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What breed of dog to get?

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Woogasnerk

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I have been confronted with an opportunity to adopt a new dog. He is half pit bull, half hound with high ratio of beagle. He is under two years old, and his current owners neglect him, though they don't abuse him. He's also very calm and friendly, and my friend has seen him catch rabbits. All of this sounds really good to me except that we have chickens. My parents say that it would be extremely difficult to train a pit bull/hound to stay away from chickens, but my friend, who has owned many well behaved dogs in his life, says that he will do whatever I say if I just feed him well and treat him right.

In any case, we need a new dog soon as our current one is now over ten years old. We're trying to decide what breed we do want, if not a pit bull/hound. We'd like it to have certain qualities in the following priority order:

1. Don't kill chickens
2. Bark at coyotes in the night
3. Don't wander away from home
4. Kill rabbits in the garden without digging up all our crops
5. Kill various other garden pests like raccoons, 'possums, or voles

Our top picks so far are retrievers, shepherds, and schnauzers. The one thing that bothers me about retrievers is that they've supposedly been bred to have a soft bite, so as not to damage the things they're retrieving. As such, I don't know if they have the instinct to kill the animals they catch. Schnauzers and shepherds, on the other hand, are very intelligent and busy dogs. I'm certain that I could train them to accomplish everything on the list, but I don't think we have enough jobs to keep their minds occupied all the time and I've heard they start to get mischievous when they're bored.

Is there a perfect breed for me that I haven't heard of? Should I just go with one of the three on the list? Or am I overthinking it all and I should settle for the pit bull/hound? As a side note, don't worry about the fate of the pit bull/hound. If I don't take him, my friend will.
 

Hooch

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Any dog will have to be trained into your set boundries and rules...period.
training will involve the fair implantation of consistency and leaderhip of all family members..period.
A big consideration, in my opinion; is what kind of Energy in a dog are you looking for?? High..go go go all day type ? Medium- lets go for a nice run and afterwards be able to be chill after?? Or Low; couch potato all day is fine..maybe a poo walk is cool but after lets snuggle type.. And of course there is all that in between...
Some breeds can often be expected to have a good sense of where their energy baseline will be just based on the breed..generally….There are always exceptions to the rules especially with mixed breeds. This can be good and bad.
Willingness to Please the Human is a biggie ...just because a dog is untrained doesn't mean it is unwilling to please. Maybe it never had a opportunity to be apart of a pack structure or had a leader to respect and would very well fall into a roll ..
That said, If a dog is so highly keyed into it's natural duty, like for example, some sort of hunting or herding breed and is high energy type AND you don't have the opportunity to cater to it's instincts every day in some way..your likely asking for problems and a frustrating relationship with the animal.
If you have the time to cater to that energy and instinct daily..might be a good match.
You get my drift??
Also, a prey drive is a strong instinct to temper in any dog. It isn't impossible..just takes a lot of work and refreshers. And a prey drive for a chicken or cat or mouse is a drive..not a whole lot of difference In what they are going after.. if you speak dog. For awhile , you might have to squash any prey drive until you get the foundation and basics of your relationship established. Again..not impossible to work with but it takes a bit of commitment and thinking on a Doggie level to deal with.
I have a Pitty cross..best dog I've ever had..but not without trials and lots of training. His willingness to please was very high. His prey drive is very high and I live/ lived with livestock and small animals (cats, goats, chickens). When I went to adopt I looked for energy first, breed and willingness to please second. I committed my learning and knowledge of doggie minds to suit his needs to have a great well balanced animal. It has paid off in the long run even with the mistakes that were learned over the years.
best of luck and I understand what a decision you have to make here..my boy is over 10 now and I am considering finding a suitable doggie friend for him. His Girlfriend of 13 just recently had to be put down (not my dog but my besties female pooch) and he needs extra companionship when I working. Id like to find a female pooch he likes that has the same energy level . I know there is a older pooch out there that needs a home that could offer my boy the companionship he needs when Im working but wont kill my chickens either...lol..
energy, breed, willingness to please is my formula and Im sticking to it..
best of luck..


 

Spikedriver

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I would also consider climate as being vital for an outdoor or indoor/outdoor dog that would be expected to spend time out in the country. My old Doberman was a fabulous companion, a fair watchdog for coyotes, and a raccoon killing machine. But he couldn't handle cold weather very well, especially as he aged. If your temps don't get below freezing much, and especially if you can provide a nice warm shelter outside your house, any type doggo will do. But where I live, a Lab is about the minimum for an outdoor dog, for ability to handle the cold. A Heeler or Shepherd is better.

I always recommend Labs or Lab crosses to anyone who has space to keep them. They're just about the easiest dog, and don't usually have too many bad habits even with shoddy training. (Note: Shoddy or incompetent training, and mean spirited training, are two different things.) I've had Labs, Lab/Heeler, Lab/Doberman, Blue Heeler, Border Collie/mutt, some type of fluffy tailed small Shepherd mutt, Weimeraner, Corgi, and Arab Desert dogs in my immediate family. All were good but the Desert Dog. It was literally retarded and useless, but friendly.
 

VenomJockey

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Best cross-breeds I have found is Black Lab/Pitt Bull, or Chow/Boxer. Loyal, big enough to make their bark let people know not to come around, won't eat you out of house and home, not afraid of coyotes or other critters, easily house-trained. Once the dog is familiar with the property boundaries (if not fenced), he/she shouldn't wander far, but ALL dogs have a tendency to go "exploring!!"

Lab/Pitt mixed breed


Boxer/Chow mix
 

WVDragonlady

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I have two pure bred Pitties. IF we had had chickens I'm sure they would leave them alone because we would've trained them to do so.
Pits are VERY smart, VERY protective of their territory, get bored easily. Very trainable ( they have to be trained well so they do take some personal time with them) They are very high energy, very active, BIG chewers. Big loveable babies ( at least mine are. apparently the fact they roll over on their backs for belly rubs is uncommon)
My two have killed a raccoon, snakes ( black and copperhead), rats, mice, moles, someone's cat ( oops). Anything that comes inside the fence is fair game to them.They bark and "sing" at all kinds of things

I've had mine since they were eight weeks old so I don't know how well you can train one over a year old and neglected.
I would think you'd want a breed made for livestock and guarding like Border Collies or some kind of Shepherd
 

Terri9630

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We have 2 mastiffs and a lab puppy. The Mastiffs have been excellent guardians. They love "their" pet chickens and goats and have run off other dogs, Coyotes, bobcats and hawks. The lab pup chases rabbits and I'm sure she would chase the chickens if they were free range.
 

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Used dogs are like used cars you never know what you are getting. I would go with an Australian Shepherd. Ours was one of the best dogs ever.
I agree. We have 2 whos mother was AS and father's was whatever jumped over the fence which owners saw a Weimaraner 'spl' and a setter. Except for color they don't look at all alike. Ones hairy like Aussie and the other is slick as a hound like the Weimaraner. Sorry no spell check.
 

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View attachment 11355 I'm a fan of mixed shelter dogs. Had 3 so far and my only criteria was must not chase cats. Teddy Ruxpin is some kinda Australian Shepard/Chow/Retriver mix, best dog to date :) (Too smart for his own good sometimes :) but he will chase a ball for hours)
Me too all our dogs have been adopted mutts. We got them from puppies and trained them. The Greyhound yellow lab mix we rescued was the bravest, most ' protective without being vicious ' intelelgent dog we ever had,she also was the oldest at almost 19. Greyhounds are known to live long for large dogs,but vet that gave her to us couldn't believe she was that old.
 

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I fixed it for you.;)
:Thankyou::huggs: Terrie. I tried spell check but it messed up my text somehow,so I never tried it again. Its hard enough to hunt and peck as it is without more problems. So I try to spell things a couple times and then just guess.
getting out dictionary ain't gonna happen either by the time I look up a word I forget what the heck I was going to say!:dunno:
 

VenomJockey

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:Thankyou::huggs: Terrie. I tried spell check but it messed up my text somehow,so I never tried it again. Its hard enough to hunt and peck as it is without more problems. So I try to spell things a couple times and then just guess.getting out dictionary ain't gonna happen either by the time I look up a word I forget what the heck I was going to say!:dunno:
Spell check and autocorrect will both drive you absolutely bonkers!! :cry:
 

Woogasnerk

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All right, I'm learning some interesting things from this thread. I'm willing to put effort into training a dog, but it will be my first time, so I think I'd probably want to stick with something fairly easy. The shepherds look really good, but I've heard that the Aussies are smart enough to quickly develop a lot of bad habits if their masters are inexperienced trainers. Is there a good breed of shepherd that's known for being a little bit dumber and lower energy than the Aussie? Likewise dobermans and pit bulls sound like they could get the job done well, but we don't see people very often, so I'd be worried about them being paranoid or aggressive around strangers. I suppose any of them have the potential to be easy, laid back dogs if I could get half-lab varieties.
 

snappy1

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I have experience with schnauzers and if you want them to look like schnauzers, the haircut costs or takes time if you do it yourself. They can be prone to seizures and stomach ailments if fed people food. They are very smart, protective and loving, but take some upkeep.
 

VenomJockey

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All right, I'm learning some interesting things from this thread. I'm willing to put effort into training a dog, but it will be my first time, so I think I'd probably want to stick with something fairly easy. The shepherds look really good, but I've heard that the Aussies are smart enough to quickly develop a lot of bad habits if their masters are inexperienced trainers. Is there a good breed of shepherd that's known for being a little bit dumber and lower energy than the Aussie? Likewise dobermans and pit bulls sound like they could get the job done well, but we don't see people very often, so I'd be worried about them being paranoid or aggressive around strangers. I suppose any of them have the potential to be easy, laid back dogs if I could get half-lab varieties.
https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/belgian-sheepdog
 

Meerkat

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All right, I'm learning some interesting things from this thread. I'm willing to put effort into training a dog, but it will be my first time, so I think I'd probably want to stick with something fairly easy. The shepherds look really good, but I've heard that the Aussies are smart enough to quickly develop a lot of bad habits if their masters are inexperienced trainers. Is there a good breed of shepherd that's known for being a little bit dumber and lower energy than the Aussie? Likewise dobermans and pit bulls sound like they could get the job done well, but we don't see people very often, so I'd be worried about them being paranoid or aggressive around strangers. I suppose any of them have the potential to be easy, laid back dogs if I could get half-lab varieties.
Some breeds will make your home insurance go up very high and some won't even give you insurance if you own certain breeds.
 

Woody

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Black lab fan here, had three so far.

They will do all that but are not killers. Had one that hated snakes and would kill them though, but not one of their know traits. They will make sure no critters go in the garden, they will chase them if you ask them to. Just make it one of their “jobs” Labs need to have a job to do. Guarding the garden is a good job. Guarding their ‘friends’ the chickens is another good job. “Go check on the garden, I think I saw a rabbit.”

Easy enough to not have them go after any other livestock also. Introduce them when they are pups and you are good to go.

The digging part…. Up to two years old they can be diggers. I just select a spot and mark it as ”The designated digging area” and they are pretty happy with that arrangement. When they have the urge, just point them to it and they go to town for a spell. If you don’t, they can pot hole a lawn pretty quick.

They are people animals and need to be around someone all the time. They are a bit of maintenance to keep busy, or they will find something to do. And their idea of fun is not the same as your idea of fun.

It sounds like you are looking for more of a guard dog that is willing to take care of business if need be. That isn’t a Labrador Retriever kind of job. A lab mix might be perfect though. If you could get that lab willingness to please and intelligence into a more guard dog mix, it would be good.
 

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I would say what ever breed you choose. Start with a pup when ever he/she chases a chicken have a spray bottle with 50/50 water and lemon juice. Spray that in the dogs mouth and say no. Dogs hate the taste of citrus. Years ago when I was researching breeds I seriously considered the giant schnauzer.
 

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I would say what ever breed you choose. Start with a pup when ever he/she chases a chicken have a spray bottle with 50/50 water and lemon juice. Spray that in the dogs mouth and say no. Dogs hate the taste of citrus. Years ago when I was researching breeds I seriously considered the giant schnauzer.
Good idea AlwaysR.:thumbs:
It works on cats too, my two tom cats minded. My DIL said my cats minded better than her kids, lol. I agreed.:D I used just water in a spray bottle and it worked great. I'd just say NO as I sprayed they learned that word as good as the dogs.:cool:
 

MoBookworm1957

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I have a Jack Russell/Beagle mix.
I don't have snakes, moles, voles.
She likes to run and hunt rabbits, squirrels.
She barks at 0900,1100,1400,1600,2000 hours.
She puts herself to kennel(bed ) at 2000 hours each evening except Tuesdays.
She puts herself on point for critters(rabbits, squirrels, birds).
 

Patchouli

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Don't beagles love to roam? We had one long ago and he did like to run and get stuck down rabbit holes. I guess any dog will given half a chance, but some dogs can be taught their boundaries.
Retrievers are good dogs, but quite often don't let on that anything is wrong with them personally (like, sick or hurting). Black labs, mixed labs, great dogs usually. Very loyal. I taught our mixed lab to not attack critters but that it was okay to chase them. Smart dog and did her job at terrifying door knockers.
Someone mentioned Australian Shepherds...some dogs really do need a lot of directed exercise and exertion or you will pay for it if they don't get that and attention.
Blue heelers can be very territorial and aggressive; that's what I've seen here. They hold their ground and they are strong.
Why would you want a dog to kill critters? Chasing them away would suffice for me.
Weimeraners are cool looking dogs, I never had one. I read that breed is a one person dog and high maintenance as far as attention. I wouldn't know.
 

Sewingcreations15

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@Woogasnerk I have had a lot of dogs but the best for protecting a property with chickens I had was a white Labrador cross weirmaraner. They are extremely intelligent and energetic and easy to train too. We also had a Rhodesian Ridgeback when I was growing up and are brilliant dogs and were bred for hunting and protecting and easy to train but be warned they are energetic and require walking or in my case running along a beach at full pelt regularly or have a large property to roam and exercise within. They have a good temperament, easily trained and hunt naturally so you would want to teach them at an early age that chickens are it's friend. Most people look at ridgebacks and walk the other way as they are quite intimidating looking but they are so gentle with children.
 

VenomJockey

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Don't beagles love to roam? We had one long ago and he did like to run and get stuck down rabbit holes. I guess any dog will given half a chance, but some dogs can be taught their boundaries.
Retrievers are good dogs, but quite often don't let on that anything is wrong with them personally (like, sick or hurting). Black labs, mixed labs, great dogs usually. Very loyal. I taught our mixed lab to not attack critters but that it was okay to chase them. Smart dog and did her job at terrifying door knockers.
Someone mentioned Australian Shepherds...some dogs really do need a lot of directed exercise and exertion or you will pay for it if they don't get that and attention.
Blue heelers can be very territorial and aggressive; that's what I've seen here. They hold their ground and they are strong.
Why would you want a dog to kill critters? Chasing them away would suffice for me.
Weimeraners are cool looking dogs, I never had one. I read that breed is a one person dog and high maintenance as far as attention. I wouldn't know.
Blue Heelers are like Chows....fearless, very territorial, aggressive, and strong as an ox for their size. I would not recommend a Blue Heeler to anyone who isn't willing to spend a LOT of time with the dog, training it and socializing it.
 

VenomJockey

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I agree @VenomJockey and also with all dogs you should socialise them early with people by taking them out with you.
Socialization is very important, especially with the larger breeds that can really do some damage if they attack. Even the mid-size breeds can do a lot of damage if they attack a child. Children have been killed by Chows, Pitts, Boxers, etc. ALL dogs should be well socialized as puppies. Socialization and obedience training...very important. A dog you can't control is no fun at all.
 

MoBookworm1957

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Don't beagles love to roam? We had one long ago and he did like to run and get stuck down rabbit holes. I guess any dog will given half a chance, but some dogs can be taught their boundaries.
Retrievers are good dogs, but quite often don't let on that anything is wrong with them personally (like, sick or hurting). Black labs, mixed labs, great dogs usually. Very loyal. I taught our mixed lab to not attack critters but that it was okay to chase them. Smart dog and did her job at terrifying door knockers.
Someone mentioned Australian Shepherds...some dogs really do need a lot of directed exercise and exertion or you will pay for it if they don't get that and attention.
Blue heelers can be very territorial and aggressive; that's what I've seen here. They hold their ground and they are strong.
Why would you want a dog to kill critters? Chasing them away would suffice for me.
Weimeraners are cool looking dogs, I never had one. I read that breed is a one person dog and high maintenance as far as attention. I wouldn't know.
Strawberry has been trained to be my working seizure dog.
So no for the most part she doesn't roam.
The only time she is allowed to roam is when I take her to safe space in the country.
My friends have 40 acres for Strawberry and her older brother Lucky to roam.
 

Spikedriver

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Blue Heelers are like Chows....fearless, very territorial, aggressive, and strong as an ox for their size. I would not recommend a Blue Heeler to anyone who isn't willing to spend a LOT of time with the dog, training it and socializing it.
My experience with heelers is that most of the trouble is getting them to trust you. It's not their nature to just be lovable. Ours was dumped at our farm at about 1 year old, at Christmas time. She was cold, beaten, terrified, and hid under the car for a few hours until we could coax her out. She would cringe any time a man moved his arms quickly. However my pops, who has a soft spot for hard cases, was quickly able to earn her trust and loyalty. "Annie" eventually came around to me and my brothers, but it took close to a year and she was still Pops's dog, and his alone.

I believe that heelers need a lot of space. You can't just give them a back yard. They need a farm, or at least several acres, to claim as their territory.

Once Annie did come around, she acted almost exactly like every other Heeler I've ever known. Suspicious and watchful. Not afraid to let you know she didn't want you in her space. Protective of her territory. She once bit and popped a traveling insurance salesman's tire because she didn't like him being on the property. I still have no idea how she managed that.
But she was kind to all my nieces and nephews. She tolerated their hugs and watched over everything they did. And when she was diagnosed with lymphoma, she never slowed down, until one evening she wouldn't eat. Dad called the vet and made the appointment to escort her over the bridge, but she was gone by the next morning.

A heeler will do everything the OP wants. But I'd say there's a little more risk that a heeler won't work out well, than with a lot of other breeds. YMMV...
 

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We had a German shepherd/golden retriever mix growing up. He would protect kids with his life and even from grandpa. It was his dog too. He would go out and bring the cows in and pin loose chickens to the ground until we got there to pick them up.

Took on 3 strays one day that came on the property. He was torn up but those three took off for the tall and uncut. Never to be seen again. Loved that dog.
 
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