Farm dogs are a great addition to any homestead for various reasons, so we’ve compiled the top 8 that we think are best suited for a homestead.
If you’d like your homestead to stay guarded at all times, even when you’re absent, then perhaps consider having a farm dog keeping watch for you.
Many believe that camera systems and fences are enough to keep their property protected, but these can only get you so far.
This is why I recommend that you consider adopting a farm dog, which can help guard your property, even when you’re not home.
If you are a prepper, this is even more significant, as you likely have preps on your homestead that can be stolen or tampered with.
The likelihood of this happening with a guard dog drops significantly. This is not the only use of a farm dog, however. They can also be used to herd livestock for you, saving time and energy.
Plus, it’s good to have a companion around, especially if you live on the homestead alone. I’ve made a list of 8 farm dogs, all of which I believe are the best options that fit these criteria best.
8 Best Farm Dogs For Your Homestead
1: Caucasian Shepherd
Number one is the Caucasian Shepard. This dog breed is best for protection, as it is the only dog known to kill a Wolf by itself. Caucasian Shepard’s are not dogs for novice dog owners.
They’re also used to protect livestock from bears, proven to fight off bears much bigger than themselves, which is probably the most dangerous animal that livestock would ever face in most cases.
These dogs are virtually the toughest dogs on earth, packed full of muscle, strength, and stubbornness if not trained right.
They are incredibly loyal, however, both to their territory and family. There is virtually no animal that could bring one of these giants down in most areas.
You can stay rest assured that your property and the livestock inside it will be protected if you have one of these gentle yet fierce giants on your property.
2: Border Collie
These dogs are among the smartest in the world, having intelligence like no other. They’re known for their ability to adapt and learn rapidly.
Border Collies are best used for herding livestock. They’re fast on their feet and, as said before, learn very quickly, which means herding will come fast.
They are also great family dogs, so if you have small children, this dog would be a great addition nonetheless.
They’re pretty low maintenance and won’t eat up as much food as some larger dogs on this list.
They can offer some protection to smaller intruders like raccoons, but they cannot compare to the more giant breeds here, but they’re great all-around dogs nevertheless.
3: German Shepherd
German Shepard dogs are some of the most famous in the United States due to their large presence in the Police Force; they’re even used overseas by the U.S. Military.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that these dogs are great protectors; after all, they take down grown men every day on behalf of our police.
While they cannot compare to the Caucasian Shepard or Kangal, for example, they can still do damage to medium-sized intruders.
They’re not typically used for herding, but this can be done if you train them well enough.
Training them should be easy, as they are brilliant and listen well to commands. German Shepard’s are also an excellent family pet, as they get along great with children.
4: Great Pyrenees
These giants are best used for livestock protection and herding. In fact, Great Pyrenees were bred for this very reason.
First and foremost, they’re great for livestock herding; they may be massive, but they’re also swift and agile.
They are also great protectors; while they may be gentle giants, they’re still giants. They have a powerful jaw full of large teeth waiting on an intruder.
The great Pyrenees are typically quiet and lazy mannered, but when they are put to work, they will work until they can’t anymore.
The loyalty that these dogs show for their family is right up there at the top, making the Great Pyrenees one of the best homestead dogs you can get.
Kangals are right up in size with the Caucasian Shepard, coming in at a close second, although this is debatable.
They’re typically used to protect livestock from all types of large intruders, such as coyotes, small bears, and more.
One thing that Kangals have the edge over Caucasian Shepherds is that they’re a bit faster on their feet, which means they could chase a fast intruder.
They’re also lower maintenance than Caucasian Shepherds, but they still require an experienced dog owner.
These dogs are very loyal and an A-class protector, but you should have them trained very well if you ever adopt one of these giants.
6: Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolian Shepard’s are excellent for protection, as they are powerful and fast in a burst but cannot run for extended periods.
They don’t have stamina like other dogs, similar to Dobermans, so that they won’t make a good herding dog.
They provide a significant amount of protection, though, as they are large and robust with traits similar to the other Shepard’s listed here.
A good trait about the Anatolian Shepard is that it’s very territorial, continually paying attention to its surrounding,s making sure nothing is trespassing.
They listen well to commands and are typically easy to train, and are great for most people. If you raise them from puppies around children, they can be grown into great family dogs, too.
7: Old English Sheepdog
If you want a dog with fantastic herding abilities, especially if you live in a cool climate, then the Old English Sheepdog would be a great addition.
They’re known for their exceedingly high ability to learn and listen well to commands, making them a comfortable dog to train.
They can be used to protect livestock, too, but do not expect them to compare to the larger dogs in this list, like the Kangal.
They have lots of stamina and can work for hours, provided they do not get overheated in warmer climates.
They have long fur, which means it’ll require more maintenance than most other dogs here, but otherwise, it is an excellent choice for any homestead, even novices.
8: Doberman Pinscher
Known for their tall and upright structure, Dobermans are some of the best dogs around, commonly used as guard dogs, especially on larger estates.
They’re brilliant and agile and can sprint. They do very well with commands and provide loyalty to their family like no other.
These dogs are simple yet full of energy and intuition, making them excellent dogs for protecting your homestead and the livestock within.
Their intimidating appearance is enough to discourage most intruders, but if one finds enough bravery to enter the land, the strong jaws of the Doberman will take care of it.
They are not usually used for herding, but I suppose with enough training, they could perhaps provide this useful skill when needed.
Homestead Dangers For Dogs
I’ve spent a fair share of my life on farms, frequently off-grid, hours away from the city.
In this time, I’ve learned that no matter how challenging a dog is, they’re not immune to danger. The first thing you should be careful of is snakes.
Humans understand to watch for these, but dogs do not understand this, so if you do end up adopting a dog of any size, be sure to snake-proof your property first.
Most homesteads have some type of garden on them, and in some cases, the crops that are being grown may be poisonous to your dog. Grapes, for one, are deadly to dogs.
Many types of products are, so it’s important to block this area away from the dog; this way, he cannot access this area. Also, never feed your dog foods grown in the garden unless you are sure it is safe.
I’ve seen dogs pass by being treated with a veggie, and it did not end well; this was a mistake made by fellow off-grid than could have been avoided.
I’ve heard of individuals keeping fertilizer of all kinds openly accessible to dogs, which can be fatal.
Fertilizer isn’t something we think would be delicious to dogs, but being that many dogs are mischiefs, it’s not a surprise. You should never have this or any other dangerous chemicals reachable to dogs.
If you have equipment on your homestead, be sure to put all antifreeze or any other products that could be deadly to dogs out of sight and smell.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Need A Farm Dog?
Farm dogs are great for many reasons, especially on a homestead. For starters, a homestead is likely to have many aspects that could be destroyed, tampered with, or stolen.
Crops can be damaged, the equipment can be stolen from your property, and your livestock can be put in danger from wild animals.
Farm dogs can protect by preventing theft, damage to property, or attack of the livestock. You can’t expect your eyes to be fixed to the homestead at all times, which is why having a farm dog on the homestead could help in such a big way.
Which Farm Dog Is Best For Me?
If it’s for livestock or property protection, then the larger dogs, such as the Kangal, Caucasian Shepard, or Great Pyrenees, will work great.
However, if you want to have a farm dog to assist you with herding the livestock together, hen the smaller, more agile dogs like the Old English Sheepdog, Doberman, or the Border Collie would be best.
If you want an all-in-one, the German Shepard is excellent. The others are best for protection from intruders and simple herding.
Where Can I Find A Specific Breed?
The best way to get any dog is by locating shelters and adopting dogs that do not have a home. However, we realize that some dogs are hard to find.
The larger dogs like the Caucasian Shepherds, Kangal and Anatolian Shepard are niche dogs, so in many cases, you have to buy them from breeders.
Otherwise, you can look here, which will give you a few sources great for locating these breeds. I do not recommend getting a Caucasian Shepard or Kangal as a first, second, or even third dog unless you are very prepared.
Homesteads are great as they provide just about every resource needed to live. Food, water, and off-grid electricity can all be sourced from within the property.
All of this could be stolen, damaged, or worse if the right intruder entered the land, which is why having a farm dog is such a good idea.
They are also excellent to herd the livestock together, which would otherwise take much more time.
Many of these dogs love herding, and actually, some of them get excited when they were alerted that herding is atonement.
If you have other dog breed suggestions, we’d love to hear them in the comments. Happy Homesteading!