Jump to content
BC Boards

Cross-species play

geonni banner

Recommended Posts

I noted in a post awhile back that someone said, “Horses and BCs do not play together.” While in the context of the topic under discussion I think it is absolutely true, and certainly dogs should never be allowed to worry livestock of any kind, but I wonder if it is universally true.

I used to have a Lesser Sulfur-crested Cockatoo, a LARGE male tabby cat (22lbs and he wasn’t fat!) and an 80lb Doberman bitch that would engage in 3-cornered play for up to an hour at a time. None was ever harmed – certainly they all had the potential to do serious harm to each other, but they never did. I never left the bird alone with the mammals – If I was not present Kea was put in his cage. I’ve had cats and rats that would play together, and I’ve known horses that were very partial to cats. (They didn’t play together; they just hung out and exchanged the occasional smooch.)


I’ve seen horses in large paddocks doing what looked very much like playing tag with their owner’s dogs – no physical contact, just chase, turn about, chase, and turn about. Both animals seemed relaxed and happy. No pinned ears or striking or kicking from the horses and no grabbing or stalking behavior from the dogs.


So what’s the story? What cross-species play have you seen? How do you feel about it?


(edit) For instance, the first picture looks like play to me, but then the horse is very young. The second picture is just plain scary.


post-10533-1261340831_thumb.jpg post-10533-1261340860_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My older girl Jazz used to play with our llama Al. Jazz had a tiny bit of work in her when she was a youngester but what ever trace of instinct was in her was long gone. She used to play a bit of ball and frisbee but really hated stock. I'd often see her and Al chase each other all over the barnyard and was familar enough with both that I could tell it was all play.


Mick the cat hating dog grew up with a kitty of his own. He loved playing with the cat and that cat played back. Then we added another kitty and it growled at Mick constantly. It was after that addition that Mick hated cats with a passion, still does but as long as Dennis "his kitty" was alive even though he hated other cats he would love on Dennis. Dennis quit playing with Mick as he hit adult dog but they still slept with each other in a loving sort of way.


I'm sure there are dogs and cats out there that can and do play with horses but the idea of not knowing when the game would or could change I can't see ever recommending it.


My sister has a blue and gold macaw, a standard poodle and a rottie. They all get along just fine. The dogs see the bird as one big, loud, treat dispencer (bird poo is irresistable to them)

She doesn't let them out together unsupervised but has come home to the bird being out on the floor with the dogs not even noticing and could tell they had been out quite some time together.


I used to love watching Al and Jazz play. Jazz is an E'ore dog. You don't see her smiling very often but she was always smiling at Al. She was terrified of the chickens and still is. Won't even go down to the sheep pen. For that matter she's terrified of cats too. But she did love her AL.



Love that vid with the bear and the sled dogs. Amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah but think about it if you have cross species interaction then what? It'll be nothing less than fire an brimstone, good and evil, dogs and cats living together. Oh heavens what next? :rolleyes::D :D :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love watching cross species interaction.


My cat, Spencer, would sit on my horse's back as she ate her grain, then calmly the horse would take the cat down into the field as she resumed grazing. Both very content.


Annie, my border collie, and Peck, de cat, often play together. It starts with Peck batting at Annie as she dashes by then Annie returns to Peck circling and poking him with her nose, and darting backwards when Peck swats at her. Then one chases the other. A lot of fun to watch!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When Jin was about 6 mo I took him over to play with Birdie a litter mate. While we were on the edge of the polo field a couple of coyote pups wandered out of the brush and the 4 pups started to play with each other. Theresa and I were dumbfounded and didn't know what to do. We were worried the coyote parents would interfere or do something because they couldn't have been out of ear or eyesight. So we just sat there sort of afraid to break the spell. It was very cool and went on for about 10-15 mins before the coyote pups ran off. That was one of the coolest things I've ever seen in the desert.


On the other side Sebastian our 3 yr old black cat plays with the local roadrunners during the summer. These are the same birds every year, they're are territorial. Been going on since Sebastian's second summer. That BTW is not that uncommon, roadrunners that hang around your house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our Aussie, MacLeod, was ever the guardian of the babies or little animals. He was particularly fond of my daughter's house rabbit, Smoky. Smoky liked to sit on a little woven stool I'd made, as it gave him a comfy perch to watch out the french door towards the garden. Mac also liked lying nearby to keep an eye on things in the yard and garden.


Mac would often begin to groom Smoky, cleaning out his lop ears and thoroughly licking the top of his head. He'd leave Smoky with a punky, spiky hairdo but, the whole time Mac would be grooming, Smoky's eyes would be closed in bliss.


I have many fond memories of Smoky (and Delbin, my house rabbit, who came along a bit after Smoky had passed on), hopping around to the window where Mac lay watching out, and stopping next to (or between Mac's front legs) and watching along with Mac for a little while, before proceeding on to whatever was pressing business for a house bunny. Sometimes, Mac would throw in a grooming along with sharing the view.


Mac took his protection jobs seriously, whether it was baby calves, his cats (and not interlopers), or his bunnies. When a bunny passed on and his body was laid out on the tiles, waiting for Ed to come home from work for burial duty, Mac would not let a cat in the room. I miss that dog. I always knew my child was safe when he was with her, and so were any young or small animals in his care.


When I'd be checking the calves, he'd sit still and looking into the distance, and revel in the calves all creeping up behind him to check out this creature that was not too different in size from them. Any dog that came into the pasture when Mac had baby calves, was promptly driven off - even his best friend, Maggie, from the neighbors'.


The Border Collies just don't have any sense of protection or guardianship but I love them nonetheless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a neighbor whose dog (an Irish setter/lab mix) simply adored our house rabbit. She liked nothing better than to come sit near him, gazing at him adoringly, waving her tail. They eventually had to buy Annie her own rabbit.


I had a housemate with a cat with a high prey drive (a great mouser and birder) - but the cat would let Chris' two cockatiels climb all over him, nibbling on his toes, with nary a flinch on his part. We felt it was because he adored Chris so much and knew she didn't want him to bother the birds.


My dogs have never had a particularly close relationship with other species. Our cat, Purcy, initially hated Duncan when we brought him home (Purcy had never seen a dog), but he has mellowed somewhat in the ensuing months. Still, I'm not sure that we can count on cross-species friendship in their future, as yesterday's photo demonstrates.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

My quarter horse Eddy and former ram Redneck used to play. They would play over the fence; Red would run up to the fence and Eddy would bob his head and grab at Red. They did this on almost a daily basis. Then there was Oreo, my other gelding who thought Red made a good lolipop. I never understood why Red put up with being licked by a horse, but he did.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...