Farm dogs

We (sans dogs) recently attended a three-year-old’s birthday party, which was held at a large, beautiful farm in the nearby countryside.

Leah's 3rd birthday party

The young farmer brought out some baby goats and lambs for all of the kids to pet, which was a huge hit with the little ones. It’s fun to be reminded that most tiny children instinctively love animals — and that they also have no instincts on how to be gentle. Watching those toddlers maul those baby goats made me grateful that (1) the goats were very easygoing, and (2) the goats do not have sharp teeth. While I loved fraternizing with the babies and the baby livestock, my attention was naturally drawn to the dogs. Of course.

Leah's 3rd birthday party

First, I got to meet the actual sheepdog, this handsome 3-year-old border collie. He was soft and sweet, but very agitated by all of the toddlers, so he had to stay on leash. I mistakenly judged him for an English shepherd first, because I think the ticking and brown points on his coat threw me off.

Leah's 3rd birthday party

Then, in the barn, there was a pair of precious, adolescent Great Pyrenees. Here’s my friend greeting them:

Leah's 3rd birthday party

They were so gentle and friendly. These big pups were also great with all of the little kids who wanted to come stroke their noses. Having two high-strung dogs always makes me marvel at these dogs who have this natural calmness, who seem unperturbed by everything, just take it all in stride.

Leah's 3rd birthday party

Leah's 3rd birthday party

And then, there was THIS fellow! Guys. Totally mystified by his breed. He is all white, and I guess he could be a Great Pyrenees, but have you ever seen one with hair that grew like that? I haven’t. But he was so cute and muppet-y.

A shaggy sheepdog | Doggerel

It’s fun to see dogs in their working environments and to be reminded that dogs fulfill so many purposes, even now, in 2014. It’s easy to forget when you’re raising two dogs in the city.

I wondered what our dogs would do if they met the farm animals. Some of you live on farms, I think, but have your dogs ever encountered livestock? How did it go?

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8 thoughts on “Farm dogs

  1. Lovely post!

    I had a dog named Free (who was named after a horse in TX), and one time we went to visit our friends there who had horses and the neighbors had Long-horn cattle. Free did great with both. I think she thought she was a horse as much as she ate grass, but she had a little Border Collie in her, so she was quite the natural herder. I was delighted. She was beautiful.

    I’m glad you got to visit a farm..

  2. Awesome pics 🙂

    We have to keep our pups on-lead because of livestock…there are even cows up the mountain we live by! 🙂

    Zoey saw chickens for the first time about a week ago, and was really calm with them. We’ve also been getting her used to cows for the past month maybe, walking through the same field as them and gradually being within a few feet of them. She is great with them now.

    Both dogs get very excited around sheep, I think because they are smaller and flightier!

  3. Silas met the mounted police once. It did not go well. I think he would have done better if it had been just the horses, honestly.

    My high school friend had a collie (who, in hindsight, lived a really terrible life), and several years later got goats. It was so interesting to see that the collie just naturally knew what to do with the goats. The dog always alerted the family, for instance, when there was a new baby goat.

  4. Love the goats, love the LGD’s. I have a soft spot for GP’s, even though females are notoriously same-sex aggressive, I have heard. I have chickens, and a fence always separates my dogs from the chickens. I might trust my girl, on leash, around them. But probably not. If not this summer, then next Spring I plan on getting a couple of goats. They will be housed in the small pasture that sits to the side of our house, so the dogs will not be able to see them from the “backyard.” The chickens are housed in the barn behind our house, so the dogs frequently enjoy watching “Chicken TV.”

  5. My dog Bear has an affinity for llamas- and they (all 3 that he has met) have loved him back! He’s a border collie x german shepherd. We also raised chickens for years, and both Bear and Scooter (our pom) were excellent with the hens as well.

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