7 Guard Dog Breeds to Protect Backyard Chickens from Foxes

Guard Dogs to Protect Backyard Chicken

Having backyard chickens is so much fun! As their keeper, you naturally want to keep your feathered friends safe and sound. But let’s face it, keeping those sneaky predators at bay can be quite the challenge.

Foxes, in particular, are the stuff of nightmares for anyone with a chicken coop. Imagine the heartbreak of discovering a fox has visited your backyard, leaving behind a trail of sorrow by harming your beloved chickens. These clever creatures are known for their sharp wits and are found all over, making them a common threat to our poultry pals.

But don’t lose hope! Beyond just building a sturdy coop, did you know there are dogs specially trained to protect your chickens? Yes, livestock guardian dogs are here to save the day! In this article, we’ll introduce you to the top 7 guardian dog breeds that are perfect for safeguarding your chicken flock. Get ready to meet the fluffy heroes who’ll keep those cunning foxes at bay and bring peace to your backyard.

7 Guard Dogs to Protect Backyard Chickens from Foxes

1. Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Guard Dogs to Protect Backyard Chickens from Foxes

Anatolian Shepherds, with their roots going back to the Bronze Age, are the perfect guardians for your backyard chickens. Known for their strong and watchful nature, these dogs love their independence and are more than happy to keep an eye on your flock for hours. They’re smart, always on the alert, and will quickly let you know if something’s up, making them fantastic at keeping those sneaky foxes away.

While they might not be the most cuddly pets, their loyalty to their family and the animals they guard is unmatched. Anatolian Shepherds are also very agile, despite their size, which is great for chasing off any unwelcome visitors.

They need a confident owner who can guide them with a firm hand, but if you’re up for it, they’ll be a valuable and protective member of your family, keeping your chickens and even children safe with care and precision.

2. Great Pyrenees

Guard Dogs to Protect Backyard Chickens

The Great Pyrenees, a favorite among Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD breeds) in America, boasts an impressive lineage from the Pyrenees mountains, bordering Spain and France. These ancient guardians worked closely with farmers to protect livestock animals from predators.

Characterized by their Zen-like calm and mellow demeanor, the Great Pyrenees remains vigilant, always ready to defend its charges against any threat. This breed is known for its incredible patience and courage, making it an ideal protector for your chickens, unfazed by their constant clucking.

Not only are they excellent guardians, but the Great Pyrenees also integrate seamlessly into family life, thanks to their calm, intelligent, and friendly nature. This makes them an ideal choice if you’re looking for a guardian that won’t scare away friends, family, delivery folks, or clients. However, like all large working dogs, they thrive on rigorous training and having a job to do, ensuring they remain happy and fulfilled.

3. Old English Sheepdog

Guard Dogs to Protect  Chickens from Foxes

Old English Sheepdogs are nimble, watchful, and alert, combining their large size and shaggy coats to create a formidable look that can deter predators. Despite their name suggests a focus on sheep, these dogs were originally bred for herding cattle, proving their fearlessness even with bigger animals.

Their intelligence makes them highly trainable, and their friendly nature ensures they fit perfectly within a family setting, posing no threat to your chicken flock. They often use barking as a way to manage and communicate, ensuring everyone stays in line. While they’re mostly cooperative and eager to please, their strong-willed nature means they can sometimes be a bit stubborn.

It’s essential, as noted by WebMD, to provide ample space for these large dogs. They thrive in environments where they can roam and play outdoors within a secured yard but should primarily reside indoors with the family.

4. Kuvasz

Guard Dogs to Protect Chickens

The Kuvasz, a large livestock guardian dog with a majestic thick white coat, traces its roots back to Hungarian royalty. These dogs are not only striking in appearance but also agile and dedicated protectors of their families. Bred for guarding livestock, they are perfectly suited for keeping your chickens safe from foxes. They have a keen sense for discerning intentions, making them vigilant guardians.

Their protective instinct means they’re quick to alert you to any unfamiliar people or noises, though their deep bark might not be neighbor-friendly, especially during their nocturnal watch.

Kuvasz need plenty of daily exercise and thrive in spacious environments. If you’re ready to commit to long walks and ample playtime, a Kuvasz could be a great fit. This intelligent breed is eager to learn and responds well to training that is patient and gentle, reflecting their sensitive nature.

5. Komondor

Guard Dogs

The Komondor stands out in the world of livestock guardian dogs with its distinctive, dreadlocked coat. This larger breed‘s robust bark makes it an excellent defender of your chickens against foxes. At first glance, it’s clear that the Komondor harbors no ill will towards humans or birds. Although they may engage in playful behavior that can get a bit rough, they always ensure the safety of your chickens.

Komondors possess a naturally calm demeanor, yet they display fearlessness in protection. Their independence means they often take the lead in decision-making, highlighting the importance of early and consistent obedience training.

Inherently self-reliant, the Komondor thrives in open spaces, sometimes posing a challenge in more confined, domestic settings. Nevertheless, they integrate well with families and other pets, balancing their protective duties with being a loving part of the household.

6. Kangal 

Guard Dogs for Chickens

The Kangal, a majestic and powerful breed from Turkey, stands among the most ancient livestock guardians. Kangals are bred to protect livestock from formidable predators such as wolves, jackals, and bears. Known for their loyalty and affection towards their human families, Kangals use intimidation as their primary defense strategy. Under the vigilant care of a Kangal, chickens and other livestock are safe from harm.

Their coats are weather-resistant, offering protection against both cold and heat, embodying their natural protective instincts. When faced with a threat, a Kangal’s instinct is to position itself between the danger and its charges, often deterring predators with its mere presence. Yet, should the situation escalate, they are fully capable of standing their ground.

Kangals have a unique preference for nocturnal activity, aligning their vigilance with the times predators are most likely to strike. Beyond their prowess as guardians, Kangals make wonderful family pets, showing particular fondness for children. They excel when working in pairs, forming deep, enduring bonds.

7. Akbash 

dogs to protect chickens from foxes

The Akbash, hailing from Turkey, is a guard dog breed known for its large stature and surprising agility for its size. These dogs are known for their independent spirit and protective instincts, often alerting their owners to any disturbances with their loud barking. While this “alarm bark” might be challenging in a neighborhood setting, it’s incredibly useful for keeping chickens safe.

Their independent nature means Akbash dogs are less prone to separation anxiety, though they may need extra help with socialization to get along well with other pets and people.

Ideal for those with ample outdoor space, the Akbash thrives in environments where it can freely patrol and guard. If your property is home to a flock needing protection, an Akbash could be the perfect fit, offering peace of mind and diligent surveillance.

Steps to Train a Dog to Guard Chickens

Steps to Train a Dog to Guard Chickens
  • Start by teaching your dog to respect the chickens.
  • Use a leash and maintain distance to help your dog get used to the chickens without stress.
  • Keep the dog moving if it starts to focus too much on the chickens.
  • Be patient; this process requires plenty of time.
  • Slowly let your dog get closer to the chickens over time.
  • Opt for short, regular training sessions instead of long, sporadic ones.
  • Be mindful when using treats as rewards.
  • Pay attention to your dog’s reactions and adjust accordingly.
  • Always closely monitor interactions between your dog and the chickens.

Alternative Ways To Keep Backyard Chickens Safe From Foxes

Alternative Ways To Keep Backyard Chickens
  • Secure Fencing: A 6-foot high fence with an outward-sloping top works best. Bury it to prevent digging and use hardwire mesh for durability.
  • Lock up Your Hens Nightly: Use an automatic door opener for your coop to ensure it’s securely closed at night and opened in the morning.
  • Coop Security: Make sure your coop is completely safe from predators, without any gaps or holes.
  • Monthly Checks: Regularly inspect your fencing, coop, and any security devices for signs of wear or tampering.
  • Lighting: Flashing lights can deter foxes, but be mindful of neighbors in urban areas.
  • Stay Vigilant: Regularly change your routine and keep an eye out for potential threats.

Conclusion

Whether you’re raising chickens on a sprawling farm or in a cozy backyard, choosing the right guard dog can make all the difference. From the vigilant Akbash to the quick-footed hunting dog breeds, there’s a perfect match for every setting.

These good chicken guard dog breeds not only excel at protecting livestock and guarding chickens against cunning foxes but also become amazing family companions. With their help, you can protect and raise chickens with peace of mind and ensure your feathered friends are safe. Embrace the dual benefits of security and companionship with a guard dog by your side.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

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