Farm Dogs

My dogs give me so much. They are my faithful companions and are wherever I am, lying beside me when I’m at rest and beside me when I’m doing chores. They keep the chickens off the back porch and let me know if one of them is in trouble. This morning Shane pushed the hungry mob of ewes and lambs back so I could scatter the hay for them. He’s learning how much pressure to put on the newly acquired Shetlands to move them back but not headlong into the fences. Also, how far back to stay to keep them from becoming confrontational. We are finding the Shetlands are similar to goats in their responses to the dog. They are quite different than our commercial flock, so the dog has to learn to shift gears.
When the feeder pigs arrive the dog will move them into a separate pen each day so I can refill food and water without them underfoot. They quickly learn the purpose of the job at hand and pitch in to help.

This post is prompted by the fact that Annie is getting ready to have her pups and it is hard to for me to concentrate on the duckweed post I had planned. If she isn’t trying to crawl in my lap, she is looking for an alternative whelping spot other than the wonderful (in my estimation) place already prepared for her. Now, she must be walked on a leash when she asks to go out. Otherwise, she tries to dig a hole under the woodpile or veranda to make a nest of her choosing.
There are various breeds of farm dogs; mine are English Shepherds. They excel as all-around chore dogs.  A 1950 Purina Farm Dog book lists the German Shorthaired Pointer as an All-Purpose farm dog. It lists the breed’s talents as cattle dog, rodent control, guard and companion. It also chronicles its hunting and retrieving prowess and states that the breed was developed on the farm for farmers. I never knew that. Another surprise was that the Airedale Terrier isn’t included in the farm dog breeds; I thought they still held a farm niche in the ’50s.
What’s your favorite dog breed?
Herding Dogs: Selecting and Training the Working Farm Dog (Country Dog)

Working Sheep Dogs: A Practical Guide to Breeding, Training and Handling

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Farm Dogs — 10 Comments

  1. Thanks, Kris. We are excited, too:) Yes they are Shane x Annie pups. She was in pre-labor all day yesterday and started whelping early this morning. I think she is done now with 4 of each.

  2. She ended up with 11, six boys and five girls. I leave 1/2 the litter with her for a couple of hours and put the other 1/2 in a warming basket. That way everyone will get their fair share and nobody will get squished.
    Sorry no puppy cam:(

  3. Oh my goodness! Eleven puppies?? wow! Are we going to see some pictures? I bet they are so cute. Do you sell these farm dogs? BTW, did you get my paypal payment for the comfrey starts? We are still swimming in rain, rain and more rain here!


  4. Hey Tammy,
    I think cute is in the eye of the beholder:) To me, they don’t look like much at this age. Lots of people differ with me and really take to the newborns. There will be pictures though.
    Yes, we do sell them. Pictures of last years litter is on our website.
    I did get payment for the comfrey, thank you. The constant rain is what’s holding back the comfrey root harvest. Surely, there must be some end in sight! When it clears I’ll be out there digging up roots and mailing them out.

  5. I would love to get a starter of your comfrey. Is it hard to grow or does it do well if watered daily till it takes hold good? I am 54 and I am trying to homestead right just like you. I’m on my own pretty much my mom helps and my Husband totes the feed. But all chores of growing and mulcning are mine. I have 50 birds and 6 ducks. 12 rabbits. What a brood LOL. Onemoreday

  6. Hi Diane,

    Here is picture (emailed) of Beatrice from your 2011 litter and she is a cutie- very smart as is the big boy next to her, Starman from Annie and Shane’s 2010 litter. Boy am I a lucky owner to have two such wonderful dogs. Bea is now 8 months an attending “adult” classes in TC. Very sociable, eager to learn and easy-going. We use a big rubber ball for her exercise and play soccer. Star uses the Frisbee of course and what an athlete! Our thanks and gratitude. Deb

  7. Thanks for the picture of the dogs. They sure are pretty! Bea and Starman are fortunate to have such a loving, engaged owner and to get double love from your mom, too.