3 Top Livestock Guardian Dogs for Chickens

There is nothing more exciting than starting a chicken farm in your own backyard. However, you might be concerned about how to protect your chickens from other individuals and predators. It is actually possible to find dogs that are capable of doing the job for you! They serve as livestock guardians.

Farmers have traditionally trusted their dogs to protect their livestock (and still do so today). They relied on dogs like shepherds to protect and manage their flocks. There are a variety of animals that a herding dog can control, including cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. It was also possible to care for chickens.

There are a number of types of dogs that can be used as livestock guardians. In the AKC, some dogs are classified as working dogs, while in the UKC, they are classified as guardians.

In spite of the fact that all dogs serve a similar purpose, they are completely different. You need to take into consideration what kind of lifestyle you lead, as well as the temperament of the dog you choose for your chickens at home.

To help you determine the breed of dog that is right for you, we have selected three of the best livestock guardian dogs.

How Are Livestock Guardian Dogs Used?

a chick on the head of a dog

Some dogs are known as Livestock Guardians (LGDs), which are bred to protect livestock on farms and assist farmers. Whether they are keeping big cows or small chickens, they can cope with any farm animals.

They are dogs of medium-to-large size who are gentle, calm and strong by nature. Besides keeping the herd united during the day, they also play a role in safeguarding the herd from wild animals or predators.

Additionally, LGDs should not have any problem working outside during any season or weather conditions. Consequently, a lot of them have dense coats that can withstand all types of weather.

The typical LGD characteristics are calmness and patience, but also alertness and strength. As long as it is easy to be alone with livestock, it must also be vigilant and ready to use strength as required.

The 3 Best Livestock Guardian Dogs You Can Have on Your Farm

The following are three of the best livestock guardians you can have to protect your poultry from predators:

1. Kangal Dog

Kangal Dog

Kangal Dogs are ancient breeds that take their name from the Sivas region’s Kangal District in Turkey, where they likely originated. Since ancient times, this resilient breed of dog has been employed by farmers as a means of livestock protection. It is even referred to as Turkey’s national dog.

Moreover, Kangal Dogs first arrived in the United States in 1985. The AKC does not recognize this breed, but it can be registered with the Kangal Dog Club (KDC) of America. Many American farmers are incorporating this breed into their farming operations.

Known for their heavy-boned structure and large size, Kangal Dogs are very powerful and large dogs. Due to its unwillingness to back down from predators, its body is extremely strong. The characteristic features of this breed include a taller body, a curled tail, and some haircut styles with a dense coat.

There are also two layers to the coat. The undercoat is short, thick, and dense during winter but is very light during the summer when it sheds. A solid coat color must range from light brown, pale, golden, or steel gray. Additionally, its flopped ears are covered with black hairs, and its mask is black.

A typical characteristic of this breed is its high level of alertness, protection, and territoriality. It is loyal and sweet in the family, but if anyone outside the family is suspicious, they should be aware that this dog will give them the side-eye.

Although it is capable of confronting threats, when necessary, it prefers to intimidate its adversaries. There is no chance for strangers, predators, or stray dogs to get close to the chickens under the watchful eye of a Kangal dog.

2. Great Pyrenees

Anatolian Shepherd

A Great Pyrenees dog is a popular LGD and may be the most popular breed in the United States. This is also an extremely old breed of dog that originated in the Pyrenees mountains. The animal worked along with farmers in order to protect the flock from predators.

Without any doubt, this magnificent dog’s thick coat keeps him warm during the Pyrenees’ severe winters and disguises him as the snow. A Great Pyrenees has exemplary patience and the ability to attack its flock immediately when necessary.

Although the Great Pyrenees seem peaceful in their temperament and with their white coat, they can be very heavy, weighing more than 100 pounds, and have strong bodies.

Plus, this is a dog that can easily manage to frighten anyone when threatened, and its unbeatable courage is evident when it comes to guarding. This animal would like to look after the chickens, and therefore, it would not mind the clucks.

The Great Pyrenees make perfect family dogs due to their intelligence, calmness, and friendliness. The family should assign this dog a job, such as watching their chicks, if they want it to live with them.

3. Anatolian Shepherd

Great Pyrenees

Anatolian Shepherds originate from Anatolia, a peninsula located in Turkey’s Asian region. This breed is also very ancient, with ancestors dating as far back as 2000 B.C.

In the early decades of the 20th century, the breed was introduced to the United States through a secret project titled “Sheepdog Project” in order to identify which breed would make the most suitable sheepdog. However, when war broke out, the program came to an end, and the Anatolian Shepherd didn’t regain popularity again until 1970.

With the Endangered Species Act enacted at this time, Anatolian Shepherds were the ideal livestock guard without harming dangerous predators.

Farmers greatly appreciate the indomitable and patient nature of the Anatolian Shepherd. No need to stress it out since pasture rotation is enough to leave it with animals for hours at a time. Contrary to all the other breeds, the Anatolian Shepherd is highly faithful to humans but is typically reserved and does not show the same affection towards humans. It proves its fidelity by guarding your hens and warning you in case of any abnormal activities.

The biggest Anatolian Shepherd may reach 150 pounds in weight, and this is a big dog by any standards, especially when it is keeping an eye on your flock.

Its body is very muscular yet so agile. It also has curled tails and a very thin coat that extends just a bit longer on its neck than on the rest of its body. They come in a wide range of colors, which include red fawn, white, liver, brindle, blue fawn, and more. The dog can also be found with black markings on the ears and on its chest or white markings on the paws and its chest.

Final Thought on the Best Livestock Guardian Dogs

A livestock guardian dog is a breed of dog designed for farm work and to safeguard the livestock. Kangal Dogs, Pyrenees Greats, and Anatolian Shepherds are three LGD breeds that might be suitable for guarding chickens if you need one.

There are many different breeds of dogs, and selecting the one you wish to own is dependent on the breed’s temperament and family-friendly nature. For a family with children, the Pyrenees may be the most suitable choice; however, the Anatolian Shepherd is a great choice when you are going to be out for the day.

They all share, however, the characteristic of being excellent livestock guard dogs. Regardless of who you choose, you can be confident that no predator can harm your chickens.

Amelia Quinn

Living a self-sufficient lifestyle and raising chickens has been my passion since childhood. Over the years, I've realized this dream and gained valuable hands-on experience. Today, I am committed to empowering beginners and dreamers alike, help them navigate their own journey towards self-sufficiency and poultry farming.

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