Purpose-Bred Work Dogs on the Farm

Work dogs can be great for rodent control and other tasks around the farm.

| November 2013

  • From husband and wife authors Oscar H. Will III and Karen K. Will comes "Plowing with Pigs," an invaluable tome for modern pioneers seeking independence from traditional homesteading.
    Cover Courtesy New Society Publishers
  • Border Collies make excellent work dogs, as they are smart and aim to please.
    Photo By Fotolia/Klaus Eppele

Plowing with Pigs (New Society Publishers, 2013) is for the farmer who has a passionate desire to return to simpler times. Authors Oscar H. Will III and Karen K. Will — a husband and wife team — are part of a new wave of homesteaders, ones who seek a good life, and the kind of satisfaction that comes from building — not buying — what they use. In this excerpt from "Chapter 3", the authors write of the benefits of purpose-bred work dogs, and the knowledge necessary to keep them happy and productive.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Plowing with Pigs.

More From Plowing with Pigs

Whole Grain Cookies Recipe
Homemade Baguettes Recipe
Homemade Light Fixture for a Rustic Kitchen

Shelter dogs are loving, smart, and deserving of the best homes. But purpose-bred dogs were developed (similarly to livestock) to do particular jobs. Dogs with working parents bred to herd or to keep vermin at bay will be much more likely to perform those tasks naturally than pet and champion-grade purebreds or mixed breeds from the shelter. We love all dogs, but we rely on our farm dogs to do real work.

Among our favorite purpose-bred work dogs are those that hail from the border territory between England and Scotland, particularly the terriers and collies originally bred for work and companionship. Our border collie, Clover, comes from working parents, and she’s smart, serious about work, and aims to please. Her job is to round up loose critters like poultry and make life uncomfortable for the local coyote pack, possum den, and raccoon lodge at night. Border collies live to work, and if you don’t offer them a job, they’ll invent their own — including harassing your sheep to death. Training is a must.

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