We quite often talk about multi-pet households and how to introduce cats and dogs but what if you’ve got another pet? Like a large horse. Is it safe to have dogs as well? Perhaps you live on a farm or go horse riding and would like to bring your pup along? Here are 10 of the best horse dog breeds to make sure you can enjoy your hobbies, where you live, and your pets too!
Is it the same for all dogs?
It’s worth mentioning that all dogs are different, and whilst these are 10 breeds that get along well with horses, it isn’t a guarantee that your dog will. Some pups have bad experiences with larger animals, are scared of them, or can even act aggressively around them.
With all dogs, it’s really important that they’re trained to get on with horses and for life in the stables. Regular exposure will help them become best friends with your horse!
Here are 10 dog breeds that should be happy to spend time around horses.
This fun-loving, playful, and very popular dog is well-known for being a great member of any family and getting along well with other animals. Including horses. They’re incredibly intelligent pups which makes them fairly easy to train. If they haven’t had any bad experiences with horses, you’ll probably find that these dogs are quite curious around them. They'll be happy to entertain themselves in the stables whilst you muck out or go out with you on a fun trail.
Because of their natural herding instincts, Australian Shepherds are a great horse dog breed. They know they need to respect larger animals and, just like the Golden Retriever, can be trained to run alongside horses or entertain themselves in the stables. This breed needs a lot of exercise, so accompanying you on a long ride is a good way for them to burn off steam. They’re friendly dogs, so spending time with you and other animals is sure to make them very happy.
These little-legged dogs might not be the ones that spring to mind when you think of breeds suitable to be around horses, but then again, you might not know that Corgis were originally bred as herding dogs. Their strong, yet gentle nature (as well as their herding history) means they’re unlikely to be afraid of much bigger animals. For their size, they actually need quite a lot of exercise and will love to trot alongside you on a ride. If they’re a good enough riding companion for the Queen they should be good enough for you too!
If you live on a horse farm, you’ll want a dog that’s very intelligent, independent, and a hard worker, but not one that’s shy or timid. That’s the Border Collie. They’re not submissive but are fully respectful of larger animals. Border Collies also love to work alongside other animals and need a lot of regular exercise – so will be very happy to go out for a long trail ride with you. They’re loving, fun dogs that make great companions and members of a family.
These are wonderful, all-round farm dogs that were originally bred to hunt little prey such as squirrels and raccoons. They’re very hard-working dogs that are easily trained and eager to please. They get along well with other animals and make fantastic watchdogs – which is particularly good if you live far out. They’re brave, but also affectionate and make great companions.
Australian Cattle Dog
These medium-sized pups are a great horse dog breed. As their name would suggest, they were originally bred in Australia to drive and herd cattle long distances over difficult terrain, meaning they’re pretty good around large animals. They’re hard-working and need a lot of exercise, so are happy to run around fields with their horse friends! Australian Cattle Dogs also make great stable dogs because they only bark when they need to, so they won’t scare timid horses.
These big dogs are really well suited to farm life. They’re the original coach and carriage dogs, which means they were used by merchants to run alongside their horse-drawn carriages to protect them and warn against potential dangers. In the past, they also earned the name ‘fireman’s dog’ because they were able to help firemen and their horse-drawn fire engines. Dalmatians do need a good amount of training, especially in their early years. With it, however, they make great stable dogs that won’t just get on with you and the horses but will also be great guard dogs.
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers are one of the smaller dogs on the list but don’t let their size put you off! These four-legged friends are highly intelligent and very agile. They love to be kept busy and entertained, making stable life and exciting walks ideal for them. Compared to other large dogs on the list, they don’t need as much exercise but will be more than happy to run around the fields with you and your horse.
When thinking about dog breeds for horse owners, it’s also important to consider their grooming needs. Barn dogs are likely to get pretty mucky but short-haired breeds (such as the Jack Russell Terrier) are easier to wash than their long-haired friends. They can also help out with pest control!
German Shepherds are very confident around horses and make wonderful pets. Many people, however, think they’re an aggressive breed of dog that wouldn’t be suited to farm work. But this isn’t the case. With the right training and early exposure from a young age, these very intelligent dogs can make wonderful companions and are really one of the best dog breeds for horse farms or those who love riding. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, so open fields and stables are perfect. They’re extremely loyal and also make great guard dogs to help keep your farm and horses safe.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a very calm nature which makes them great barn dogs. Their size ensures they’re respected by other dogs and farm animals, but their sweet personalities mean they get on well with other animals – including horses. They’re loving dogs and are very intelligent. They need good socialization and training to become loyal members of the farm but with it, they’ll be happy to go out on long trail rides and spend time with horses.
Do you have a canine friend that gets on well with horses? What breed are they?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!