8 Dog breeds that get along well with horses

May 2023
dog breeds that get along well with horses

Both horses and dogs offer us companionship and are loyal animals. Most people love horses and dogs, but is keeping both creatures under one roof safe?


Dogs and horses are not intuitive, but they can share very happy moments if they are paired up in the right setting. According to research, both domestic animals can mimic each other’s facial expressions, which is less likely to be seen in other animals.


From guarding the barn and offering companionship on trails to killing rodents, the dog is the most precious asset for a horse owner.


However, not every dog aligns perfectly with barn life. Therefore, before adopting a dog, you should research which breeds are most suitable for horsey adventures.


Here, we have mentioned 8 dog breeds that can get along very well with horses. To understand why these breeds are suitable for horse owners, you must know what factors should be considered before choosing a dog for barn life.



How To Choose A Horse-Friendly Dog?

Opting for the wrong dog will certainly catch you off guard, and you will have to give up on any of them. An impolite dog can wreak havoc in the stable yard, threatening his own life, the horse, and the owner. 


Things that need to be considered while looking for a horse-friendly dog are;

  • Breed’s temperament
  • Breed’s adult size
  • Breed’s coat
  • Breed’s role you want them to perform


Some breeds have quite an obvious temperament; you can talk about their behaviour by looking at them. For instance, if you visit Dachshund breeders in Ohio, look at the 24/7 alert facial expression of these sausage dogs.


Behaviourists say a dog with a “steady” temperament is an ideal horse choice. Moreover, a breed with a weak hunting drive and a friendly personality perfectly suit a horsey lifestyle. Such dogs do not try to bolt when encountering the “nightmare creatures” (horses).


Another way to gauge the compatibility of both species is by deciding which activities you want your dog to perform in the stable yard. Your furry pooch can be used to protect livestock, yard protection, hacking companion, friendly mutt restricted to a stable yard, canine support crew, and more.


You may find a breed that is a master of all the roles, as mentioned earlier, but it is not always the case. For instance, you cannot expect a friend-to-everyone man to bite someone. Even the smallest horse breeds are 200 lbs. while dogs can be very small.


Mini Dachshund weight at birth is 6 lbs. to 8 lbs. Horses do not intend to hurt your pooch, but they can act wildly in fright. The small and fragile dog is just an accident waiting to happen. Therefore, opt for medium, large, or giant dogs to be on the safer side.



8 Horse-friendly Dog Breeds

Let’s talk about 8 horse-compatible breeds now!


#1 Labrador Retrievers

This dog breed is very popular among dog lovers. According to American Kennel Club, Labrador Retriever is an outgoing, tractable, and kind breed. Moreover, Labradors have low levels of aggression and are easy to train. Because of such traits, first-time owners or anxious dog lovers go for this breed.


Additionally, their large size is another reason for labelling Labradors as horse-friendly dogs. Their weight ranges between 55lbs and 80lbs, and their average size is between 21″ to 24.5″. Their overall hardiness will keep them safe even if a horse bumps them.


#2 Great Danes

Great Danes are known for their steady and unflappable nature. Most people neglect this breed due to its sluggish nature and opt for more dynamic dogs, but it is worth it. The amount of love and attention you receive from this giant pooch is incomparable.


If you own some delicate pups and fear your horse might hurt them, sell puppies on Craigslist and opt for a giant Great Danes.  Though they are demanding, you won’t have to bother if they play with your horse because of their size.


They weigh around 200 to 300 lbs. and range from 28” to 32” at the top of their shoulder. This breed is powerful enough to endure the rigours of a stable yard environment.


#3 German Shepherds

Despite being a difficult breed, German Shepherds are quite popular among yard owners. You can call them manic intense, or possibly over-achievers.


However, they are strong defenders. They will keep you safe, even if it comes to endangering your own life. Do not try to impress with their giant personality if you are new to dog ownership.


Their size is a stand-alone compelling point for a horse owner. Their weight ranges from 501lbs to 901lbs, and sizes range from 22” to 26”. However, if handled by an experienced and confident owner, they are perfect for horse-centric life.


#4 Border Collies

It is hard to picture a traditional rustic English farmyard without Border Collies. This breed is known for its MENSA-level intelligence. Such dogs are super active, energetic, and adaptive to a challenging environment.


However, they are classified as medium size as their weights range from 39lbs to 66lbs and stand at 18” to 22”. They are fine-boned and are tireless companions. Training this dog with your horse is a fun-bonding activity.


#5 Jack Russell Terriers

This forceful creature of nature has endeared them to many horse owners. They are merely a symbol of peace and kindness, but they are highly obedient.


Although having a small dog and horse together is a recipe for disaster, little Jack Russell Terrier is known to defy the odds by making a strong relationship with horses.


This breed stands at 10″ to 12″ at the shoulder and weighs around 9lbs to 15 lbs. Horse owners must know that the initial few years of adjusting to this energetic dog will catch you off but giving the perfect amount of training will certainly do the trick.


#6 English Springer Spaniels

This breed is an active, attentive, friendly, and quick learner. Having a Springer Spaniel around the stable yard is fun to watch. They welcome strangers with calm friendliness, making them one of the most appealing dogs.


Their weight ranges from 40lbs to 50lbs and stands at 19” to 20”, making them safe around horses. Moreover, they exhibit a low chase drive that includes them in the list of horse-friendly dogs.


#7 Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Though unfamiliar in the USA, this is quite a popular stable dog breed for horse owners in South Africa. AKC classifies them as soft, reserved, and dignified dogs. However, the juveniles are very energetic and fond of rough play. Dignity and calmness develop as the dog matures.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks is a large dog standing at 24″ to 27″, and their weight ranges from 70lbs to 85lbs. They are built athletes and are perfect for ardent trail riders. However, training is key to creating a friendly relationship between both species.


#8 Great Pyrenees

Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are popular with the popular name Great Pyrenees. You may not see them much in stable commercial yards, but they have properties that suit well to horse owners. They are active, even-tempered, confident, and affectionate dogs.


Although they get aggressive with strangers, they bond strongly with their families. They stand at 25″ to 32″ and weigh between 85lbs and 130 lbs. They have a built-in lethal force that they can use to protect their family if the time comes, making them safe around horses.



Final Words

Dogs and horses make a perfect combo, but there are several things to consider before bringing them under one roof. Not every dog breed gets along well with horses.


Moreover, if your dog encounters a horse for the first time, he may get anxious and start chasing the horse. To avoid any unwanted scenario, opt for a dog capable of handling the horses, considering their size and temperament.