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10 Dogs That Are Good with Chickens (With Pictures)

Lindsey Lawson

By Lindsey Lawson

dog with chickens

Keeping chickens can be very rewarding, but there’s a lot that goes into caring for and protecting our feathered friends. While a secure coop and fencing can help keep them safe, a very effective way to deter a chicken’s many predators is by using a livestock guardian dog.

Regardless of whether you need to protect a large flock of chickens or just a few in your backyard, if you are trying to find the best breed for the job, you need to ensure these dogs are good with chickens. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of the 10 dogs good with chickens that make a great choice to protect your flock.

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The 10 Dog Breeds That Get Along With Chickens

1. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees
Photo Credit: jathomas, Pixabay
Weight 85–100+ pounds
Height 25–32 inches
Temperament Smart, calm, patient, courageous

The Great Pyrenees are most certainly one of the most popular livestock guardian breeds. Originating from France on the eastern side of the Pyrenees Mountains that separate the country from Spain, these dogs were developed specifically to guard and protect livestock from various predators.

The Great Pyrenees is going to be one of the best breeds you could choose to protect your flock of chickens, as they are incredibly intelligent, docile, and patient dogs that can easily be trained not only to get along with chickens, but fiercely protect them.

These dogs also make excellent family dogs and are known for being gentle giants. They are incredibly good natured and calm, making them ideal for families with children that are part of raising chickens and other livestock.

2. Old English Sheepdog

Olde English Sheepdog

Weight 60–100 pounds
Height 21+ inches
Temperament Intelligent, gentle, adaptable

The Old English Sheepdog is well known for its thick, shaggy gray and white coat making it look like a giant stuffed animal. This breed is very friendly and intelligent but also has a protective side and will gladly stand up and protect the livestock they are put in charge of.

Old English Sheepdogs are a breed that can do very well with chickens when properly trained and will often do an excellent job at protecting them. Their looks alone can deter predators, but they also have a distinct bark that will turn them away while alerting you to any dangers to the flock.

These dogs originated in England and were one of the earliest herding breeds. Like the Great Pyrenees, these dogs make excellent family pets and do wonderful with children of all ages. They are highly adaptable, gentle, and sweet-natured.

3. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Anatolian Shepherd Dog ( Image Credit: Jon Mountjoy, Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)
Weight 80–150 pounds
Height 27–29 inches
Temperament Loyal, independent, reserved

The Anatolian Shepherd is among the oldest livestock guardian breeds, with artifacts dating back to 2000 B.C. that fit the description of these dogs. Originating in Anatolia, which is modern day Turkey, these large loyal shepherds have everything it takes to excel at their job.

Anatolian Shepherds have natural guard dog tendencies and a very strong desire to protect their flock. As with any breed, they should be introduced to chickens at a young age and trained in their duties to protect them. They can even be trained to recognize and respond to specific threats as needed.

While the Anatolian Shepherd can make a great companion, they are a very independent breed that have a more reserved personality. They take their job very seriously and will excel at watchdog duties whether it’s predators or strangers they come across.

4. Kuvasz

Photo Credit: La Su, Shutterstock
Weight 80–140 pounds
Height 26–30 inches
Temperament Intelligent, protective, loyal, independent

The Kuvasz is a Hungarian breed of livestock guardian that can be dated back to ancient times. This breed is highly trainable and exhibits a strong protective nature while also being loyal and affectionate with their families.

They can make excellent guardians over chicken flocks and have the bravery to face any threat that comes their way. These dogs are incredibly strong and have a bit of an independent streak, which can make them a challenge for novice owners.

The Kuvasz can make a great companion but will need a firm hand when it comes to training. Their watchful nature makes them wary of not just other animals that could pose a threat to their flock, but strangers as well.

5. Komondor

white komondor guard dog
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Weight 80–100 pounds
Height 25.5–27.5 inches
Temperament Brave, loyal, dignified, gentle

The Komondor is a unique breed that originated in Hungary and is quite easy to recognize with their white corded hair that covers them from head to toe. These dogs are natural livestock guardians that train easily and are very loyal to their people.

They are a very gentle, dignified breed that will bravely defend their flock from predators. Like most livestock guardians, they do have an independent streak. They always remain alert and watchful, making them great at their job.

These dogs have intense grooming needs, and keeping up with that coat will be a regular task, but for those that are prepared to handle their specific needs, they can make an excellent choice to protect chickens.

6. Tibetan Mastiff

red tibetan mastiff dog walking in the forest
Image Credit: Kat_marinina, Shutterstock
Weight 70–150 pounds
Height 24–26 inches
Temperament Reserved, independent, intelligent

The Tibetan Mastiff is a massive dog with a heavy muscular build that possesses the strength and intelligence to protect their families and flocks. They’ve been around since ancient times, originating in the plateaus of the Himalayas.

The heritage of many of the largest breeds in the world can be traced back to the Tibetan Mastiff. These intimidating dogs are highly independent and more reserved. They are known for having a formidable, deep bark and a protective nature to back it up.

These dogs do best in cooler, dry climates, and that thick fur sheds heavily during the spring and fall.  Because they are very territorial, they are not going to be ideal for inexperienced dog owners but in the right hands and with the right training, they can make excellent protectors for a flock of chickens.

7. Kangal

turkish kangal dog in winter
Image Credit: K.Bry, Shutterstock
Weight 110–145 pounds
Height 27–33 inches
Temperament Protective, alert, independent, calm

The Kangal is a large Turkish breed that was originally developed as a livestock guardian and is still used for this purpose to this day. They are very powerful, alert, and protective dogs but are also very docile and controlled.

In the United States these dogs are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, or AKC, but are registered with the United Kennel Club, or UKC. Their independent nature makes them best suited for more experienced owners, though with proper training and socialization, they can make excellent family companions.

The breed’s watchful, protective nature would make them an excellent guardian over chickens, though they may be a bit more difficult to find than some of the other livestock guardian breeds on the list.

8. Maremma Sheepdog

Maremma Sheepdog adult
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Weight 65–100 pounds
Height 25–29 inches
Temperament Alert, friendly, intelligent, determined, loyal

The Maremma Sheepdog, also known as the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog, is a highly intelligent breed that originated in the Maremma and Abruzzes regions of Italy. While they are not recognized by the AKC, they did receive recognition from the UKC in 2006.

Their main purpose from the very beginning was to guard both flocks and property. They are very similar in appearance to the Great Pyrenees with their large, powerful build and thick white coats, but the Great Pyrenees are taller and heavier bodied.

These dogs are excellent guardians, as they are brave, determined, and alert. They are also incredibly loyal and affectionate with their families and can be perfectly friendly when properly socialized. As with any livestock guardian breed, they are very protective and can be wary of strangers.

9. Akbash

Image Credit By: dailyadventuredogs, instagram
Weight 90–140 pounds
Height 28–34 inches
Temperament Intelligent, loyal, independent, brave

The Akbash comes from the plains and mountains of western Turkey. These long-legged white guardians have a muscular, sturdy build and possess the strength and stamina to go along with it. They can be either short coated or long coated per the UKC breed standard.

Not only do they have the size and strength, but they also have speed and a willingness to take on large predators, making them an excellent guardian for any kind of livestock. Their fierce independence can make them a challenge to train, so they are not ideal for novice owners.

They are highly intelligent and will remain alert, suspicious, and protective. These dogs are incredibly loyal and devoted to their owners but will require a firm hand with training.

10. Pyrenean Mastiff

Pyrenean Mastiff in the snow
Image: AnjavdR, Shutterstock
Weight  120–240 pounds
Height 27–31 inches
Temperament  Friendly, calm, intelligent, courageous

Not to be confused with the Great Pyrenees, the Pyrenean Mastiff originated in Spain and was used to guard and defend against predators, primarily wolves and bears. These dogs are registered with the UKC but remain on the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service.

These massive dogs are known for being friendly toward humans and will be very protective of their family, property, and any livestock they have the duty to guard. They are courageous and will not back down from predators, but at home they are very lovey-dovey and make excellent family dogs.

You can find breeders in the United States, but the breed as a whole can be much harder to find, so you can expect to travel if you are interested in one of these beautiful dogs as the guardian of your chicken flock.

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Why Livestock Guardian Dogs Are Ideal for Chickens

When it comes to protecting your chickens from predators, the most reliable dogs for the job will be the livestock guardian breeds. This is because all dogs falling into this category are working dogs that have been bred for many years for the very purpose of protecting all kinds of livestock. To protect chickens, you need to find dog breeds that get along with chickens.

Regardless of which breed is chosen, they will need to socialize early with chickens, as dogs come with a natural prey drive and chickens often fall victim to family dogs in addition to predators. They will need to be properly trained and socialized for their duties and must be able to protect the flock against a variety of predators including birds of prey, foxes, bobcats, bears, mountain lions, weasels, and more.

Livestock guardian breeds will use scent marking to deter predators, disrupt attack attempts, alert the flock to threats, and confront the predators head on as needed. While each breed has their own unique looks and personality traits, there are several important traits they should have in common for this job.

german shepherd with chickens in the yard
Image Credit: volodimir bazyuk, Shutterstock

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Essential Traits of a Good Livestock Guardian

1. Protective Instincts

A dog that is guarding livestock is going to need strong protective instincts and will need to remain alert and watchful. A dog without a strong desire to guard and protect will not fare well against predators determined to eat the chickens.

2. Intelligence and Trainability

Intelligence is very important in this line of work because the dog needs to be able to pick up easily on their training and learn how to recognize and respond to specific threats.

3. Size and Strength

A dog’s body size alone can be a deterrent to predators, but strength is also very important as there may be times the dog must physically protect the chickens.

white dog guarding the farm
Image Credit: Lugres, Shutterstock

4. Loyalty

A livestock guardian will not only need to possess loyalty to their owner, but also to their flock. This loyalty ensures they will remain watchful and protective against any threats.

5. Courage

Courage is an important trait to have when it comes to defending chickens or any other livestock. These dogs may be faced with large, formidable predators and they will need the courage to face them.

6. Good Temperament

Since livestock guardians will share their lives with humans and be in their company a lot, it’s highly desired that they be good tempered overall and do well around children.

Herding farm dog

7. Independence

Guarding requires a certain amount of independence. When the dog is on duty, they may be alone with their flock and will need to think for themselves and make decisions regarding any potential threats.

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The dog breeds listed above are the most well equipped for protecting livestock, including chickens, when properly trained. Some of these breeds are much more common and widely available than others, depending on where you live. What’s important is choosing a breed that is compatible with your lifestyle and specific needs. You’ll need to put in the time and training to ensure they are well prepared for their duties.

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Featured Featured Image Credit: sw_photo, Shutterstock

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