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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A conversation I had with my dog-loving younger sister: whether horses or dogs are more useful. I contended that horses are more useful and she dogs.

Despite my older, wiser voice of reason :)lol:) she refused to relent. My main point was how you could RIDE horses, use them in farming, travel, and the police force, their intimate history with human civilisation, and so on. She maintained dogs were also necessary in farming (herding animals), used in the police more than horses, and could be used for travel (although nobody really uses the husky sleighs she was talking about...) In the police part, I suppose she has a point, but I can't merit that they are any more useful in farming or that they are even at all useful in travel. She also said they could be trained to do more (this, IMO, is clearly false as we teach out horses riding with some quite subtle and complicated aids and we need them to learn respect, stand still, pick up hooves, tie nicely, ground manners, longing...)

So, are horses more useful? Or are dogs? Personally it's horses all the way, but who do you agree with and why?
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In today's society, for the majority of people, neither one is really "useful" in the traditional sense. Who cares? I love my horses and my dogs....I'd hate to have to choose one over the other. However, as a money pit...horses win hands (hooves?) down!
 

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I think they are both useful just in different ways. Why argue about which is better or more useful. Why not appreciate both for their use in different ways?
I have both, and I agree. They really arent a comparable animal, in my opinion. I appreciate them both for what they do.
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And a pickup truck is more useful than a locomotive....depending on what your goal is. It could easily be the other way around. As suggested above, both useful, but in different ways.

Both have their purposes. MOST people would find a dog more useful than a horse because they have no purpose for a horse, but those who appreciate what a horse can do (especially those who use them as part of their job) would quickly disagree.

And that's when the argument goes full circle.
 

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My dogs are pets, but they also are a great alarm system. They don't bark unless there is something I need to go check. One got me out of bed some years back at 2AM...turned out a neighbor's house was on fire. I called the Fire Department. The neighbor wasn't home, so no one was hurt. The house was a total loss.

Another time, there was a rattlesnake in our house...at midnight! No idea how it got in, and it wasn't very big. My dog just looked at me as if to say, "I found him, now YOU do something!" In the end, I opened the door and used a long broom to slide it across our tile floor and back into the desert.

2 years ago, my 79 year old aunt had someone come to her door during an Indiana winter night supposedly selling cosmetics. She turned the girl away. A minute later, her little 8 lb dog went nuts. My aunt grabbed a revolver in time to confront a guy in a mask trying to force open the door. The guy ran. Without her little dog's warning, there wouldn't have been time for her to react.

So in that sense, I think a lot of dogs earn their keep. My horses are for fun. I enjoy them, but they don't do anything useful for me apart from fun. My dogs, however, continue to be a much better alarm system than ADT.

BTW - I understand that many horses DO earn their keep. But I don't own a ranch, while I do own a car. And a truck, which I own so I can haul hay for my horses...who is supporting whom?
 

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in todays world, dogs do win. My dogs are an alarm system, they guard my house, they protect me(5' 4" blond that seems to attract trouble), my car, and my horses when I'm out riding. Multiple times I've been approached by suspicious looking guys only to have my dogs(one of which is a big black pit mix) go uncharacteristically aggressive and 'encourage' the guy to back off. They are also my companions, and a source of entertainment.

also in modern times they are used for police work extensively, bomb sniffing, drug detecting, finding cancer, helping people with blindness, epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder(to name a few), comforting the sick, they excel at guarding, tracking things(both in a police scenario and hunting) they have aided hunters in many ways for thousands of years and still do, as well as being irreplaceable as livestock herders and guardians. In the past they were used frequently as pack animals, or to tow wagons.

horses come in second to me because they are far more expensive feed and maintain, limiting the people who can own them, they are also larger, so cant practically be housed or transported like a dog. My horses are my exercise, recreation and therapy. I have packed and pulled things with them, and I'm sure if the technological world ended they would be irreplaceable for transporting people and goods, pulling a wagon and plowing fields for farming and herding livestock, but at present my dogs are more practical.
 

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Lots of good things have been said about both. The dogs ability to help people with various handicaps to travel, work, and live independently is huge. Alerting people with seizures before they happen is unbelievable. Horse save lives also, and add to the quality of life to. I just don't see the need to say one is greater at the expense of the other.
 

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Well, I would go for the horses definitely!
But until I actually get enough money to own horses for a while I wil just stick with maybe a dog. WIth dogs they eat whatever you eat - at least the one we have now does. She is healthy and hasn't touched dog food at all. Dog food is as it sounds - dog food. Not good for dogs. So, our dogs just eat chicken and meat and yes, veggies with us.
haha
 

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They are both useful in different ways. Look at service dogs for the blind for example. Could a horse fulfill the same job? Probably not. Although it would be funny to see a Haflinger try to squeeze into an elevator :)
 

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...their intimate history with human civilisation...
But as a matter of actual fact, dogs have a far longer history (50,000 years by some estimates) of co-evolving with humans. Neither species would be what they are today without the other.

Indeed, I think it could be argued that without the previous experience of domesticating dogs, and being domesticated by them, humans likely would not have domesticated horses. And isn't it interesting that our horses will live & work in cooperation with our dogs, considering that without humans one would be the natural prey of the other?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Interesting responses, everyone! I suppose I have always considered dogs as pets more than working animals, and certainly hadn't thought about the alarm point, bsms.

I do see the point about apples and oranges, and useful in different ways. Dogs can do things horses just can't, and vice versa. And in today's modern society, we don't really need horses for transport any more.

Flrsgirl, they actually have started using minis as guides because they live longer and apparently there's a bunch of other reasons why too. I don't think any Halflinger's getting into an elevator though :lol:
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Horses for courses (no pun intended!) - I find a Dressage saddle mighty useful, a reiner would find it as useful as tits on a bull.

For the majority, horses are pretty useless other than looking pretty in the paddocks they drive past. And maybe they'll have contact with them in a policing sense - our police horses are primarily ceremonial though they work at big events and in the city on weekends. They're great for riots and to break up big brawls, they just walk straight through the middle and knock people apart.

Dogs in a policing sense are hugely useful. You have general duty dogs (generally german shepherds that track an offender and assist to apprehend them), drug dogs, firearms dogs, fruit dogs, bomb dogs.... they have A LOT of uses!
 

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I think in the modern day dogs are more useful than horses. The majority of horses are kept for hobby or sports. Gone are the days when they are a feasible mode of transport, or even a practical working animal in a lot of circumstances.

In comparison dogs seem to be coming more integrated with society and family.

You could easily argue that horses have far more uses - but these are severely limited by the effects of modernity. When you consider the costs, restrictions and disadvantages of using a horse in the modern day they seem less useful than dogs.

However, were we not talking about modern times it would be a different story.
 

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We owe a lot to the horse.
Battles were fought from his back, he pulled the first ploughs, helped to explore the world, was used for travel.
All this was in the past. Now horses are mostly for recreational purposes. Yes, there are places where horses are still used for work, places where they can go that machinery cannot though with the invention of the ATV that can be disputed!

They are used mainly for our pleasure. Part from the Police, a few heavy horses still used for farm work and ranching, they are basically obsolete in a work sense.

A dog on the other hand is being used for working in more ways than ever before.
Police dogs, sniffer dogs, for drugs and explosives, guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs, sniffer dogs for cancer, assistant dogs for the disabled, working sheep/cattle dogs, guard/protection dogs both for home and stock.

A dog makes a wonderful companion. It offers a loyalty that a horse cannot. It is more forgiving than a horse.

Comparing the two is like comparing chalk and cheese. However, I would say that in today's world, the dog has more practical use than a horse but I would hate to be without either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
^ beautifully said, Foxhunter.

Yes, I think when I was speaking I was considering all ages rather than modern times only. However, could one not argue that without horses we would not be where we are today? Roads and train tracks are all made to wagon width because all transport except walking was horse powered. The nature of war, government, and rule all changed because of horses. Life would be a lot different if we had never used them. We would have no cars or fast transport and our cities would not be as big or industrial because we wouldn't be able to get places - it would be many small towns close together instead. Basically, modernism and industrialism could never exist without the horse.

In this regard, I think horses beat the dogs. But I do hear the chalk and cheese argument. This was all started in fun more than anything :).
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