A yellow lab on a farm

A yellow lab on a farm (Photo by Laura Roberts on Unsplash)

Some dogs are built for snuggling on your lap, some for pampering, and some would be in heaven spending long days working in the field, hiking, or running around a spacious backyard. These dogs, often referred to as working breeds, have a high energy level and require regular physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. They thrive in environments where they can channel their energy into activities such as agility training, herding, or retrieving. If you have a lot of land and are looking for the right pup to fit your lifestyle, consider one of the five best dog breeds for country living.

Selecting the right canine companion for country living is a pivotal decision, as the rural landscape presents unique demands and opportunities for dogs. In the open expanses of the countryside, dogs that thrive on ample space and outdoor activities tend to excel. Larger breeds often relish the freedom of running across fields, while their protective instincts can make them valuable guardians of homesteads. Dogs with sturdy, weather-resistant coats are well-suited for the varying climates often encountered in rural areas, from snow-covered winters to hot summers.

Furthermore, breeds with a natural affinity for herding or hunting can be valuable assets on a farm or ranch, assisting with tasks such as rounding up livestock or managing vermin. A well-trained and socialized dog is vital, as rural environments may expose them to wildlife, livestock, and other animals. Ultimately, the best dogs for country living are those that not only adapt to the unique challenges of rural life but also offer companionship, loyalty, and a willingness to embrace the great outdoors alongside their human counterparts.

If you live in the country, then you want a dog who can enjoy the space you have to offer, and even help with the daily farm chores. Below you will find the top five best dog breeds for country living. Don’t see your pal on the list? Let us know in the comments below which breed is your go-to on the farm!

Silhouette of a dog and cow (Photo by Roberto Andrade on Unsplash)

The List: Best Dog Breeds For Country Living, According to Experts 

1. Border Collie

Border Collies are popular dogs who are not only great as farm-dwellers, but for people who love to run. “Border Collies came from the Scottish/English border (hence their name) and were bred mainly to herd sheep. They’re still a very popular farm dog breed today, as they’re incredibly intelligent (considered one of the smartest breeds in the world) and make great family dogs. Border Collies have a lot of energy, so you’ll need to make sure they get plenty of exercise and mental challenges in order to thrive. Their work ethic is very high, which is why you’ll often see Border Collies competing in dog agility competitions. Border Collies can be anywhere from 18-22 inches and 28-50 pounds,” boasts Pets Radar.

black and white border collie
Border collie (Photo by Will Gardiner on Unsplash)

This medium-sized ball of energy is so intelligent that they barely need to be told what to do with a herd of animals. You may find Border Collie’s trying to playfully herd your children. They’re also happy to run around playing if you don’t have any herds,” informs Wag Walking.

Playing and running no matter where Border Collies are is their pastime, so having open fields or hills is a huge bonus for them. “Being so smart allows them to learn quickly so you never need to worry about training them. They are used to being around people which makes them great for families with small children. Border Collies love playing with kids and enjoy keeping them company,” says fastdogs.com.

2. Australian Shepherds

Another member of canines bred for use in rural areas is the Australian Shepherd. “Always looking for fun, these K9s are great family companions. They never seem to lack energy which makes them great for playing with children,” informs fastdogs.com

white and brown dog on road
Australian Shepherd (Photo by Maud Slaats on Unsplash)

Australian shepherds make fantastic acreage dogs! “They’ll herd livestock, guard against predators, and become part of the family. They are loyal family watchdogs and love to work. Trailing and retrieving are just a few of the breed’s strengths,” states borrowmydoggy.com.

Due to their energetic nature, country living would be perfect for the Australian Shepherds to get a lot of daily activity and space to run. “While they can be reserved with strangers, they are friendly with people and always want to be near their families, according to the AKC. Their coats can be black, blue merle (or spotted), red merle, and red with or without white markings and require regular brushing,” says Be Chewy.

3. Australian Cattle Dog

Not to be confused with Australian Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs are another great farm dog breed. “Originally developed in Australia, Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to help drive cattle over long distances across the uneven ground – they make great herders, as they can dash amongst the legs of animals and nip at their heels. Australian Cattle Dogs are affectionate and do well with kids, but they can be wary of strangers and therefore often double as great watchdogs as well. Loyal and intelligent, you’ll want to socialize Australian Cattle Dogs young and provide them with consistent training. Luckily, their short, wiry coats are incredibly easy to care for, and they’re not very big: between 18-20 inches and 35-50 pounds,” explains Pets Radar.

Australian Cattle Dog in a meadow of flowers
Australian Cattle Dog in a meadow of flowers (Photo by Iryna Dobrovynska on Shutterstock)

If you have cattle to take care of, leave it to another breed that helps with the animals, the Australian Cattle Dog. “Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to take care of cattle since the 1800s. They’re fearless, intelligent, and love working, so they are pawfect for herding and guarding cattle or anything else you have to herd,” says Wag Walking.

Also known as heelers, you won’t find a more hardy or determined dog than the Australian Cattle Dog. ”They got this name because they guide cattle by nipping at their feet. Cattle dogs are intensely loyal, intelligent, and eager to please. They also can be territorial. This is helpful if you’re looking for a watchdog, but proper socialization is necessary to prevent their guarding instincts from becoming an issue,” states The Spruce Pets.

4. Great Pyrenees

These big, beautiful pups make for great farm dogs, especially if you’re looking for a livestock or farmyard guardian. “The Great Pyrenees originated on the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains that separate France and Spain, and were bred to guard livestock way up in the mountains. Despite being watchdogs, Pyrenees are rather mild-mannered, calm,  and affectionate and make great family pets. They can be very stubborn, however, and considering males can be up to 100 pounds, you’ll want to train them well – as you won’t be able to make one go on a walk if it’s not in the mood,” shares Pets Radar.

Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees (Photo by Tychon Krug on Ubsplash)

The Great Pyrenees are family-friendly dogs even in cold climates. “These dogs are still used today to guard livestock in the mountainous region between France and Spain, where they hail from. They’re known for being calm, affectionate, and devoted to their family, including children. While they’re gentle with those they know, they’re also excellent watchdogs,” states The Spruce Pets.

If you’re not already convinced to adopt a Great Pyrenees, consider how they will keep all kinds of predators away from your property and livestock, including coyotes, packs of dogs, human intruders, and more. “As tough as the Great Pyrenees can be with predators, they are also sweet and tender with children, making them a great choice for families,” informs agriculture.com.

5. Labrador Retriever

Labs are one of the most popular breeds of dogs and are often found in the homes of non-city area dwellers. “Labs are kind, fun, and very outgoing but also enjoy having lots of ground that they can cover during each day. Being an active K9, Labrador Retrievers are always looking to play with their owners. Known for their kindness and patience – they make great family pets that love being around children. Due to their above-average intelligence, it is not difficult to train them, and seeing how they love playing – learning through fun is their virtue,” boasts fastdogs.com.

Smiling yellow lab
Smiling yellow lab (Photo by Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash)

Labradors with their ever-wagging tail were bred for retrieving in the water. “Labs ‘webbed’ paws and oar-shaped tails make them very strong swimmers – and most will splash straight into any lake or river! So if you live in the country with some water nearby, you can give a very happy home to a Lab,” shares Front of the Pack.

If you get a Lab, you can choose from a variety of beautiful colors. “A Lab will be a great addition to your family. These popular dogs are great for hunting, and they’re loyal friends and great watchdogs as well,” says agriculture.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Charles says:

    I have 2 GPs and they are the best guard dogs ever. They are bred to be autonomous which is perfect since they know exactly what their job is and require no training. Which is good because they aren’t that trainable. If you live in the country and need a dog who will protect you and your property then GPs are perfect. If you live in an apartment, do not get a GP. They will not adapt. They are not just lovable, they are considerate. Very intelligent animals.