What do you picture when you hear the words “farm dog”?
It may be Old Yeller, some type of collie, or even a feisty Jack Russell. While any dog can live on a farm, there are certain dog breeds that excel as farm dogs due to their herding skills and energy levels. Most of these dog fall into the herding and working category (no big surprise).
However, just because some have the instinct to herd it doesn’t always mean they are helpful. Anyone who has been herded by a dog or watched as a little spitfire pup tries to herd a horse, knows what I mean.
Check out some of the best dog breeds for farm dogs below.
Black Mouth Cur
These intelligent and energetic dogs are amazing farm dogs. Aside from being fearless and loyal, they are strong. However, the best example of this breed is its portrayal in Fred Gipson’s novel Old Yeller. The loyal dog, Old Yeller, is a Black Mouth Cur and nothing more needs to be said.
Australian Cattle Dog
This tenacious breed was bred to herd cattle in Australia. They are intelligent, hard-working, and loyal. However, make sure you have a job for them, or they will find one themselves.
Originally bred to be livestock guard dogs for farmers in the Pyrenees Mountains (hence their name), these gentle giants are renowned farm dogs. They guard and defend their property and protect all who live on it.
One of the most popular farm dogs due to their intelligence and superb herding skills. They can herd livestock and learn the most commands of any dog. They do best on a farm with work to do that keeps their active mind and body busy.
These popular farm dogs in Germany are also a favorite pet in the United States. Since they are highly trainable, smart, and protective, they are very versatile dogs. German shepherds make excellent police dogs but can also be taught to herd livestock and guard the farm.
Old English Sheepdog
These shaggy dogs were bred to herd cattle and sheep in the English countryside and still enjoy life on the farm. Many are kept as pets, but they still have the herding instinct and could lend a helping paw if needed.
Also known as “the cowboy’s herding dog of choice”, these exuberant dogs must have a job, or they may start herding their family. They are fiercely loyal and have a strong work drive, so they are often seen at rodeos as well as farms.
Bernese Mountain Dog
This breed was originally used in Switzerland to not only herd and guard livestock but to also pull milk carts. While they are mostly kept as pets in the United States, these powerful dogs still love to help around the farm and form close bonds with humans.
Goldens are one of the top three most popular dog breeds in the U.S. year after year, and for good reasons. They are friendly, loyal, easy to train, and usually have a low prey drive. The gentle dogs can live peacefully with chickens and will never leave your side as you do chores. Talk about a win-win!
Don’t let their size fool you, these feisty terriers have a strong prey drive and will keep your barn free of rodents. The smart and active breed excels as a guard dog who will alert you if someone arrives on the property.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Small dogs can be great farm dogs, too. You wouldn’t think at first the short-legged corgi would enjoy life on the farm, but they do. They were originally bred to herd cattle, hunt vermin, and guard the property. The animated and active dogs managed to wiggle their way into our hearts and homes as companion pets who sometimes join us on the farm.
This list is just a sampling of the best farm dog breeds. We suggest you head to your local animal shelter if you are looking to add a dog to the farm. We would love to see photos of your farm dog in the comments!