Farm dogs are such an integral part of a working farm or ranch, it is no surprise that the Farm Bureau started honoring them by naming the farm dog of the year a few years ago.
What constitutes a farm dog? Does a dog have to have a job to be considered a farm dog? According to Care.com. "Farm dogs are bred specifically for the purpose of working on a farm or ranch as either a herding or guard dog."
According to Agdaily.com, Some of the best breeds of dogs to own if you want a farm dog are the "Australian Cattle Dog, (often called a Heeler or Blue Heeler)". "These fiercely loyal and intelligent dogs are the ultimate farm dog. They are short, compact, and strong, which is perfect for a rough job like agriculture. Heelers are smart, physically fit, tough as nails, and hyper-focused on their job. Whatever type of operation you run; this breed needs a job. If that is herding, protecting, chasing off vermin, or all of the above, they will do it with enthusiasm.” Next on their list is the Border Collie. “Another incredibly smart breed is the Border Collie. This breed is famous for its herding abilities, first and foremost. Border Collies are extremely energetic and active dogs, making physically demanding jobs perfect for them. Notoriously easy to train and teach incredible tricks, Border Collies are arguably the smartest of the breeds.” Next is the Great Pyrenees. “While this breed may have trouble fitting into the front seat of a truck, they probably don’t want to be there anyway. These dogs become bonded to the group of animals they are tasked with protecting. Their size and coat make living outdoors a breeze, even preferable, depending on the climate. The Great Pyrenees is a guardian. No predator is getting through them.” Agdaily.com also like Jack Russels and Corgis. What do they all have in common? High energy levels, high stamina levels, easily trainable, and always looking for a job.
Flint, the grand prize winner of the 2020 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year award, is 11 years old and has been part of Beth Crandall’s family since she was a teenager. At the age of 7, he became an accomplished and passionate working dog relatively late in life. Herding beef cattle and other livestock is Flint’s primary responsibility on the ranch in Utah. Rhett, co-owner of Flint says “people don’t always know the value of a farm dog. They reduce the cost of human labor, they reduce the stress on the animals that are being worked”, (moved, or protected), “and increase the efficiency of the work. All those things are important but at the end of the day, these dogs are part of our lives and really enhance our family.”
For more information about Flint and the other farm dog winners of 2020, check out www.fb.org/land/fdoty.