat, so even in the grips of winter in the harshest of conditions, your Tibetan Mastiff won’t struggle when it comes to the climate. They are also perfectly adaptable to a great variety of climates.
Another reason why the Tibetan Mastiff may just find itself at the top of your list to protect chickens is the fact that they are naturally nocturnal. So, while you’re sound asleep they will be more than able to see to any nocturnal predators which may fancy their chances of snagging a chicken. Yet, a Tibetan Mastiff’s stubbornness should never, ever be underestimated. You’ll have your work cut out for you if you decide that it will be a Tibetan Mastiff who is the one to guard your flock.
The Akbash breed may not be the most popular of all the chicken protectors, but they are still considered effective when it comes to getting the job done. Livestock guardianship is the primary role of this breed - well, that along with some other general shepherd duties, but no job suits the Akbash better than chicken defending.
They are an extremely friendly breed who will always greet you in a jovial manner, but on the surface, they have a calm temperament – which comes in handy for their protective duties. You will need to be aware that the Akbash dogs are incredibly selective of who they will get on with and who they will befriend.
People always say that some dogs just know when they sniff a bad person – and the Akbash’s ability to do this is unparalleled. Training will need to start from day one with the Akbash Hounds, but once you have put the time in, you will see that their large stature is the only thing which is required to keep larger predators away. Akbash dogs may be fairly selective of the humans they like, but it’s not all too often that they find a chicken which they don’t get on with!
- Pyrenean Mastiff
When it comes to protecting chickens in Spain, the Pyrenean Mastiff doesn’t give much room for competition. Their strength is only matched by their sedate and calm presence, and they’re as just as loyal to their chicken friends as they are to their owners! They may need rigorous training before they will get to the point where they will put their lives on the line for chickens, but it is not impossible to bring that trait out in them – especially if you start from a very early age.
It is incredibly important that you spend a lot of time and effort socialising a Pyrenean Mastiff, otherwise, they will find it hard to warm to both animal and human companions. It is not unknown for Mastiffs to turn on their masters if they sense that their owners are a threat. So, everyone should be cautious of this fact!
- Maremma Sheepdog
You’re most likely to spot a Maremma Sheepdog in Italy, but the breed isn’t your average chicken protector, instead, they come with a special skill. Their skills include protecting free-range chickens from ground predators and winged chicken stealers alike. Your chickens will be able to amble around large open spaces without a care in the world with the Maremma Sheepdog on guard.
You will need to ensure that you have enough space to accommodate a Maremma Sheepdog as they like large areas to roam in. You can expect them to be as loving and loyal to their owners as they are with their chickens! There really are no cons to allowing a Maremma Sheepdog onto your farm to protect livestock – as long as you have adequate space.
The Komondor is not only one of the most distinctive looking livestock breeds, but it is also the biggest. What’s brilliant about their coat is that they can easily blend in with sheep! That may not serve you all too well when it comes to looking after chickens, but fear not, their skills are highly transferable, and their corded coats will keep them warm in any weather! Also, it’s incredibly adorable!
The only downside to using Komondor is that they can be overprotective in some instances, especially to humans. So, you better make sure your postman knows not to venture near your chicken coop. Yet, with extremely careful and diligent training, you will be able to ensure that this behaviour isn’t a problem.
- Anatolian Shepherd
The Anatolian Shepherd dog is great for protecting chickens, which falls down to their strength, their intellect and their great hearing and vision. There isn’t much of a chance that many predators will be able to slip by an Anatolian Shepherd.
By far the best perk of choosing an Anatolian Shepherd is that they need very minimal training when it comes to learning how to protect chickens. On the flip side, they can be incredibly stubborn so you will need to know how to show them who is in charge. It is for this reason that they are not recommended to landowners who don’t have much experience training stubborn dogs. If they think that their own intuition is right instead of your commands, they will definitely let you know about it!
If you’re looking for a dog which will protect your chickens from the fiercest of predators – including wolves, you can’t go wrong with a Kangal. Although you might want to take note that primarily, the Kangal dogs are a guard dog, their chicken protection abilities come second. Kangals are also commonly used as guard dogs for family homes as they get on so well with other pets and children.
Their loyalty and drive to protect are extremely strong with the Kangal breed. This means that even though they aren’t the biggest of the guard dogs, they still get the job done with the same amount of conviction. Their speed and agility also work in their favour.
A final note
There are plenty of other factors which you are to carefully consider before choosing the right dog for you. Be as careful about your decision to take on a new guard dog as you would be when it comes to introducing a dog into your home.
Ensure that you have the capacity to fulfil all of their emotional, physical, and mental needs. One big point of consideration is how much acreage you have to offer to a watchdog, these dogs will never thrive in enclosed spaces. You’ll also need to be aware of the specific needs of each breed.
You can find more information about each of the breeds on this list by heading over to our breed descriptions page, or if you’re ready to make your choice, why not head on over to our puppies for sale pages and find a listing for your future chicken guardian!