Ranch Dogs

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Ranch Dogs

This is a discussion on Ranch Dogs within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Good dog breeds for horse ranches

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    03-26-2013, 07:41 PM
Ranch Dogs

My two Ranch dogs are on their last legs. They are both yellow labs. I am looking for another dog to replace them:) I am looking for a breed that is easy to train, not rare, and one that can come with me to my horse events and on the trail. What breed do you suggest? I am leaning towards an Australian shepherd. What kinds of dogs have you had good experiences with?

This is an Australian Shepherd. I love their coloring
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    03-26-2013, 07:49 PM
I like heelers. Red or blue. Very smart, but HAVE to have something to do. They learn fast, small, very ruggedly built, and natural around livestock.
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    03-26-2013, 09:28 PM
I like heelers, aussies and border collies for farm dogs. The farm I kept my horses at for a while had an aussie, two german shorthair pointers, an old basset hound and a JRT. The pointers were good dogs, too.
    03-26-2013, 09:29 PM
I'm a fan of border collies myself
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    03-26-2013, 09:36 PM
Green Broke
Both Aussies and healers are awesome dogs, but are herders. You will need to teach them not to heal or herd your horses or at shows. I own a Jack a dobie and a German shepherd. They are all gentle with my animals but the jack is too high strung to go to the barn, bc she doesn't know those animals well. A golden retriever, shepherd or oddly enough labradoodle are all great dogs too.
My boys don't go to shows bc they are large and intimidating to others.
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    03-26-2013, 09:59 PM
Personally, I LOVE my Australian Cattle Dog. He is super intelligent, loyal and a fantastic watch dog. He's our alert system for when the sheep start lambing, if an animal is out or if something isn't right. They do have to be thoroughly socialized as a puppy. I got mine when he was a bit older and we're still working through some difficulties. I would thoroughly research any breed before getting a new puppy. The Cattle dogs are very mouthy and may not work well with a bunch of little kids.

The Australian Shepherds are also great dogs. We've had two mixes and they were both very sensitive, super intelligent dogs. Great with kids and people. Neither of them were big fans of large animals, preferring sheep and people to horses and cows. But that might have just been them.

Any of the herding breeds require lots of time and training. They can be destructive if bored and work best if given a job to do. And of course... they will be most destructive on the most expensive piece of tack in the barn.... every time.
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    03-26-2013, 11:36 PM
When my mom was growing up they kept the horses in a 20 acre pasture. They had an aussie named chip, and used to say 'chip, go get the horses!' And he'd bring them to the barn.
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    03-27-2013, 12:06 AM
Heelers are awesome! Definitely need to be socialised as a pup though, both with other people and dogs. They are a working dog, very smart, super trainable but don't expect to leave them in a small backyard for ages and still have everything in its place when you get home.

They are also seriously hardy, and are great at catching unwanted guests like mice and rats.

They're also very protective of their people and their property, and can be very vocal guard dogs.

My darling greyhound is in the pic as well, not really suited for going out on big long rides though, but are super dogs. Incredibly loyal, gentle dogs, really patient and good with kids. Terrible guard dogs.
    03-27-2013, 12:19 AM
Go to a local animal shelter and size up the selection, or try contacting a rescue group to see if they have any animals with a working background available. :)
    03-27-2013, 12:22 AM
Green Broke
I have found dog breeds to be some what of a regional preference.
I am partial to black and whites, a BC cross of some sorts. But look at what is available in your area and remember when choosing a working dog breed you need to match its energy and/or create a job for him. Otherwise they find their own job(which is one they shouldn't have) or become neurotic.
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