There are more than 93 dog breeds that function as multi purpose farm dogs. These top guard dogs range from herders to guardians to terriers and earth dogs. They are blessed with a sharp intelligence and inherent protective instincts. Many of these family friendly farm dogs are fiercely loyal and devoted to their owners and extremely wary of strangers. While their temperaments differ from breed to breed, they all have one thing in common: these dogs cannot sit idle. You have to make sure they are given tasks to do else they will certainly get bored! Here are some of the best country dogs that are ideal for farm life:
Airedale terriers are peculiar dogs with striking looks, especially when groomed. You can train this breed to do just about anything: retrieve ducks, point, herd, guard livestock, and help police and so on. Airedale terriers are also a great dog breed if you keep chicken coop. To get more information about this smart dog breed, click here.
Belgian Shepherd dogs
This category of multi purpose farm dog breeds consists of 4 dogs namely: Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois and Tervuren. Herding instincts lie deep within these breeds and they will herd cattle, sheep and even their humans! Check out my article on Belgian dog breeds we love.
As a guard dog, the Keeshond is superb. They are gregarious, outgoing and friendly dogs that have versatile qualities like herding, hunting, and even companion dogs. However, all this depends on how you train your pet; for Keeshonds are also known as the ‘Lazy man’s glamour dogs’. A Keeshond will be equally content to live with senior citizens or sedentary individuals.
One of the main intentions of creating the Leonberger breed was to develop a dog that could both guard and move small animals. This is why Leonbergers are extremely intelligent, easy to train and also very athletic. They are adaptable and flexible in their thinking. Leonbergers also get along with children (as long as they are properly socialized) making them some of the best family friendly farm dogs. Find out more about this Lion of the Dog World in this guide.
Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of Newfoundland’s characteristics. It is the most important trait of this working dog breed which also makes it one of the best family friendly farm dogs as well. Did you know that the Labrador retriever was once known as the Lesser Newfoundland? Due to this, both breeds are often presumed to be interrelated. Both breeds actually share many common characteristics; such as unique webbed feet. Additionally, both breeds are known for amazing stamina, surefootedness and the ability to swim in icy rough waters. Are labs good farm dogs like the Newfoundland? Compared to the Newfoundland, they are not. Today, Labs are mostly used as household companions and therapy dogs.
Portuguese Water Dogs
Centuries ago, Portuguese fishermen discovered an Asian herding dog that loved to work on boats. They called them Cao de agua which translates to dog of the water. Today, the breed is simply known as the Portuguese water dog. These amazingly talented and intelligent dogs carried out multiple jobs for fishermen: they carried messages to and fro boats, retrieved lost gear from the sea and also chased away hungry birds and seals from the catch in fishermen’s nets. They are intelligent, loyal and hard working and can even swim all day! These working dogs also happily herd livestock.
This is a strong dog with powerful personality. Rottweilers have an inherent protective instinct towards animals, children and adult humans in their care. If they feel their ward is in danger; they won’t hesitate to attack. In today’s unsafe world, possessing a canine bodyguard with killer instincts and daunting reputation can provide peace of mind. However, be sure you train this amazing guard dog well in order to avoid canine aggression. Remember: this top farm watchdog is also in the list of most aggressive dog breeds.
Australian Dog breeds
How can we talk about farm dogs and not mention the Australian dog breeds? Among the best country dogs in this category you have several choices such as the Australian Cattle dogs (Blue and Red Heelers), Australian Shepherd, Australian Kelpie and Koolie, and Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog. All these breeds have specific and distinct styles of herding such as herding from the heel or from the head. They learn quickly and will do anything to keep their herd within a defined area.
Collies make excellent farm dogs due to their inherent herding instincts. Top breeds in the category are Bearded and Border Collies and the Rough and Smooth Collies. Due to their inherent tendency to herd, they do best with older kids. Collies need a lot of exercise as they are high energy dogs. They also do well with mental stimulation.
Corgis mainly include Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis. The Queen of England, Elizabeth, has famously owned more than thirty Corgis so far since beginning her reign. Both Corgi varieties make excellent farm dogs as they are very intelligent and easy to train. However, they also have an independent streak. Being herding dogs, they are prone to barking. They are extremely loyal and protective dog breeds that make loyal family pets. Their highly intelligent nature makes them great at problem solving. Corgis are not good pets for first time owners; buy or adopt a corgi only if you have prior experience with herding dogs.
Although they are not considered herding dogs in the traditional sense, terrier dog breeds like Kerry Blue Terriers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and several other terrier groups are make multi purpose farm dogs. Years ago, terriers were depended upon for herding, guarding, retrieving and even vermin destroying. Terriers were also trusted to watch children. Since many hound groups were crossed to develop terriers, the breeds developed protective and loyal traits characteristic of working family friendly farm dogs. Some other terrier and earth dogs that make awesome dogs for hobby farms include Jack Russell/Parson Russell and Russell terriers, Cairn terriers, Fox and Irish terriers, Norfolk and Norwich terriers, Border Terriers, Australian terrier etc.
Best livestock guardian dog breeds
Here is a list of best guard dogs for livestock:
- Anatolian Shepherd
- Caucasian Ovcharka
- Great Pyrenees
- Mastiffs- Spanish and Tibetan Mastiff
As can be seen, you have a lot of choice when it comes to picking multi purpose farm dog breeds. To name your new pet, please visit our Naming section here.