What dogs do farmers use?

It is rising in popularity to live a self-sustaining lifestyle. Many people want to avoid the hustle of city life and flee to a rural area. This often includes the introduction to the land of certain livestock.

In a rural countryside area, there are a lot of dog breeds that will adapt well to living. Some, however, were specifically bred to prosper living a farming lifestyle. They seem to be robust and guided dogs that love the great outdoors. They could be outstanding herders, watchdogs, catchers of vermin, or all-rounders for multipurpose purposes.

Below are ten breeds of dogs that are deemed a good fit for farm life.


The Airedale is the largest of all the terrier types, and they were typically bred to serve as flexible, all-around farm dogs.

They have the natural terrier prey drive and make outstanding vermin catchers, but they are also keen protectors of their patch and can help drive livestock with the right training.

Airedales are more autonomous than some of the dogs on this list, and strong-willed. When it comes to preparation, persistence and constructive rewards will be important. You would even have to keep them away from a coveted vegetable field, notorious for being prolific diggers!

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 22 to 24

WEIGHT: between 40 and 65 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Strong, wiry, thick, straight, short topcoat with a softer undercoat; tan on the head and ears, and a combination of tan and black or dark grizzle on the body; distinctive beard, and the largest of the terrier breeds

Australian Cattle Dog

You’re not going to find a more resilient or dedicated candidate for the job than the Australian Cattle Dog if you have animals that need to be pushed over long distances.

They got this tag, also known as Heelers, because they lead the livestock by nipping at their feet. They are profoundly loyal, smart and willing to please.

Aussie Heelers will not, however, be for any farmstead. Such dogs need a lot of exercise and can quickly become bored if they are kept most of the day within the limits of the house.

They’re notorious for being territorial as well. If you’re looking for a watchdog, this can be beneficial, but careful socialisation would be needed to avoid being a problem with their protecting instincts.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: 18 to 20 (male) inches; 17 to 19 (male) inches (female)

WEIGHT: Pounds 35 to 50

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Smooth, strong double-coat; athletic, muscular and large dog; coat colour is typically blue, blue mottled or blue speckled; often comes in a less common red speckled range.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds were produced in the U.S., despite the name, as smart, energetic and loyal herders. They have been linked to herding cattle on the high plains of the American West for a long time.

They tend to be affectionate and happy to please, ensuring the breed gets plenty of exercise and enrichment. They can be shy around strangers, so it will be crucial for early and ongoing socialisation.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 18 to 23

WEIGHT: between 40 and 65 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Medium-sized, athletic and agile with a blue merle, black, red merle and red medium-long straight to wavy coat, both with or without white markings.

Collie Border

The Border Collie would no doubt come to mind when you think of the perfect herding breed. Built for their natural ability and drive to herd sheep on the Scottish/English Border, they continue to be widely used throughout the world as working farm dogs.

The Border Collie is the smartest of all dog breeds, many critics say, and they are known for their discipline, unfailing loyalty and willingness to please.

The work ethic of a Border Collie is extremely powerful, and ensuring that they have a job to do will help them to prosper. This is why they often make outstanding sporting dogs, sometimes engaging in activities like agility and flyball at the highest level.

Problem habits will easily emerge if a Border Collie isn’t held suitably physically and mentally enriched.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 18 to 22

WEIGHT: Pounds 28 to 48

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Medium-sized; medium-length double coat rough or smooth; body slightly longer than tall; long head that comes to a point on the nose with erect ears and curling tips over the nose.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

One of the smallest sheep breeds is the low-slung Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Established in rural Wales to herd cattle and guard the farm, they became more popular with Queen Elizabeth II as a result of their success.

Smart, hard-working and affectionate dogs are Corgis. They are not as intense or energetic as some of the breeds on this list, and this makes them not just a farmyard setting, but a common family pet.

However, they do require plenty of exercise and socialisation. They may be prolific barkers of warning, may nip on running heels for girls, and may be wary of strangers.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 10 to 12

WEIGHT: Pounds 24 to 30

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long, low-set dog, short, muscular legs, stubby tail and erect pointy ears; black and white, red, sable, or fawn, medium-length double coat (all colors are typically seen with white markings)


For their badger hunting ability, this German dog breed was originally created. To capture rabbits, mice and other smaller prey, the mini version was more widely used.

As a vermin catcher on a farm, this makes them a good choice. They can also make good watchdogs, even if their alarm barking doesn’t become repetitive, you have to watch.

Dachshunds, predictably, love to dig, considering their history. They could dig under fences, into chicken coops, or into your well-tended vegetable patch if this isn’t held in check. You will have to focus on redirecting this activity to a specified and suitable place if you do not want this to cause issues on your steading.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 5 to 9

WEIGHT: A maximum of 32 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short, long body; coat that is fluffy, wire-haired, or long-haired; chocolate, tan, black, red, and more colours

Shepherd of the Netherlands

Often the Dutch Shepherd, also referred to as the Dutch Herder, gets confused with their German Shepherds. Surprisingly, the less well-known and brindle-only breed is usually considered easier to train.

These dogs were valued for being versatile all-rounders, although they were bred for their herding abilities. To guard farms and pull carts, they will be used.

Dutchies, considered to be loyal, affectionate and eager to please, can also make excellent companion dogs. Just enough physical and mental enrichment needs to be provided to them.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 22.5 to 24.5 (males); inches 21.5 to 235 (females)

WEIGHT: Pounds 45 to 75

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Varieties with short, long and rough coatings and brindle colouring

The Great Pyrenees

If you are looking for a family-friendly dog that, even in cold climates, makes an outstanding livestock or farmyard protector, look no further than the Great Pyrenees.

In the mountainous area between France and Spain where they originate, Pyrs are still used to guard livestock to this day.

These dogs, including kids, are known for being calm, affectionate and loyal to their family. While they are known for being gentle with those they know, they are great watchdogs as well. Their noisy bark can, however, become a problem if not held in check.

Prys can be docile to those they meet, but they are also known for being stubborn and strong-willed, which may mean that when it comes to training, it may take more patience.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 26 to 32 (male); inches 25 to 29 (female)

WEIGHT: approximately 100 pounds (male); approximately 85 pounds (female)

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Dense double coat, weather-resistant, usually all white, but often with light grey, red, tan or badger markings; males have a pronounced ruff around their neck in particular.

Shepherd of Germany

The German Shepherd is well known for being a working dog that is versatile and intelligent. There is a good explanation why the police, the military, search and rescue teams, security agencies, and service and assistance dogs are widely used.

GSDs can also make good multi-purpose farm dogs who are smart, hard-working, highly trainable, trustworthy and protective. They have good natural abilities for guarding and herding.

To get the best from your GSD, lots of positive reinforcement training is needed. Their guarding characteristics may become excessive if they are not held in check, and if you want to ensure that they get along with other dogs, they will need sufficient socialisation.

Overview of Breed
HEIGHT: inches 22 to 26

WEIGHT: between 60 and 100 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Broad, double-coated athletic construction consisting of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight tan outer coat with black or red and black coloration.

Terrier Jack Russell

If you have a barn, stable or other farmyard building that you want to keep free of rodents, then it might be the ideal family addition to the Jack Russell Terrier.

Jacks have bags of personality and love to play with extremely proficient, courageous and determined vermin catchers.

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