While choosing a chicken-friendly dog breed is a great first step, Ben says “strict training and patience is the key to a harmonious relationship.” It is also important to ensure that dogs are supervised around free-ranging chickens and that there is a safe and secure chook pen to retreat to in the morning and evening.
7 dog breeds that won't kill chickens
1. Golden Retriever
While Golden Retrievers can be great with chickens, they will require some initial training. “They will rapidly learn to let the chicken be,” says Ben, adding, “They’re also a loving pet.”
2. Border Collie
The natural herding instinct of Border Collies make them perfect chicken companions. “With some extra training, Border Collies will automatically follow commands to become flawless herders,” says Ben.
3. German Shepherd
“A German shepherd dog may have the initial drive to harm,” says Ben, “but with rigorous and strict training to eliminate dangerous behaviours, this breed of dog can become a great protector of chickens.”
4. Kangal Dog
“Kangal dogs are amazing at sensing predators,” says Ben, which makes them excellent at guarding both your chook pen and your home. “They are incredibly smart, loyal, affectionate and calm with children.”
5. Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolian Shepherds were bred specifically to protect livestock, which makes them excellent chicken companions. These dogs are “naturals” at guarding your hens, says Ben.
“These dogs are swift runners and quickly approach predators. They are also extremely intellectual so with strict training will be a go-to.”
6. Maremma Sheepdog
Professional free-range chicken farmers often enlist the help of Maremma sheepdogs to protect and herd their chickens, so if it’s good enough for them, it could be good enough for you! These dogs have a calm nature, says Ben.
“They will protect your chooks from danger and their strong physique and thick coat acts as a protection shield as a chicken guardian.” These dogs also make great family pets, which is an added bonus.
7. Tibetan Mastiff
If you live on a larger property, you may need a large dog to keep the peace. “The Tibetan Mastiff is chook-friendly and has the ability to manage and adapt to all types of temperatures,” says Ben.
Known to be stubborn at times, Tibetan Mastiffs will require thorough training initially. “Rest assured, your chooks will be kept safe at any time during the day or evening as this dog is nocturnal,” says Ben.