Some dogs are built for long days spent working in the field, hiking or running around a spacious backyard. If you’re a country-mouse who’s looking for the right pup to fit your lifestyle, consider one of these ten breeds deemed perfect for country living by the American Kennel Club.
German Shorthaired Pointer
A versatile hunter known for its scenting power and intelligence, the German Shorthaired Pointer is enthusiastic about work and makes a loyal family watchdog, said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. They’re proficient with trailing, retrieving and pointing a variety of game including quail, raccoons, possum, waterfowl and deer. A natural athlete, the German Shorthaired Pointer will need plenty of exercise while their short coat requires minimal grooming.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
A lovable house pet and competitor in many dog sports including herding and obedience, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi thrives in the country because of their skills as a cattle driver and all-purpose farm dog. “The breed is bold, friendly and responds well to training, but due to its instincts may try to herd you,” Peterson said.
Known as the workaholic of the dog world, according to Peterson, the Border Collie is the world’s premier sheep herder with extraordinary instinct and working ability. Due to their herding tendencies, Border Collies do best with older, well-behaved children and are loyal family dogs but may be reserved with strangers. The breed is very intelligent, and its energy requires exercise beyond just a walk around the block.
“They thrive when they have a job to do and space to run,” Peterson said.
The Bluetick Coonhound is known for its skill in trailing and treeing raccoons and other small game in forests and surrounding countryside, Peterson said. They can stay on the most intricate of tracks, making them prized companions for active sporting families. Sturdy and athletic, Blueticks do best with a job, which can include hunting, obedience or agility training. Their short coats require minimal grooming and brushing.
A breed that also “lives” for its job, according to Peterson, Australian Shepherds are known for herding livestock and working as an all-purpose farm and ranch dog. Due to their energetic nature, Australian Shepherds need a lot of daily activity and will fit best in a home with lots of space to run or play daily. While they can be reserved with strangers, they are friendly with people and always want to be near their families, according to the AKC. Their coats can be black, blue merle (or spotted), red merle and red with or without white markings and require regular brushing.
Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Cattle Dogs are ready to work all day and love wide-open spaces in which to do so. They’re high-energy, intelligent dogs that excel in herding, obedience or agility training. Their strength and courageousness allow them to easily control and move cattle in both open and confined spaces, Peterson said. They bond closely to their family members, however, they may be wary of strangers and will need an owner with a firm hand in training who can establish themselves as the pack leader.
Parson Russell Terrier
A true foxhunter, the Parson Russell Terrier can also be found working in stables across the country, Peterson said. They’re alert, confident and possess a great deal of strength and endurance. Friendly and affectionate in the home, Parson Russell Terriers do best with more mature children as they do not tolerate rough handling from toddlers. Their coat can be wire-haired or smooth and is white, white with black or tan markings or tri-color. They do not require regular bathing, but wire-haired Parsons may need to be hand-stripped, according to the AKC.
A powerful dog first bred for their herding and guarding instincts by breeders in Germany, Rottweilers make suitable police dogs, herders, service dogs, obedience competitors and devoted family companions. They require plenty of regular exercise but minimal grooming upkeep. While they love their families, Rottweilers are protective of their territory and will not welcome strangers until they’re introduced, according to the AKC. They require a strong hand in training and lots of early socialization.
Dalmatians have worn a variety of hats throughout their history including war dog, draft dog, shepherd, firehouse mascot, bird dog, trail hound and retriever. The breed was also the original coaching dog, responsible for running alongside horse-drawn carriages and protecting them from thieves, Peterson said. Active, energetic and people-oriented, Dalmatians are perfect for a life in the country with a family. Their short coats require regular brushing to help minimize year-round shedding.
No list of country dogs would be complete without one of America’s most beloved breeds—the Labrador Retriever. Bred primarily to perform as a game retriever, Labs are a favorite of people that participate in field trials and hut tests, Peterson said. Their calm temperament is also suitable for many different activities beyond hunting, making them excellent family dogs. They thrive as part of an active family and require regular exercise as well as regular grooming.
Feature image via Shutterstock
Jessica is the managing editor of PawCulture and spends her days trying not to helicopter parent her beloved shelter pup, Darwin.