Not every dog breed is suited for country living. You need a dog that’s been bred to help you with the farm work, that loves the outdoors, and that can protect you and your livestock.
What are the best farm dog breeds?
The 15 best farm dog breeds for living on a ranch or farm or in the country are:
- Miniature pinscher
- Bernese mountain dog
- Australian cattle dog
- Maremma sheepdog
- Scotch collie
- The Great Pyrenees
- Catahoula leopard dog
- Rat terrier
- Belgian Malinois
- Border collie
- Anatolian shepherd
- Pembroke Welsh corgi
Let’s see what makes an ideal farm dog and then look at each of these 15 dog breeds in more detail.
What Makes a Good Farm Dog?
If you want a dog for your farm, ranch, or country lifestyle, you need a dog that’s been originally bred to work. These farm dogs need to be intelligent, trainable, and strong. They also need to be hardworking and hard.
Some dogs have been bred for specific purposes, whether it is to guard livestock, herd animals, or more.
There are also some breeds that are considered to be multi-purpose dogs because they can perform a variety of tasks. These dogs are also usually highly trainable.
15 Best Farm Dog Breeds
Here are the top 15 farm dog breeds:
Also called a Min Pin, the miniature pinscher makes an excellent guard and watchdog. They like to roam since they have a lot of energy to burn, so a farm with lots of space is ideal for this dog breed.
Originally bred to hunt vermin in Germany, these “King of Toys” are energetic, fearless, and great companion dogs. Highly trainable and with a relatively high predator drive, they’ll ensure your farm stays free from rats and other small – unwanted – prey.
Bernese Mountain Dog
A cattle dog, the Bernese mountain dog hails from Switzerland where they were originally bred to be herding dogs. They were also used to pull carts and be guard dogs.
A strong, brave, and loyal farm dog, you can set your Berner to work. They are also easy to train and love to be outdoors. When at home, expect your Bernese mountain dog to be affectionate, calm, and sweet.
Australian Cattle Dog
Also called a Blue, Red, or Queensland Heeler, the Australian cattle dog makes an effective herding dog.
You may wonder why this dog is called a Blue Heeler. As a herder, this dog breed likes to nip at cattle heels. This helps the Australian cattle dog stay in charge. The blue or red part refers to the dog’s coloring.
An excellent guard dog, this cattle dog responds well to training and will work whether it is sunny or rainy.
Hailing from Germany, the rottweiler is a great multi-purpose farm dog. Brave, big, and strong, this dog can hold his own even among larger livestock.
With a commanding bark, other animals will listen and obey. As a quick and calm learner, this all-around farm dog makes the perfect addition to your country’s lifestyle.
In Italy, the Maremma sheepdog was bred to protect goats and sheep. Traditionally, these dogs guarded farms and livestock against wolves and would fight these predators if needed.
Thus, Maremma sheepdogs are perfect guard dogs.
Also known as the Abruzzese sheepdog, these dogs bond with their flock. They patrol the perimeter, and by leaving scent marks, it discourages other canine predators from coming near.
The Scotch Collie is also called a long-haired collie, English collie, and Lassie dog. A herding or hunting dog, the Scotch Collie is intelligent and can be trained to perform a variety of tasks that need to be done around the farm.
A high-energy dog breed, the long-haired Collie needs plenty of exercise every day. They also make great family dogs when they are off duty.
The Great Pyrenees
Most commonly used as guard dogs on ranches and farms, the Great Pyrenees are large dogs. Even though they are intelligent but stubborn, the Great Pyrenees can be trained with a lot of patience.
They are very protective over what they guard – whether it be you, your family, or your cattle. Call on them to be your livestock guardian!
In the French and Spanish mountainous regions, these dogs are still used to keep livestock safe.
Highly trainable and intelligent, Dalmatians are commonly used as police dogs. However, they are fearless and brave, and as a result, make great farm dogs.
Use your Dalmatian as the protector dog on your ranch or farm. These dogs are also great companions for inside the house. Remember that they need a lot of exercises and don’t leave them alone for long periods as they can become destructive.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
A Louisiana native breed and also called a Catahoula Cur, this dog breed is adept at performing various tasks around your ranch. Strong and brave, they will keep predators away. They also make great herding dogs since they are loyal.
The Catahoula leopard dog is hardworking, so expect it to work hard during the day and still have some energy to do a few more jobs for you later.
Needing human companionship, these dogs are playful and loving.
Feisty and energetic, rat terriers are great companion dogs. However, they require expert handling as these dogs are great escape artists. Rat terriers like to dig and jump over really high obstacles.
As a working breed with lots of energy, this dog will keep anything unwanted away. That includes other pets since rat terriers are very territorial and jealously guard anything they consider to be theirs.
Similar to a German shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is a strong working dog that makes a great all-around ranch or farm companion. Originally bred as a herding dog, the Belgian shepherd (as it is also called) is easy to train and can be gentle and playful.
Obedient and hard-working, set your Belgian Malinois to work as a herding dog or watchdog.
These dogs are very physically active, so keep them busy to avoid them becoming aggressive and destructive.
A Border collie is one of those farm dogs you can use for various tasks. Highly intelligent, these dogs learn easily and quickly, and with their great sense of intuition, they just seem to know what you want them to do.
They are highly energetic and have lots of stamina, so put them to work and make sure they get plenty of exercises. Even when not herding sheep, they make great family dogs.
By name, the Anatolian shepherd is a shepherd, but it is actually a guard dog. This dog breed will keep your farm or ranch safe from wild predators. The Anatolian shepherd will also fiercely protect you, its owner.
Originally from Turkey, these dogs are intelligent and loyal. While they are easy to train, they are territorial so take care to teach your Anatolian shepherd what is a threat and what isn’t.
While with your family, expect your Anatolian shepherd to be calm.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
A small dog, but don’t think that because of their size they are only fit to cuddle on your lap! A good farm dog, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a good choice if you need a dog to herd your livestock.
They are affectionate and intelligent and will sound the alarm if anyone they don’t know approaches. As brave livestock guards, they will keep your property free of varmints.
The komondor looks like a mop due to its corded coat. Hence, it is commonly called the mop dog. As a guard dog, your Komodor will protect you, your family, your property, as well as your livestock from any predators and other threats.
Remember to socialize your mop dog often to keep it well behaved and from becoming aggressive. This dog breed has a playful and silly side to them too – and this matches well with their look.
Originally from Hungary, these dogs are territorial and suspicious. So Komondors won’t get along well with other dogs on the ranch.
Other Alternative Breeds
Alternative farm dogs are:
- Airedale terrier
- Australian shepherd
- German shepherd
- Dutch shepherd
- Jack Russell terrier
- Old English sheepdog
- Shetland sheepdog
- Fox terrier
- Yorkshire terrier
- West Highland white terrier
- Brussels Griffon
- Labrador retriever
- Cocker spaniel
- Golden retriever
Choosing the best farm dog for your country’s lifestyle is vital. You want a dog that is bred to work – whether it is to herd cattle, protect your property, or perform a variety of tasks.
Dogs that are best for farm life usually have a lot of energy to keep up with what needs to be done every day. They need to be intelligent so you can train them and when they are at home with you, they need to be gentle and loving.
Choosing the best working dog breed for your ranch or farm also depends on the best dog that will fit in with your family – every dog and family is unique.
And once you’ve chosen the best farm dog, remember to keep it physically active with lots of exercises and stimulated with training and mental challenges.