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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to figure out what dog breeds are both most territorial and family and least likely to be duped by coyotes trying to bait them before hunting the dog down with the rest of the coyote pack.

Australian Shepherd owners, have your dogs experienced coyote encounters?

I owned an Aussie previously. My experience has been that they do seem to be a territorial breed, but they're also fearless enough to chase and snap at any and every threatening wild animal that enters their yard. If a coyote digs under a fence to get into an Australian Shepherd's yard, will the Aussie have enough self-control to chase the coyote out of the yard and follow him no further than the fence line, resisting the urge to squeeze out the hole the coyote made?

I know LGDs are good for dealing with coyotes, but LGDs are sooo expensive in upkeep. I guess I'd save up for an LGD breed if I had to, but if there are smaller dogs that are nearly as smart as an LGD, I'd love to find that out, too!

Thanks for your input!
 

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Any dog is at risk if a coyote gets into the yard.
 

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It's going to be based on the individual dog. If the coyote runs straight off and loses the dog, there's a pretty good chance your dog will stop chasing, but if the coyote is specifically trying to lure your dog into an ambush...they're going to get lured into the ambush. Coyotes will taunt your dog and lead them on.

Clever dogs might figure out what the coyote is doing if it's not taking straight off, but that's only if it's survived their first encounter...

My parents' dog, a Great Pyr/Border Collie mix (ha, two opposing forces there) was lured into a coyote ambush and probably would have been killed had my father not heard the racket and intervened. He looked like a black and white Great Pyr and probably weighed around 70 pounds, but my dad said there were five BIG coyotes and it wouldn't have taken them much longer to finish the job.

My dog (Aussie/Collie mix, 55 pounds) has tangled with one (I'm 85% sure it was a coyote, it was dark and I could not see clearly), and I do not want to know how it would have gone had we not heard the racket and intervened. He was uninjured, it sounded like more noise than an actual fight. It was dark, so we we're not clear on the particulars. Ralphie returned when called, so I'm not sure if he would have given chase if we weren't there. I think it depends very much on temperament. Some dogs will be overcome and want to give chase, and others will not. Now, though coyotes circle the yard yipping, Ralphie does not leave the property. I imagine it's because he was fortunate enough to first tangle with a coyote when humans were present to scare it off and understands they're dangerous. He's also a gentle soul and does not care for fighting with anything if he can help it...a more tenacious dog might not be dissuaded.

And, of course, if you've spent any time in the country you've likely heard stories of someone's dog running off into the darkness after coyote howls and never being seen again. Usually seems to be younger dogs who are full of themselves, but older dogs, too, and they certainly don't discriminate on breed.

An LGD is usually more than a match for a single coyote, and they're probably more likely to stick close to the livestock they're guarding than give chase. But, it's also not unheard of to lose them in the event of a pack ambush, and the young ones are more prone to making dumb mistakes.

Basically...it really depends on the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's going to be based on the individual dog. If the coyote runs straight off and loses the dog, there's a pretty good chance your dog will stop chasing, but if the coyote is specifically trying to lure your dog into an ambush...they're going to get lured into the ambush. Coyotes will taunt your dog and lead them on.

Clever dogs might figure out what the coyote is doing if it's not taking straight off, but that's only if it's survived their first encounter...

My parents' dog, a Great Pyr/Border Collie mix (ha, two opposing forces there) was lured into a coyote ambush and probably would have been killed had my father not heard the racket and intervened. He looked like a black and white Great Pyr and probably weighed around 70 pounds, but my dad said there were five BIG coyotes and it wouldn't have taken them much longer to finish the job.

My dog (Aussie/Collie mix, 55 pounds) has tangled with one (I'm 85% sure it was a coyote, it was dark and I could not see clearly), and I do not want to know how it would have gone had we not heard the racket and intervened. He was uninjured, it sounded like more noise than an actual fight. It was dark, so we we're not clear on the particulars. Ralphie returned when called, so I'm not sure if he would have given chase if we weren't there. I think it depends very much on temperament. Some dogs will be overcome and want to give chase, and others will not. Now, though coyotes circle the yard yipping, Ralphie does not leave the property. I imagine it's because he was fortunate enough to first tangle with a coyote when humans were present to scare it off and understands they're dangerous. He's also a gentle soul and does not care for fighting with anything if he can help it...a more tenacious dog might not be dissuaded.

And, of course, if you've spent any time in the country you've likely heard stories of someone's dog running off into the darkness after coyote howls and never being seen again. Usually seems to be younger dogs who are full of themselves, but older dogs, too, and they certainly don't discriminate on breed.

An LGD is usually more than a match for a single coyote, and they're probably more likely to stick close to the livestock they're guarding than give chase. But, it's also not unheard of to lose them in the event of a pack ambush, and the young ones are more prone to making dumb mistakes.

Basically...it really depends on the dog.
Thanks! Ugh, I'm seeing I have quite the dilemma. I want a dog that can stay outside at night to guard the garden and my future poultry, but I don't want to risk the dog tangling with a coyote. The coyotes out here are getting bolder; they're starting to run through the neighborhood in broad daylight. Even if I had a dog outside at night and I didn't have poultry, I wonder if there's still a risk of a coyote digging under the fence to meet the dog at night?
 

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IME in areas with pack predator populations it's usual to have a bare minimum of three LGDs working as a team, two to engage and one to stay with the flock.

In areas where coyotes are seldom packed up, a single mature, savvy LGD could probably handle itself. Remember that a lot of their work is preventative...patrolling, marking, making the area feel like a risky target for predators.

I don't know about other parts of the US but the coyotes we have here are big and have a lot of wolf DNA. They kill a lot of pet dogs. I think they'd just eat a lone Aussie.
 

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I have a friend with sheep who uses Aussies to herd.. though she just got a super purpose bred Border Collie that is doing great!

She has good fences and a LSGD. One. Two is better, but just because a dog is bred to be a LSGD does not mean all are trustworthy around livestock or trustworthy to do the job at hand. So she has one (farm is 180 acres). He is a match for any coyote that comes along.

The Aussies and BC were not capable of driving off the coyotes.

They also had a bear come in and kill sheep. The LSGD tried, but was no match for the bear. Bear was ultimately "removed from the population" when found feeding on a fresh sheep kill.
 

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Coyotes luring dogs back into their packs is a myth. What really happens is that a dog gives chase to a lone coyote, coyote flees back to the safety of their pack, and the pack defends themselves against a threat (the dog). Here is an infographic, but a Google search will bring up more in-depth information.

Coyotes DO take advantage of small dogs and cats, but an Aussie would certainly be too large for a single coyote to hunt.

I regularly hike in areas with coyotes so see them fairly frequently. My dog is a Cocker mix. He will bark at them, and they leave. If he were close to some pups they would probably go after him, but honestly, he's too large for food and they really just want to be left alone. So I make sure he leaves them alone. My parents have Aussies. Again, their barks are enough to tell the coyote "hey, go away". But they aren't given the chance to chase or otherwise harass the coyotes - they are recalled back.

An LGD that stays with the flock or herd is a better choice because in many cases they are a good deterrent on their own, no fight required. It becomes an issue if the dog leaves their flock or herd, but obviously that would be an issue for other reasons (flock/herd is now open to attack from something else while the dog is off having fun).
 

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Thanks! Ugh, I'm seeing I have quite the dilemma. I want a dog that can stay outside at night to guard the garden and my future poultry, but I don't want to risk the dog tangling with a coyote. The coyotes out here are getting bolder; they're starting to run through the neighborhood in broad daylight. Even if I had a dog outside at night and I didn't have poultry, I wonder if there's still a risk of a coyote digging under the fence to meet the dog at night?
Your best bet is a really good fence/run area for the chickens. Have a secure coop, a run made from hardware cloth (not chicken wire, pretty much everything can tear that apart no problem), and coyotes won't be able to access your chickens in the first place. They usually hunt at night (though it's not unheard of for them take something during the day) so if your chickens are put up they have little reason to visit you.

If you add an "apron" to your fence, which is hardware cloth buried beneath and angled outward, they won't be able to dig under, either.

Coyotes luring dogs back into their packs is a myth. What really happens is that a dog gives chase to a lone coyote, coyote flees back to the safety of their pack, and the pack defends themselves against a threat (the dog). Here is an infographic, but a Google search will bring up more in-depth information.
That's interesting, but it makes sense. It certainly LOOKS like they're taunting...but perhaps that's just them telling their nearby family members that some dumb dog is following them and looking back to see if the dumb owner called their dog off yet! 😂
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your best bet is a really good fence/run area for the chickens. Have a secure coop, a run made from hardware cloth (not chicken wire, pretty much everything can tear that apart no problem), and coyotes won't be able to access your chickens in the first place. They usually hunt at night (though it's not unheard of for them take something during the day) so if your chickens are put up they have little reason to visit you.

If you add an "apron" to your fence, which is hardware cloth buried beneath and angled outward, they won't be able to dig under, either.



That's interesting, but it makes sense. It certainly LOOKS like they're taunting...but perhaps that's just them telling their nearby family members that some dumb dog is following them and looking back to see if the dumb owner called their dog off yet! 😂
Thanks for the ideas! I'd never heard of the fence "apron" before. That's great! I could probably add the fence apron to my chicken coop, but not to the rest of my property. (I have about 2 acres all fenced off, so to add a fence apron all around the 2 acres is not practical.)
 

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Coyotes luring dogs back into their packs is a myth. What really happens is that a dog gives chase to a lone coyote, coyote flees back to the safety of their pack, and the pack defends themselves against a threat (the dog).
Finally a sensible response! I've lived around coyotes and the woods most of my life. Never lost a dog, of any size, to a lone coyote or to a pack! That whole luring idea, IMHO, was dreamed up by someone who has never spent much time around coyotes!

Yesterday, I sent my GSD after 3 coyotes that were hanging about in a field next to us. They all disappeared into the woods and 30 seconds later I heard a Yelp and recalled my dog. No harm came to either animal, but the coyotes haven't returned...

ETA: The thing is, as has already been suggested, it's going to be less breed specific than a matter of training. An Aussie is plenty big enough to be a deterrent, but so are numerous other breeds. Stopping at a boundary, or recalling from a chase, are training issues...
 

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Finally a sensible response! I've lived around coyotes and the woods most of my life. Never lost a dog, of any size, to a lone coyote or to a pack! That whole luring idea, IMHO, was dreamed up by someone who has never spent much time around coyotes!
My controversial opinion is that people like the idea of hunting coyotes, so they paint them out to be nuisance animals. I grew up on a ranch with cattle and poultry - my parents still have both - and not once have we lost an animal to a coyote except for maybe wandering farm cats. Yet local ranchers like to paint them as this major issue that they have to hunt to control - no, they just want to hunt them.

OP, I would personally be much more concerned about raccoons than coyotes as far as your poultry is concerned. Coyotes and other predators are really pretty easily deterred - a decent fence is all it really takes. But racoons are extremely smart and very determined. My parents have their chickens now in a coop that was placed over a buried concrete pad, with a solid roof over the top, and free ranging is limited and supervised. Their last setup had welded wire buried under the ground - the racoons dug under, pried the wire apart, and got into the coop and back out again. Every chicken they've ever lost has been to a raccoon (but none since they put in their new setup!).

An LGD (or even an Aussie could work) that is out there regularly with free-ranging chickens would probably be enough to deter raccoons, but be sure your overnight setup is secure. Any way you think that you could possibly break in, the raccoons surely can.
 

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I mean, whether a coyote being chased is planning to lure a dog into an ambush by running to its pack, or if a coyote being chased by a dog is reflexively running to its pack for safety...the end result is the same for the dog, if it's not smart enough, fast enough or tough enough....too many coyotes. Luring may be anthropomorphic nonsense, but it's still true that dogs that don't stick close to home and don't have backup can meet a bad end with a coyote pack.

Most of the time most coyotes are conservative. Just the presence of normal house dogs can often be enough to make them feel a place isn't worth approaching, let alone specialized guard dogs. Hunger is a powerful motivation, though. People in my town ordinarily lose a few small pet dogs and cats to coyotes annually, but in bad winters the coyotes are occasionally willing to risk dogfights to get at livestock, and people have lost dogs to those injuries, too. The bigger danger than just injury is rabies, too...there's a ton of rabies in wild canids in this neck of the the woods so any physical contact at all is seriously unadvisable. And keeping domesticated animals up-to-date on jabs is crucial.
 

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My controversial opinion is that people like the idea of hunting coyotes, so they paint them out to be nuisance animals. I grew up on a ranch with cattle and poultry - my parents still have both - and not once have we lost an animal to a coyote except for maybe wandering farm cats. Yet local ranchers like to paint them as this major issue that they have to hunt to control - no, they just want to hunt them.

OP, I would personally be much more concerned about raccoons than coyotes as far as your poultry is concerned. Coyotes and other predators are really pretty easily deterred - a decent fence is all it really takes. But racoons are extremely smart and very determined. My parents have their chickens now in a coop that was placed over a buried concrete pad, with a solid roof over the top, and free ranging is limited and supervised. Their last setup had welded wire buried under the ground - the racoons dug under, pried the wire apart, and got into the coop and back out again. Every chicken they've ever lost has been to a raccoon (but none since they put in their new setup!).

An LGD (or even an Aussie could work) that is out there regularly with free-ranging chickens would probably be enough to deter raccoons, but be sure your overnight setup is secure. Any way you think that you could possibly break in, the raccoons surely can.
^THIS is a really good point! While I wouldn't hesitate to send my GSD after 2 or 3 coyotes, a single large male raccoon is a formidable adversary, and would give me pause! Raccoons are much more likely to engage in combat with a dog, and even a small juvenile can hold it's own against a GSD!

They're also much craftier and determined to raid chicken or duck pens! Coyotes seem to get the hint better, and are more likely to hunt elsewhere...
 
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