By Shayna Meliker | vetstreet.com
When we think about life in the country, we automatically think of animals - particularly the faithful farm dog, who will follow you on rugged walks across the fields and keep your livestock in line. For many terriers, setters, spaniels and other breeds, there's no better home than one in the country, with lots of work to be done and space to run and explore. These dogs, many of whom were bred for farm jobs or hunting responsibilities, tend to feel right at home in rural areas - although with adequate exercise, they can live happily just about anywhere.
We spotlight seven dog breeds who love country living.
1. Border Collie (photo credit: Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
One of the most iconic farm dogs around, the Border Collie lives to work. She was developed in the border country between Scotland and England, and still thrives on her original purpose: herding sheep. Just make sure you're prepared to live with a dog who's smarter than you are. We surveyed 122 veterinary professionals, and they chose the Border Collie as the smartest dog breed. In fact, one Border Collie named Chaser knows more than a thousand words.
2. Field Spaniel
These dogs may look like Cocker Spaniels, but they're actually a rarer breed called the Field Spaniel. Like many of his Spaniel cousins, the Field Spaniel is inclined to be sensitive, affectionate and softhearted - which can make him a good companion for children when he isn't hunting. He's known for his skills as a bird flushing dog, and excels at dog sports like field trials and tracking tests.
3. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
What's up with that crazy name? The moniker Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever comes from this dog's ability to lure ducks within shooting range by "dancing" on the shore, a technique called tolling. If you can match the Toller's boundless energy, this pretty, redhaired canine might be the perfect companion for all your outdoor activities, especially swimming.
SEE ALSO: 10 Most High-Maintenance Dog Breeds
4. Dalmatian (photo credit: Eva-Maria Kramer, Animal Photography, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
When you think of the Dalmatian, you may picture the instantly recognizable dog riding on a city fire truck - but this active breed was created to run alongside carriages or horseback riders, discouraging stray dogs and thieves from interfering. To this day, most Dalmatians have a high energy level and need lots of exercise to fend off boredom.
Given her name, the origins of this hardworking herding breed may surprise you: She was developed not in Australia, but in the American West by Basque shepherds. The Australian Shepherd loves to keep busy, whether that's herding livestock on the farm, going on long hikes with her people, or playing soccer in the yard.
If this breed looks familiar to you, you may be thinking of a famous Wire Fox Terrier named Sky, who won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show this year. Both Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers appreciate the space and freedom of the country to do as much digging, running and investigating as they please. Oh, and some hunting wouldn't hurt, either. These dogs, and many other terrier breeds, will likely hunt mice and other vermin if any are around.
Catahoula Leopard Dog (photo credit: Eva-Maria Kramer, Animal Photography, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
It's no surprise that the Catahoula Leopard Dog is a great canine for country living, since the breed came to be in the country - the land of northern Louisiana, to be exact. Settlers new to the region bred these dogs to control the wild hogs and other fierce livestock that overran the state's woods. He's first and foremost a working dog, so this breed may be right for you if you have hogs that need bossing around.
Did we miss a breed you think is ideal for rural living? Tell us in the comments below.
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