LIFESTYLE

7 dog breeds that won’t kill chickens

Keep chickens safe and secure with the right canine companion.
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Welcoming a dog into the family becomes a whole lot more complex if you’ve already got a group of clucky hens taking up residence in the backyard.

WATCH: How to keep pet chickens healthy and happy with Dr Harry

And while an energetic dog might mean well, sometimes they just can’t resist the temptation to worry, chase and – in the worst case scenario – kill your beloved chickens. So are there any dog breeds that won’t kill chickens?

According to Ben Braithwaite, founder of ChickenGuard, the answer is yes. “The most popular dog breeds in Australia that can coexist with pet chickens include Border Collies, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds,” he says. Laying hens are very sensitive to fear, so finding the right canine companion for your chooks is paramount. 

Black and white hen in the backyard. More chickens are visible in the background.
(Credit: Kristina Soljo / aremediasyndication.com.au)

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.”

Golden Retriever puppy with Isa Brown hen
With training, Golden Retrievers make great chicken companions. (Credit: Getty)

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.

Border Collie guarding chicken coop
Border Collies have a natural herding instinct which makes them great for keeping chickens safe. (Credit: Getty)

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.”

German Shepherd watching over chickens and ducks
A German Shepherd watches over chickens and ducks. (Credit: Getty)

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.”

Kangal Dog puppy with a black hen
Kangal dogs will protect chickens from predators. (Credit: Getty)

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.”

Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolian Shepherds were bred specifically to protect livestock. (Credit: Getty)

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.

Maremma sheepdog sitting in a field of flowers
Maremma sheepdogs are a favourite among professional free-range chicken farmers. (Credit: Getty)

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.

Tibetan Mastiff on top of a bail of hay
Tibetan Mastiffs are nocturnal and will protect chooks from predators overnight. (Credit: Getty)

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