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Guard Animals Guarding the homestead


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  #1  
Old 03/28/11, 10:57 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Indiana
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Best dog for small hobby farm

We're just starting to build on a square six acre parcel (420' x 644'). Building the house and barn at the same time with visions of several sheep and/or goats and chickens along with rabbits we already have. Will probably only have a couple of acres in pasture, due to house/barn/garden/pond layout.

We're on a fairly busy county road and are really resisting putting a fence around the whole thing. We know we want to get a dog at some point. Really like the idea of a LGD but it seems we may be too small for that. We want to do some intensive grazing, but with just a handful of sheep or maybe even a couple mini cows there isn't much need for "herding". We're townies now, with no dog. At the farm it will likely be outside all the time.

I know favorite dog breeds come down to simple preference. But...if this set up was you what breed would be best???

Thanks!!

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  #2  
Old 03/29/11, 04:50 AM
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If it's not fenced, I would stay as far away from LGDs as possible. They are roamers by nature and will wander onto that road.

I don't know many dogs that would stay exclusively on a couple of acres(without the fence, mine wouldn't stay on 6 acres), all mine like to go hiking on occasion and before we completely fenced the perimeter, we lost some really great dogs to the road. They would stay home for the most part, but get to feeling frisky one morning and take off. Or at one point we let our aussie out one night and she chased a strange cat that was lurking around the poultry, and they both got hit. It's a sad thing to have to bury a good dog, especially if it can be avoided.

My suggestion before getting any dog would be a fence. If you are really that against a fence, perhaps a house dog let out under supervision would be better. We've had labs, a st.bernard mix that's a rug all the time, and various other mutts and an LGD, they all wander and roam at some point(all were spayed and neutered) and a busy road is a life or death gamble.

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  #3  
Old 03/29/11, 07:58 AM
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What about the other animals you're planning on getting? How are you gonna keep them in your yard without a fence?

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  #4  
Old 03/29/11, 08:20 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Indiana
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We will fence the pasture and barnyard areas, just hoping to not have to go around the entire perimeter. Thinking about an invisible fence along the road, but if we leave the side open it would be possible to go around that.

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  #5  
Old 03/29/11, 09:30 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Southeast Missouri
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Great Pyranese's are my favorite...but of course they will roam too unless you just leave them in the pasture with the animals which they will be extremely happy with. They are big brutes that will protect what is there but are big babies also. Great dogs!!!

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  #6  
Old 03/29/11, 10:18 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Illinois
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You might think about some of the small terriers to keep rats and mice down. I have friends with australian terriers and rat terriers, they are very happy with them.

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  #7  
Old 03/29/11, 10:27 AM
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Australian cattle dog ( heeler). Great dogs, perfect size, very smart. I have one that is a great watch dog, a companion, and he herds a little without even being taught.

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  #8  
Old 03/29/11, 11:36 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Lassie type of rough coated collie. I also think that a terrier might be a good dog for you. What kind of dogs have you had in the past that worked for you?

My border collie has been trained to stay out of the road, but not everyone is a good trainer, and not every dog is methodical. Do some research and buy from somebody who does testing for problems of the breed (St. Bernard's are notorious for hip problems).

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  #9  
Old 03/29/11, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeet_Cranberry View Post
We're just starting to build on a square six acre parcel (420' x 644'). Building the house and barn at the same time with visions of several sheep and/or goats and chickens along with rabbits we already have. Will probably only have a couple of acres in pasture, due to house/barn/garden/pond layout.

We're on a fairly busy county road and are really resisting putting a fence around the whole thing. We know we want to get a dog at some point. Really like the idea of a LGD but it seems we may be too small for that. We want to do some intensive grazing, but with just a handful of sheep or maybe even a couple mini cows there isn't much need for "herding". We're townies now, with no dog. At the farm it will likely be outside all the time.

I know favorite dog breeds come down to simple preference. But...if this set up was you what breed would be best???

Thanks!!
I would suggest fencing first, animals second, dog third, since you are a townie you have a big learning curve before jumping into anything. Animals in general are a BIG responsibilty. And take a lot of your time. What do you plan on doing with the your visions of several sheep on couple of acres? What do you plan on using mini cows for and where will they eat? How do you intend to protect them from preditors? Are you growing a garden? (uses up more grazing space)...the chicken coop takes up space too.Will the dog be protecting them from foxes, Racoons, coyotes...etc?
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  #10  
Old 03/29/11, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Oregon
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I have six dogs, hounds, a dachshund, cocker, a golden, but if I could just keep one, it would be my border collie/aussie mix. She barks at anything that comes around, is fearless and will chase coyotes, doesn't kill chickens, and helps herd the sheep and goats. She is the best farm dog I've ever had.

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  #11  
Old 03/29/11, 01:58 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Northern Nevada
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You are not 'too small' for an LGD BUT if no appropriate fencing, forget it, stay away, get a Boston Terrier..... LGD's must be contained, period...that is just what it is. No fence: no dog, they'll take off or worse yet get run over. Go for something little or sluggish....but please don't buy an LGD.

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  #12  
Old 04/05/11, 10:12 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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personally i would fence no matter what the breed, dogs are nomadic by nature...it doesnt have ot be a super secure fence for most dogs (non lgds) just something of a visual deterant.

mabe look into a farm breed rather than a livestock breed...there are many breeds bred to do multiple jobs on the farm that work well as Guard dogs too...
any of the sheperds (german, aussie, english) bred to help the sheperd with herding and guarding flock, home and family
cattle dogs, origioanly bred to heard, cna be a little rough on smaller critters but they are tenacious and often work well as "noise makers" too. aussie cattle dogs, and kelpis can be incredibly ferocious if they deam something a threat
any of the collies, originally bred to heard they also make great watchdogs!
corgis (odd choice i know) origionally bred to herd CATTLE! these little guys are tenacious, often do well at keeping rodent populations down and make EXCELENT watchdogs
giant schnauzer might be a great fit, they are naturally protective and cna look quite intimidating!
rotty, yup another OLD farm breed make great hearding, draft and watch dogs!
south african boerboel, not a breed id suggest for the beginner dog owner, but they are a true all around working farm dog too.

because these are more all around farm dogs they tend to be more attached to their people than a true working lgd, so having acess in the house and to their people is a must, but they also are happy to follow you round when doing farm chores, laze around in the pastures and keep strangers (and predators) at bay.


i would absolutly 100% however suggest SOME kind of fence around the perimiter/area dog will have acess to...even if its just some cheap wire stuff...(ive never had good luck and never heard of long term good experineces with the underground fencing.)

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  #13  
Old 04/06/11, 10:01 AM
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We don't have a fence so we've had to be careful about what dogs we get, watch their habits carefully, and pay a lot of attention to what we're doing. If we get a puppy, we're going to have to keep it indoors until we get a fence built. You absolutely can't trust a puppy not to run into the road of you don't have a fence.

Lazy old dogs protective of the property are great because they stay close to the house & still go after anything that gets too close. We had a nearly-blind 13-yr-old husky/collie mix with arthritis who did a pretty good job but didn't have the energy to bother getting up unless it was for something important. He passed away in June.

Right now, we have two rescues: a high-energy 10-yr-old shepherd and a 3-legged 8-yr-old border collie. Either one of them is fine outside alone at any time because they stick close to the house. Both of them outdoors at night are fine because they take protecting the house very seriously at night and they don't roam. If we let them both outside at the same time during the day, though, they will make a game out of chasing cars. They can't both be outdoors at the same time during daylight for 5 minutes. Our shepherd got hit by a car last year because we forgot she was out and let the border collie out. It only took a couple of minutes for it to happen. Fortunately, her injuries were minor.

So my recommendations woud be: no puppy, and watch their habits very carefully & be prepared to adapt. Make sure the dog has a job to do close to the house and watch it like a hawk to learn its behavior patterns. A lazy old dog is a good bet.

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  #14  
Old 04/06/11, 11:30 AM
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I agree with those who say to fence first and get a dog second.

I might suggest one of the herding breeds, as they are more apt to want to be WITH you, rather than having a roaming instinct like LGDs, hounds, or terriers. Herding breeds are generally eager to please and will prefer being by your side to anything else.

When I first moved here, we didn't have the yard entirely fenced. My German Shepherd was about 4-5 years old and she was already well trained, so I didn't have to worry about her running off. Still, I did not leave her in the yard unattended.

I now have a German Shepherd puppy who is somewhat of a velcro dog; her favorite place to be is right by me, and she gets downright offended if I keep her from following me everywhere I go. In my opinion, this is the temperament you want for an all-round farm dog; one that is naturally inclined to obey and please you. Trainability allows you to call your dog off chickens, stay out of the animal pens, and away from the road. I still think fences are necessary when you have a dog, but if you are not able to fence your entire property, you definitely need a "velcro" dog. Velcro dogs are less apt to test fences, so sometimes, just a token barrier like chicken wire will keep them contained. With my GSD, all I have to do is set up a psychological barrier and she will not cross it. My Akbash, on the other hand, laughs at any attempt short of a sturdy 6 foot barricade, so we've had to do some LGD-proofing.

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  #15  
Old 04/06/11, 11:36 AM
 
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A friend of mine has a couple of black labs on his fish farm. They go after everything that comes on the property except people.

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  #16  
Old 04/06/11, 01:17 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I love my English Springer Spaniels! They are great family dogs. Can be indoor and outdoor. I have had them on a acre lot to 60 acres. If you do not want a fence you can also get those under the ground fences.

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  #17  
Old 04/06/11, 01:29 PM
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with any type of livestock, even if put in a paddock (pen) you have to at least fence around them! while you don't have to fence the entire 6 acres at first... in time you will want to fence (look at Field Fencing 48" high, double it to 6' or put 3 rows of barbed wire on top to make it 5-6 feet tall and hot wire - field fencing is 330 feet long for around $75-150 depending on where you live)

you will most likely want to fence some part of your house into the livestock area... farm yard. If you have children and a busy street... most definitely you will want to fence.

If you get a dog and don't fence.... at some point the dog will wander off. Even if you use invisible fencing... if the dog gets shocked and jumps over the wire.. it can't get back and again.. he is bored and roaming.

If your dog is roaming many people follow the 3S rule - shoot, shovel, shut-up

More often then not a busy street means the dog will get hit by a car and you are liable for any damage your dog has done to that persons car.

I am all for a dog on a farm. LGD are a huge responsibility... but then so is a little Chihuahua! if they bite or get out and cause damage of course the wee one will not do much damage but still... can.

there are so many breeds of LGD... it will be a matter of your personal preference. I chose mine because of the environment I live in.


I chose a LGD because I back up to 1000's of acres of National Forest, I need a fearless breed to take on any predator of any size.

If you are interested in a LGD... start here http://www.lgd.org/

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  #18  
Old 06/20/11, 12:56 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New Mexico
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Just my 2 cents worth, but... If you don't fence your place, or at least part of it, your animals will get out on the road and get hit by cars, and neighborhood dogs will be all over your animals. A lot of times "towny" people move out to the country and let their dogs run loose. They learn the hard way that country dogs have to be kept home. Otherwise, they get hit by cars or start killing chickens, goats, calves, etc around the neighborhood and get shot.

Having said all that, I think an Australian Cattle Dog (AKA blue or red "heeler") makes a good homestead dog.




They are great watch dogs, tend to stay close to home, are very loyal and protective of their home and their people, and are easy to keep healthy. They have great fur that sheds mud and stickers. At only 40 lb or so they have the advantages of a smallish dog, but are very sturdy and can take hot or cold weather. They were bred to follow cowboys around thru rough country, herding cattle by biting their heels. So they are working dogs that need exercise. Our female heeler (above pic) is great around the goats and chickens. No worry about her trying to kill things, but she does think she's supposed to herd the goats. They make great hiking companions. On the other hand they are a bit hard headed, and can be aggressive to strangers, tho.

My best ever dog was a heeler x German Shepherd.

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  #19  
Old 06/25/11, 11:59 AM
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Please don't try a heeler at first

Australian cattledogs are wonderful, but they have a strong sticking point - they will bond so tight that when you leave your place they NEED to come after you. Close to a road they have a very strong urge to chase cars and will sneak off to do so. They seem to really need a big job to be happy and they can be hell on cats and chickens. I think they really need to have another dog to model for your kind of situation. Hard headed doesn't even begin to describe them. The breed was ruthlessly culled for drovers, and they just can't help themselves.

The Australian shepherd is their counterpart, and just as wonderful! For generations they were our family's ranch dog, just a joy inside and out, and they are natural workers, taking responsibility if they think any of their critters are in danger. Sweet natured and tough as nails. Very smart.

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  #20  
Old 06/25/11, 01:50 PM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Taxachusetts
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We have a German Shepherd but I didn't want a huge one so we went to a breeder that specializes in East German And Czech Shepherds. They are bred more for intellect than size so she's small by American GS standards (about 65 lbs). she has a straight back as opposed to the sloping back which puts more strain on their hips. She runs all day but stays in the fence (underground)....is great with kids.

I second others thoughts to fence the whole place. A pain initially but you don't want to lose a dog because it chased off after some animal and got hit.

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  #21  
Old 06/27/11, 08:04 PM
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We are babysitting for an ACD right now, and you couldn't GIVE me one! Yes, they will herd sheep, sometimes in the middle of the night. Had a neighbor's come over before I got the Anatolians and killed three sheep by chewing the legs down to the bone, and tearing their ears off. That's an un-trained dog.

The one we have right now LOVES to chase cars. He's already been run over once, but didn't learn.

You KNOW I'm partial to Anatolians. I raised my male here at the house on 1 1/2 acre with sheep. The only time I ever saw him out was when two stray dogs from town came visiting. After they were rousted, he went right back to his sheep. It's really going to depend on the individual, but even my pups stay home pretty darned well. They will go down to the creek for a bath, but stay home with the sheep. I love this.

If I were you, I would consider a GSD mix, or possibly a Corgi. The mix you can pick up at a shelter. A Corgi will help you move sheep, cattle, or poutry; just not super-fast, lol.

Do you have coyotes or neighbor dogs that roam?

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  #22  
Old 06/27/11, 09:42 PM
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North Carolina
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We put invisable fence around 3 acres without much trouble.
We laid the wire pretty close to the surface through the woods and
the wire isn't that expensive. I did most of it myself in a day.
Works great. You would have to check to see if they have a transmitter for 6 acres.

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  #23  
Old 06/27/11, 09:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FoxyWench View Post
i would absolutly 100% however suggest SOME kind of fence around the perimiter/area dog will have acess to...even if its just some cheap wire stuff...(ive never had good luck and never heard of long term good experineces with the underground fencing.)
I must be an exception..We have had perfect results for 20 years.
An occasional wire break but our dogs never cross it.
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