Many horse owners also love dogs. Canines companions are traditional features of yards and farms. But if you would like a dog yourself which mixes well with horses, which are the best breeds to go for?
Every dog is an individual and their personalities and abilities can vary dramatically even within a particular breed. So choosing the right dog isn't easy. If you are investing in a puppy, then do make sure that you spend time with any dog that has attracted your interest. This will enable you to gauge its personality before you make your decision. You should then familiarise your pup with the yard at the earliest opportunity so that the horses quickly become part of the dog's everyday life. You could experience difficulties if you are adopting an adult dog. They will already be set in their ways and their life experiences to date may not have included horses. Find out as much as you can about the dog's background and, if possible, take the dog along to the stables to see how it reacts. All of that said, there are breeds which tend to be good around horses. Many of these have the physical attributes that make them particularly good choices if you are looking for a dog to accompany you on your rides. You need a robust dog who loves exercise who will not be aggressive towards the horses or scared of them.
This breed is generally very good with horses and most retrievers are also excellent family pets. They generally have friendly personalities and respond well to training as they are intelligent dogs. So they certainly have the right personalities and would be a great choice to ride out with but you should have your retriever checked over as this breed is prone to hip problems.
Despite the name, this breed was developed in the US and makes for an excellent dog to ride out with. They are generally full of energy and so require copious amounts of exercise. This breed does not fare when limited to hanging around the stable. The breed is prone to epilepsy and eye trouble and so genetic screening is a must.
There is perhaps no breed which can match the Dalmatian for boisterousness and energy. This breed is renowned for mixing well with horses. Dalmatians were originally bred as guard dogs and are usually friendly animals with bundles of energy which will be willing to run as far as you can ride. They are prone to deafness and suffer from a genetic disorder called hyperuricemia which can lead to kidney stones.
Australian Cattle Dog
This breed was originally developed to work with cattle and most ACDs are robust dogs which are very good with horses. They don't bark much and have the energy to cope with any trail. They are a relatively small dog which won't scare the horses and this breed does not have a history of genetic defects.
Corgis are relatively small dogs but are extremely robust and almost always get on with horses. They were bred to work with cattle and will be happy to accompany you on your rides. They are easy to take care for and health issues with corgis are comparatively rare.
Jack Russell Terrier
These diminutive dogs have feisty personalities. They were developed from fox hounds in England and have been bred for work. They are fabulous hunters which can come in handy around the stables and they never seem to run out of energy. Good around horses, Jack Russells are simply pocket rockets.