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Choosing the Right Dog for a Rural Environment

While rural living can be highly rewarding, there are plenty of unique challenges that come with the territory. Whether you need help controlling your chickens or scaring away those pesky rodents, dogs can be one of the most helpful assets available in places where sidewalks aren’t the norm.

Before you go looking for a dog to adopt, know what type of dog you are looking for.

Best Breeds for Rural Life

With so many breeds to choose from, knowing what tasks you need your dog to handle is key to finding the right dog for you. According to Modern Farmer, there are two main groups of breeds that work best on a farm or rural area where there might be animals: Herding and livestock guardians.

The difference is in how each type of dog views livestock. Herding dogs see a flock of sheep as prey (though they won’t attack them), and will bunch and guide them. Guardian dogs, usually raised with livestock from a young age, will view them as part of their pack and therefore protect them at all costs. Most dogs excel at just one task or the other. Herding dogs can stay near the family, while guardian dogs generally stay in the fields — though no working dog is meant to be kept in the home full-time.

Most common herding breeds

When people are looking for a dog to help out on their property, they will most likely first look at herding breeds. These dependable dogs have a great combination of qualities that pair well for rural living needs: Natural instincts and easy trainability.

Some commonly seen breeds that flourish in a rural environment include:

Most common livestock guardian breeds

If you’re looking for a more durable dog that can handle larger animals or heavy-duty tasks, a livestock guardian may be right for you.

Some commonly seen livestock guardian breeds include:

Working Dogs vs. Show Dogs

Even though a dog may be adorable as a puppy, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will grow to be the right dog for your environment and needs. Whether you’re searching for a buddy to run in the woods or a reliable farmhand, understand that a show dog is not a working dog. Even though a border collie is typically a great breed for farm work, if he or she is from show-dog parents, chances are good that those natural instincts or herding traits may have been weeded out.

According to Off the Grid News, a great way to make sure you’re off to a great start with your country canine is to work with breeders who raise working dogs.

Nutrition is key, no matter the environment

Nutrition is key to a successful and happy dog, so feeding them a balanced diet made specifically for their activity levels is important. When looking for food for your working dog, look for highly digestible ingredients that support muscle tissue, stamina and energy.

Healthy food for your dog doesn’t need to cost a fortune. There are plenty of nutritional options available that are affordable yet dependable. Find out which Diamond product is right for your pup!

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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