I live in Black Bear country (mountains of western NC). I'm planting an orchard/food Forest of Pecans, Chestnuts, Apples, Pears, Peaches, Figs, Persimmons, etc. I adopted two female Plott Hounds last October from a local Bear hunter who said they don't hunt.
Well, they do hunt. And they are often out all night baying up and down the valley.
I'm posting this because I'm seeing a lot of posts about getting dogs to protect livestock. Yet, have you ever seen what a Bear will do to a fruit tree to get at the fruit. Breaks it in half.
I'll be adding Chickens to the homestead in the Spring. I'm hoping to find inoculated eggs from a local Chicken keep and hatch them myself in a cage inside the cabin, where my Plott Hounds sleep via access through a Dog door cut in the wall. I think my Plotts will bond with the chicks and their motherly instincts will kick in, we'll see.
At any rate, Hounds are great at keeping large foraging critters off your edible plants. But, I'd advise to let them run loose. If you have a place that is appropriate for that, then let them run loose. Their noses are keen to scents on the air and will guard their territory vigorously.
I'm partial to Plotts, because they have gentle nature about them and are very loyal to each other and their Human.
Plotts are also fearless. Chasing after God-knows-what in the dark of the night. Expect them to get Snake bit a time or three. Just let them rest and offer them raw egg. If they make it past the 48 hour mark and begin to eat again, they'll live. And the more they get bit, the more Nature builds an immunity in their bodies against the poison.
I'll be adopting two Terrior breed soon, to manage the DeerMice, Forest Rats, Squirrels (killed 17 of my Pecan seedlings) and Chipmunks. Jack Russell's probably, or perhaps a thicker furred version.
Most of all, love them. Let them know you do. They value being a part of a "pack" where they are excepted, rather than being chained up and left on their own. Never have understood people that chain a Dog all it's life.
Our Plotter Buster guards the place well, acting as enforcer for Lucky, our busybody spaniel. Both are mixed with short-hair pointer, and have pretty much taken over our thirty + acres and run off most everything near the house. Maybe a few chipmunks landvoles left, but with no prey, no predators. We're thinking ducks.
Well, mine doesn't bay so much, but I'm pretty sure she's Plott. She came to me through a rescue after Hurricane Katrina, and though many folks up here thinks she's pit bull with the coloring, she looks and acts like nothing but hounddog to me...
I sort of let her roam by default. She's a sneaky pain in the butt who likes to sneak off when you turn your back on her for a moment. On the bright side, my neighbors like her (so far) and she's not into chickens, cars, and likes to hang out with horses, so for now, she gets to live.