Does having a large dog deter coyotes/fox around the farm?

We have a 30ac hobby farm surrounded by a mix of farmland, undeveloped land and state park, rural residential (20+ac), and one subdivision (3ac lots). Sometimes we hear coyotes singing at night. A few times (less than 10?) in the 5yrs we have lived here I have seen a coyote crossing the edge of our hay field. Recently we have seen a fox and based on tracks in the snow it seems as though our farm is now part of his repertoire.

We have four big horses at home, I don’t worry about them. We have two neutered cats that like to roam the barn and farm fields to hunt during the day, always back inside before sundown (they come when called pretty reliably). I worry about the cats, we don’t have much tree coverage for escape as hobby farm was previously a corn field.

The cats have been only allowed outside with adult supervision since the fox sighting (when we are outside on weekends). DH and I work desk jobs from home during the week.

We have had dogs before, but they passed four years ago only a year after we moved to the farm. I’m feeling as though my heart is ready for another dog. I’m also wondering if the presence of a dog on the property, marking and such might also help encourage the fox and coyotes to skirt our property. Dog would be inside house/fenced in yard normally, out around the farm only with adult supervision. Any experiences?

If you invest in the right dog, yes. Great pyrenees, for example. They bark. A lot. And once imprinted on what’s theirs and where home is, they’ll do the job. They like to roam, though. Fully enclosing your land with hog wire or better wire fence would keep them in. Other breeds are also suitable, but some are hard dogs if you don’t know what you are doing (anatolian, for example).


we have a large German Shepherd Dog, she sort of looks like a coyote …the young coyotes would come to fence to play with her. To date we have not lost any animal to a coyote except the cat that was next door who was eaten by a coyote.

Neighbor had a Great Pyrenees who was well respected by the coyotes, they would not venture onto that dogs place

Our biggest issue is the coyotes have no fear of mankind… a few weeks ago one was following a man walking his little dog on the sidewalk …coyote as following them step for step until I threw a tree limb at it

The city says there nothing they will do, so I guess I need to import a bear from son’s place in Pennsylvania as the natural predators are wolves , mountain lions, and bears.

I have a 75 lb. female German Shepherd, my second one. On this farm I’ve had foxes and bear and bobcats
stay outside my main pasture fences- I’ve seen them during the day, but I’ve not seen any of them come into my interior farm property. My dog is always out with me and does chase off stray cats and possibly bobcats.
I definitely think my dog is a deterrant. She’s a rescue and within weeks of bringing her home at 2 yrs. old, she understood her job was to protect the farm, and me and the horses and from strange utility workers who come onto the property unannounced. Definitely has protective qualities. Yes she also marks the perimeter fences like a male dog would do.
I never feel alone here even though, except for her, I am. I have no doubt she would chase and
attack any coyotes coming around as she tends to be dominant with most other big dogs she doesn’t know.

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Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, Maremma (rare) and similar herding breeds who are less people dogs than protection dogs. You don’t want a corded breed if you are dealing with wet weather, hay, weeds, etc. impossible to keep clean. Best thing to do though? A pair of standard donkeys. Coyotes (and even wolves) don’t stand a prayer. Even donkey song is enough of a deterrent. (Donkey song might also be good if you have neighbors you’d like to see gone from the hood.)


I have a 80 lb. Shollie- Lassie type collie/ German Shepherd cross. He is house dog, and while I would like to think his presence deters coyotes, I really don’t think it does. We are in Middle Tennessee, where we see coyotes daily.

We did have a livestock guardian dog, until we had to put her down due to an undetermined illness two years ago. She had shown up in our yard one morning, and when we found her owner, he was going to shoot her, so we kept her. She was excellent at keeping the coyotes away, and we saw her in action more than once.

Livestock guardians have methods of keeping things away. First, they patrol and mark the territory with urine and feces. Secondly, they will bark. Thirdly, they persue and then fight.

One thing to keep in mind is that these are very large dogs. Our female weighed well over 100 lbs. They do require care, just like any other dog- grooming, flea and tick control, heart worm preventative, regular vaccinations, especially for rabies. We spayed ours after we agreed to keep her, and that was more expensive due to her size.

They also need to be socialized and taught things like walking on a leash. Ours learned rather quickly, but teaching a 100 lb. dog to walk on a leash takes some work!

Many people do not encourage interaction with their LGDs, which makes it harder to handle them, and why many end up poorly cared for or in rescues.

Be aware that a LGD will bark anytime they hear an outdoor noise, like a coyote howling. We would bring ours in the house overnight occasionally, and those were nights where no one got much sleep because she would bark. My husband used to say Boo could here a mouse fart 50 acres away and she would let you know she heard it!


Not really sure it makes a difference. My dogs mark all over my property outside my fence on 2x day runs, and coyotes come very close to the house and barn. They are not generally visible during the day, but I know they are active some times of the year. That said, I have never been concerned - not for my horses, mini, dogs or cats, who are indoor/outdoor cats but don’t tend to roam far.

Here’s a great video from my backyard - my 3 dogs in the fenced yard (the barking is my dog), and then you will hear the coyote howl in response to the fire whistle. I’m not sure which is closer - my barking dog, or the coyote.

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Foxes usually don’t bother cats. Coyotes will kill foxes and kill cats. I would consider getting a donkey or a livestock protection dog, as long as you are well set up for their safety. Alternatively, I would keep the cats inside. When we lived in Virginia, coyotes killed all of the neighborhood outdoor cats and at least several foxes.

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Another vote for foxes leaving cats alone. This is courting season for foxes, you may see and hear them as they pass thru and vocalize. Enjoy seeing the fox, the coyotes are the real threat.

That said, I just had an interesting fox encounter walking the dog. Our house is in a sprawling wooded neighborhood that shares a border with a state park, with lots of lovely wildlife strolling through. Lately we have been hearing a red fox, and catching occasional glimpses during the pre-dawn dog walk. Fox usually gives a glance and continues on its way. Because of the assorted 4 legged beasties, along with hawks, owls and eagles; older kitty is only allowed out in busy daylight hours. Fortunately we have no coyotes as of yet.

Dog and I have finished our after dinner walk and are heading home. She perks up just before the house and I shine the light to see what caught her interest. Nothing sighted until I see Eric kitty peeking at us at the end of the driveway. I put the dog away and go back for the cat. I glance up to see a fox just to the right of the driveway, it is trotting in a relaxed way towards the tree where Eric kitty is lurking. Conscious of the fact that while Eric considers himself the “adventure kitty”, he is really just a skinny senior citizen, I say “hey fox what are you doing!” Sir fox takes one look at me and dashes up the hill. Eric the red cat is scooped up and taken inside and DH agrees that if the truant slips out between his feet, a search party is in order.

The fox had not noticed me, and was moving forward in a non hunting or stalking posture, more curious. Our neighborhood fox looks healthy and in good flesh, with plenty of mice, rabbits and other small game available. In the last few months a red fox has been making 3-4am passes by our hunt’s foxhound kennel. Of course the hounds all come out of the lodging rooms and into the yard to bark at the fox, who is absolutely unimpressed. Although it wakes him up at night every time, the huntsman is amused.

the foxes never bother our cats either, but the coyotes displaced the foxes
Picture117 Picture120


Thanks for all the responses!

I don’t think I’m cut out for a LGD and I don’t think we have enough of a ‘flock’ for one to guard.

I was thinking more of a GSD cross and it was helpful to hear about how the wildlife reacts to posters with similar dogs.

I have wondered about the donkey idea! But would they be effective cat protection across 30 ac if they were limited to the horse pastures (10ac)? And our horse pastures stay lush enough through rotation/maintenance that my horses are on the drylot half the time since they get too fat!

I think I need more ‘data’ - I have seen the Fox twice in the last month, once at dusk, once mid-morning. He looked healthy and seemed to be poking around for mice. Based on his tracks in fresh snow he’s around almost daily and close to the barn and house. Maybe time for a game cam.

Still undecided on the concept of a new dog just for the sake of having a dog. The loss of the last team (of ripe old age after a full lifetime of adventures) was so heartbreaking. I still feel saturated by the experience that I don’t have an insatiable need for another dog.

Great picture! Kitty looks completely in charge, fox looks like she(? small enough to be a vixen) is not sure how the encounter will go.

Coyotes and fox are smart. They’ll just come at night if they’re determined.

We have a trail camera set up a few hundred feet behind the house. We regularly get pictures of coyotes, only one fox in the last few years, lots of raccoons, turkeys, and deer. One bear, and one moose last summer.
We hear the coyotes all the time.

In the winter with the snow it’s easy to see where they travel. They regularly travel through our open yard at night. There are two that do a very predictable loop at night down the trail that I walk the dog on.

All of that happens even with having a 75lb Aussie x Bernese on the property. But she sleeps in the house at night.
Knock on wood even though they’re around they’ve never bothered my chickens. I attribute that to the Fort Knox coop/run that they live in though, not to the dog. They only get to free range when I’m home. I worry more about birds of prey.

I always thought that my Bouvs would keep the coyotes away. I have lost cats over the years but never knew for sure what happened to them.

Unfortunately last summer there was proof that a coyote got one of my latest rescues, a small one year old. It happened during the night. The dog is in the house but by morning there were large muddy footprints on the diving board, the large planter beside it was knocked over and there was some coyote fur on the ground. I think the kitty tried to make it under the deck as there is a small opening there.

I used to walk my dogs in the back 40 and in the bush. Sometimes we would run into coyote and my dog Winston would go after them. One time the coyote followed us all the way home about 50 feet behind us.

I now only have one dog and will only take him on the leash which isn’t much fun as he is a very strong, enthusiastic dog. My arms get sore. I installed a large run for him.

We have 2 big dogs and 2 smaller dogs( 30-35 pounds) on the farm. We hear a lot of coyotes all around but I have never seen 1 close to the house or barns. I raise Boer goats and so far in 14 years of doing that I have never lost 1 to any predator.

My dogs are out during the day but sleep inside at night. They have basically erased the rabbits and foxes from around the house/ barns and while we still have squirrels they are getting scarce.

If you get a breed that was specifically bred to guard livestock you will have better success and they will be happier if they have livestock to guard. My neighbors were drawn to the LGD breeds but since they had no job to do they would roam for miles.

Farmers/ ranchers here shoot dogs that won’t stay home as they tend to develop a pack mentality given the right circumstances.

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We had a 265 lbs english mastiff. Nothing came around when he was alive even though he was the gentlest of souls & english mastiff aren’t a LGD breed. They’re very hard to find in the US, but Spanish mastiffs are LGDs. And differ from most of the more common LGD breeds in that they enjoy human company & will happily play family dog by day, Hound of the Baskervilles at night. Sheep ranchers in the high Sierra will run a few Spanish Mastiffs as they are dealing with large predators like cougars & wolves. They are so large that they are fine alone in most situations with smaller predators. Are you open to more non-traditional means? When we had hogs & longhorn cattle free ranging was the only time I saw nothing. No foxes, no coyote, not even a racoon. With the longhorn I wasn’t surprised, they’re scrappy when they need to be. But the pigs? Oh, my. Once heard a commotion in the middle of the night. The next morning, I found a few tufts of greyish fur. They’d chased down a canidae of some kind & ripped it to shreds.

Controversial opinion alert: Having raised poultry on a much larger than most people & dealing with the constant economic loss & heartbreak from predation, I shoot coyote on sight & don’t lose any sleep. Foxes, I’m very selective about. Coyote are nasty SOB that have gotten so bad at the northern end of the county that they’re regularly grabbing calves now. Yes, I’ve heard the protestations that if you shoot one, two more move in. Keep shooting them & eventually they’ll run out. That’s what happened to the Eastern Puma. Ironically, the coyote problem here in VA arose mainly from the eradication of the Eastern Puma.

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We have a pack of australian shepherds, and although the coyotes will move through the farm they don’t stop to see if there are pickings from the hen house. I attribute that to having my “border patrol Aussies” :grin:

The foxes we have get chased by the dogs, but still manage to have a litter of kits every spring, which is delightful when the kits are old enough to wander out and play…cuteness overload.