Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For many people, there is nothing more exciting than adding a new canine member to the household. Most will focus on how that dog will fit in with their lifestyles and home, as they should. They will envision fun trips with their dog, playing fetch, and picture their kids growing up with their newest buddy.

If you’re a farmer or rancher, you need to take a few other things into consideration. For example, if you have any type of livestock or other pets, you have to think about their safety.

  • Are you looking for a “livestock guardian” or a family pet who has a job?
  • Is the dog breed you’re considering usually mellow around barnyard animals or do they want to herd or “work” them?
  • Do you want a working dog that can help out on the farm as well as act as a pet and protector for the family?
Livestock Guardian vs Herding Dog

Livestock guardians are just what the name implies – they are bred to guard the livestock. This usually means that they will be raised with, bonded with, and live outside with their adopted herd or flock. They are almost always mellow animals that are pleasant to be around, but they have an important job to do. Becoming a family pet can often make that job harder, or even impossible for them to perform. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve and want to be loved too, they just won’t be that trip-taking, ball chasing dog from the above scenario.

Herding dogs can be “heelers” who move animals from behind or “gatherers” who circle and direct the herd. Keep in mind that the drive to move animals (and people) is in the genes of herding dogs. It can be a huge benefit OR a hindrance. It is also “always on” so it is best for these particular dogs to have some type of job or activity to do, even if it is just playing fetch with the kids or going on regular walks.

Here are 3 great dog breeds for both farm and family – including excellent herding dogs.

Border Collie

Border collies are a workaholic breed of dog that is also always ready for a hug and some playtime. This energetic, predominantly black and white beauty is known for its agility, eagerness to please, and trainability. Their intelligence makes them an excellent companion as well as a worker on the farm.

With a life expectancy of up to 17 years, these dogs have a long time to charm and entertain their humans. They are a medium-sized breed with the males weighing up to around 45 pounds and the females a few pounds lighter. They can reach heights of around 20+ inches at the shoulder.

With their high play and work drive, Border Collies excel at herding work as well as game playing with the older kids. (It is always a good idea to keep an eye on them with small children as that herding instinct doesn’t always pertain only to livestock.) These dogs are also a favorite on the agility courses due to their natural athleticism and competitive nature.

German Shepherd

One of the most popular and recognizable dog breeds in the world is the German Shepherd. On the larger side, these dogs stand up to 26 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 90 pounds. When part of a loving family, these big babies don’t realize they aren’t a lap dog so early obedience training is a must.

People usually equate German Shepherds with police or security work. Most don’t realize that herding sheep was the job they were initially bred for. Their large size combined with extremely high intelligence and natural ability made them top choices for most other jobs as well. These animals are one of the first to be considered for military, search-and-rescue, and service dog roles.

German Shepherds have a life expectancy of around 7-10 years. They are wonderful family protectors and make excellent companions. They do have longer coats that require regular brushing or grooming as they shed quite a bit.

Welsh Corgi

Even though their name is descriptive of their size and means “dwarf”, these dogs think they are giants. With huge personalities that don’t quite match their short stature, the Corgis have made an impact as both family and working dogs.

As indicated by their names/varieties of Pembroke and Cardigan, the breed comes from two different agricultural areas of Wales. They were bred as a heeler due to their short height making them perfect for nipping at the heels of cattle. Even though they have sheepdog blood in their genetic makeup, they were found to be ill-suited to herding sheep. They can be a little too rambunctious when working the flock.

The Pembroke is the more commonly found of the two types of Corgi. They stand about 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh 25-30 pounds at maturity. They are often found in the tan and white coloration, but it is not unusual to find reds and sables. Corgis make great family pets and have long been prized as companions and guardians for children.

The More You Know

Learning the habits and traits of the dog breeds you’re looking at now can save a lot of frustration and heartache in the future. Talk to people who have the dogs you’re interested in and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Finding just the right dog breed might take a little research, but it will pay off in the end with a happy new family member.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Oh, we are all about…

5 Health Tips People Over 50 Need to Know

Aging is a fact of life. By the time you reach your 50s, you may notice physical changes such as a steady weight gain, a slowing metabolism, hair loss, and changes in sexual performance. But don’t let growing older become an albatross around your neck. Learn what to expect as you age, and the best steps you can take to limit the effect on you.

It’s Easy to Lose Muscle Tone

As people age, they tend to slow down. Statistics suggest that people lose about 10 percent of their muscle mass for every decade after the age of 45. Unfortunately, too many people use growing older as an excuse to become sedentary. Specifically, experts suggest that people ages 65 and older are the least likely to engage in physical activity.

This decline in physical activity not only results in a loss of muscle tone, it means you’re burning fewer calories. While it may be normal to gain some weight as you age, there are ways to maintain a healthy weight and retain muscle tone as you grow older.

Begin by considering your eating habits. As your metabolism slows, consider reducing your caloric intake by 300 to 500 calories a day. In addition, increase your physical activity. Aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are the best for improving and retaining muscle tone and maintaining a healthy weight.

Seniors Face Dental Hygiene Issues

Dental hygiene is an area of concern regardless of your age. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that less than two-thirds (approximately 62 percent) of adults from 18 to 64 years of age visit their dentist annually. After the age of 65, this number only drops to around 60 percent.

The difficulty here is that if you have bad oral hygiene when you’re younger, chances are it won’t improve with age. The longer you let it slide, the more you increase your chances of having dental problems in your twilight years. One of the biggest dental issues, especially for seniors, is tooth loss. Without a full-set of healthy teeth, you risk gum deterioration, jawbone resorption, and facial collapse.

Prevent dental problems as you age. Brush at least twice daily with a soft head toothbrush, floss every day before sleep, and visit your dentist regularly.

Aging Skin Requires More Care

Skin care is essential as people age. While problems such as wrinkles, dry skin, and age spots are inevitable, you can avoid other issues such as acne and sun damage through proper skin care.

As people age, hormones change, cell renewal declines, and the human body produces fewer natural oils. Rays from the sun advance the aging process and lead to spider veins, dark spots, and wrinkles. Additionally, years in the sun may lead to basal cell carcinoma or melanoma (skin cancer).

Although the sun is a good source of vitamin D, too much can age skin faster. An average of 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun can give you the health benefits and reduce your chances of skin damage. Be sure to moisturize daily (that means men too), especially after you shower. Speaking of showers, blot your skin dry instead of rubbing harshly. This will reduce the chance of rubbing away important natural oils.

Make Sure to Get the Right Medical Checkups

Just like when you were a youngster and your parents took you to the doctor for age-appropriate checkups, there are age-related medical screenings for older adults. Along with annual health reviews of your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure, there are other periodic health checks that your doctor should be recommending for you, depending on your gender.

For men and women, your doctor may screen annually for diabetes, hepatitis C, or lung cancer (if you smoke). For women, an annual mammogram and Pap smear continue to be vital. Additionally, your physician may recommend a bone density screening. Finally, most doctors suggest a colonoscopy every 10 years for all adults beginning at the age of 50.

The best way to know which medical screenings are right for you is to speak with your primary care physician.

Keep an Eye on Your Eyes

The eyes are the windows to our souls. They can tell a lot about someone’s health. If they’re red, blurry, or dry, you may be sitting in front of your computer too much or just be overly sleepy. However, if you’re over the age of 50, there may be something else wrong.

Tired eyes accompanied by headaches may be a sign of presbyopia, a loss in your ability to see close objects or small print. Blurred or hazy vision may be a sign of cataracts. Floaters – small cobweb-like objects that float into view – are usually a normal part of aging. However, they also can be the sign of retinal detachment. Ensure eye health as you age by having annual checkups with an eye doctor.

Growing older is a normal part of the life cycle. Taking good care of your health should be too. That means getting regular health checkups, and that’s the best health tip for people over the age of 50.

Picked For You

  • How to Avoid Hat HairHow to Avoid Hat Hair
    You likely spend most of your summer work days wearing a hat to shield yourself from the sun. Hats are important, but what about your poor hair?! Wearing hats can completely rob your hair of volume, moisture and style, resulting in the dreaded “hat hair.” If you plan to go anywhere without a hat afterward, …