Dog Care Tips Dog Behavior

15 Best Dog Breeds For Horses [2023 List by Linda]

Not all dog breeds are good at socializing with bigger animals like a horse and you would need to look for some key qualities that are required in dogs for them to have a better understanding of a Horse.

Breeds like German Shepherds, Welsh Corgi, Great Pyr, Dalmatian, etc get along well with equines as opposed to breeds like Bulldogs or Pugs due to their size, strength, and nature.

But as I said in the previous article that behavior training is very important, so you need to know about dogs’ behavior that gets along with horses.

15 Best Dog Breeds For Horses

Here’s a list of the Dog Breeds For Horses:

1) Golden Retriever

Goldies are pretty much on every list of top dog breeds due to their loving nature coupled with their versatility to fit almost any job you can think of.

These are highly intelligent and focused dogs when it comes to doing chores and can be trained to do many things. Dogtime scores their trainability and intelligence as 5/5, giving you an idea of how good they are.

Plus, GRs are good with other dogs and animals as well. They know the ins and outs of a shared owner and rarely get jealous of other animals.

Do not get deceived by their cute and fluffy bodies as they are very athletic as well. A Golden Retriever has high stamina along with adequate speed to keep up with any horse.

2) The Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrs originated in the mountainous regions of Europe to be working dogs and so are very tough yet flexible dogs.

Only a few breeds can match the stamina of a Great Pyr as they can work for long hours without resting. They are also fast and would not have any trouble being on par with the horses.

They are also very smart and can maneuver themselves around the farmland to work in different capacities. They can guide horses around the farmland, herd other animals and be good guardians at night as well.

Moreover, they turn out to be good human companions as well and will give you company during your rides.

The one drawback of this breed is its stubborn nature. Having a trainability score of 1/5 at Dogtime gives you a decent idea of how resistant they are to any training.

It requires a lot of time and effort to train them but eventually, they do respond to it.

3) Welsh Corgi

Although a small breed, Pembroke Welsh Corgis have been bred to herd livestock so they have the qualities you’d expect from any other herding dog viz stamina and intelligence.

Corgis have big brains and can come up with ways to get their work done despite having a size disadvantage.

Being highly trainable means that you can make them learn new techniques and behaviors easily that are suited to their role.

Their high energies and exercise tolerance allow them to serve at farms with great efficiency and little rest. Also, they are strong-willed and do not get apprehended for the mere size of other animals.

4) Australian Shepherd

You might think of them as a native breed of Australian land but this breed of working dogs was originally bred in the United States.

Australian Shepherds are herders as their name shows. They are great with other animals but know well how to guide them. They are particularly good at guiding horses without being intimidated or making them afraid.

Their trainability is also second to none and they are open to changes in their persona as wished by their owners.

Moreover, Aussies have high endurance and exercise potential, they are more content when they are made to work hard physically. You will not have any problem regarding exhaustion.

5) Whippet

You all know whippets from dog sports, some of the world records for dog sports are held by them including the longest jump ever made. These are large, slender, and athletic dogs with cast energy reserves.

Whippets tend to like chores that involve physical abilities and what is better engagement than guiding horses around large lands? Plus, their adaptability with other animals makes them a great choice for it.

You might think of them as being dumb and relying solely on their athletic potential but that is far from the truth. This breed is highly intelligent and knows to adapt itself to various situations it is put into.

If you have horses that run fast and need a dog to guide them that can be trained easily as well, then Whippet is your go-to breed.

6) Border Collie

Dogtime them as dogs with unlimited energy and stamina. Border Collies are average-sized dogs that are known for their mastery of herding sheep. They can be employed to work with horses at farms as well.

Being very smart and understanding, you can train them to work with horses in no time. Their high trainability makes them easy to work with new instructions and change their behaviors accordingly.

As stated, Collies have vast energy reserves and stamina, they can be made to work long hours without much fatigue.

Not just that, Border Collies are highly affectionate with their families and other dogs which makes them great human companions as well. You can count on them whenever you need them, be it for a personal company or to herd and guard livestock.

7) Jack Russell Terrier

You might have seen this breed in posters depicting robust and athletic dogs. They have developed this way to hunt foxes and be protective of their families.

Jack Russel Terriers are remarkably muscular and sporty with immense energy reserves that allow them to work for hours without getting tired. They are also good at dealing with other animals, be they dogs, cattle, or horses.

You will just need to train them for a while and they will learn to work with you in a short time. 

8) Mountain Cur

Historically, this breed has been very important for the settlers in some parts of North America. They helped these settlers by being their watchdogs and hunting aids, they would also assist in herding the livestock at times.

Hence this breed developed an athletic and trainable personality.

Mountain Curs are considerably large-sized dogs that are smart enough to understand what is required of them.

However, they can be a little stubborn when it comes to training and you would need to be patient with them for results. 

Apart from that, you will not face any problems regarding their speed or stamina, both of which are more than enough to work with horses on farms.

9) Blue Heeler

The Australian Cattle Dog is called the Blue Heeler because they nibble cattle and sheep at their heels and herd them across vast areas of land. 

They can work long hours and have been great herding aids for humans who own big farmlands. They can also be used to guide equines and their agility allows them to match the speed horses.

In terms of stamina, Blue Heelers are in no way behind dogs like German Shepherds or Great Pyrs. With big energy reserves and exercise potential, you won’t find them lagging due to tiredness.

Plus, they pass smoothly through any training aimed at their work style. Their briskness makes them good for helping dogs and human companions as well.

10) Dalmatian

Featured in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, this breed is as popular as it gets and all for the right reasons.

Dalmatians can amaze you with the level of intelligence they have. Great at learning new skills, their trainability allows them to interact with various other animals including horses.

You will not see problems with their stamina or agility as they are brilliant in both these categories. 

The only problem you will face will be the fact that about 80% of Dalmatians are deaf by birth, which makes it difficult to train via the conventional methods that rely on auditory cues.

You will have to use visual and motion gestures, if that is a problem for you then you should drop this breed, otherwise, it is a good breed for horses overall.

11) Bernese Mountain Dog

Bred in the Swiss farms to work as working dogs pulling carts and herding animals, They have also secured their position as notable human companions.

Bernese Mountain dogs, although a large breed, are considerably easy to train and Dogtime rates their trainability and intelligence as 5/5. They can be taught to work with horses quite effectively.

A couple of drawbacks with this breed are that despite being energetic, it lacks the stamina of a truly athletic dog like a GS or the Great Pyr.

Plus, they have a considerable prey drive and do not work well with other dogs who share the same farm.

12) Sheltie

Shetland Sheepdogs aka Shelties have a long history as guardian and herding dogs working with farmers in the cold regions of Scotland. As a result, they have developed a great liking for working.

With above-average power reserves and endurance, this breed works well in large farms and can keep up with bigger and faster animals like horses without trouble.

Also, they have considerably low prey drives with great trainability that keeps them at bay from disobeying their owners and hurting other animals where they work.

One another good thing about Shelties is that they are family-oriented as well and prove themselves to be amazing companion dogs as well, guardian humans, pets, and livestock.

13) Cane Corso

This breed is Italian by its origin and was developed as a hunting and guarding dog, thus having sturdy builds.

Corsos is a large breed that has sufficient energy and stamina to move with horses over large lands, guiding and protecting them across the way.

Being smart, they know how to behave with other animals without being too cocky but still getting the work done. Their trainability makes them excellent candidates as farm dogs.

In fact, this breed thrives on workload and gets anxious and even depressed when denied any work. So you will be doing them a favor by making them run with horses.

One thing to note here is their lack of adaptability to new humans and their stubbornness towards novice owners, hence it is better to go with this breed when you’re a dogged veteran.

14) Miniature American Shepherd

Evident from the breed’s name, Miniature American Shepherds are cute little versions of American shepherds but with the same spirit.

MAS is a very docile breed with high intelligence and can be made to work in various positions including watchdogs, herders, or simply as human companions. They do well with other animals like horses and can guide them across fields.

Despite being small, Miniature American Shepherds have energy levels not short of any other shepherd breed and can work in vast areas of land with efficiency. 

They are also quite healthy dogs and live in good shape.

15) German Shepherd

There is little doubt in the physical potential of a German Shepherd when it comes to speed, stamina, and energy.

However, GSDs tend to be aggressive dogs with high prey drives and you will find people often refraining from having them with their horses. But German Shepherds are very trainable and can be made to adjust with horses.

Their physical characteristics make them an excellent choice to guard and guide equines in farmlands.

The key here is to introduce them slowly to these animals and train them over time with patience to work in the said capacities.

Things To Look For In Dog To Work With Horses

Here are some qualities that you would need to consider in a dog for its compatibility with horses:

1. Affectionate With Other Animals

Being friendly to humans and other dogs doesn’t necessarily equate to being friendly overall with all animals.

Many dogs that are good with humans can’t tolerate the mere presence of another animal near their owners.

Hence, you need to have a breed that is considerate of other animals as well, giving them the due space and respect that they need without getting jealous of them.

2. Trainable

Dogs that are stubborn to any training are a big NO when it comes to having them with other animals, especially horses. 

Being on a farm means that a dog needs to be able to do a lot of chores like guiding and herding and also be able to protect. Such qualities are naturally present in many breeds but require a great deal of effort to polish them. 

When a dog is resistant to training, it will follow its basic instincts rather than your commands and that can mess things up at multiple levels.

3. Agile

Horses are fast runners as we all know, so to keep up with them, dogs need to be agile as well. Otherwise, they will be left behind and won’t be able to catch up.

4. High Stamina

With agility, comes the need to have high endurance to work at a farm. A dog that tires quickly will be no match to work with equines on a farm.

Benefits Of Having Dogs Along Horses

Let’s briefly discuss the benefits you’ll have by having a dog to work with your horse(s):

1. Guardian

Dogs are great protectors of land and livestock, they are also good at protecting other pets of their owners. They would look after your horses and would prevent them from going astray.

They can protect your horses from other rogue animals in the vicinity and can alarm you of such dangers.

Also, they can be kept as watchdogs during the night to watch at the stable so can be rest assured.

2. Killing Rodents

Many dog breeds are also good at killing rodents and can keep such pets from hurting your equines.

3. Giving Company

Breeds like Shelties are also amazing human companions. They stand by their owner’s side and give them company to enjoy. 

Moreover, they also look after and be the source of entertainment for their families.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adding a Q&A section for you below.

Are dogs friendly with horses?

Many dog breeds are naturally inclined towards working with other animals like horses due to their physical characteristics, these include breeds like Great Pyrs, Australian Shepherds, Shelties, Whippets, etc while others tend to be aggressive towards equine but both can be trained.

Are Rottweilers good with horses?

It is tough for Rottweilers to work with horses due to their overt nature however they can be easily trained to get along with them.

Are English Shepherds good with horses?

Yes, Old English Sheepdogs are highly athletic dogs that are also good with animals like horses but they are a bit hard to train so would require your patience.

15 Best Dog Breeds For Horses – Conclusion

Dogs that need to work with horses on farms need to be fast and have high stamina and energy to keep up with them.

Therefore, not all breeds get along well with horses, especially those that have never been trained as herding dogs.

You would need to consider breeds like The Great Pyrenees, Shelties, Whippets, Blue Heelers, etc.

Sources:

About the author

Linda Michaels

Linda Michaels is a proud owner of a Labradoodle named Mylo. She is a trainer who posts about dog training and behavior.
🎓: University of California, Davis
📍: Washington Boulevard Animal Hospital