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Have you heard of a Hangingtree cowdog killing a calf?

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Hello,

I have two female Hangingtree cowdogs, they just turned one, very smart, always at the barn with the cows.  We do sometimes have a problem with them ALWAYS trying to herd them but they are getting better.  We got them last June so our calves were good size and the the pups were still pretty small, we had our first calf of the season this morning and I was at work but my dad was home and called me and said he thought my dogs killed the calf, the calf was on the other side of the fence and he said the dogs were with the dead calf chewing/licking him.  Have you heard of these dogs killing a calf?  I love these two girls but now I'm scared they might have done this.  They are very timid when it comes to people, they only want to be around me or at the barn with the cows, just cant see them doing this.  Any thoughts??

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Any dog of a certain size can kill a calf. Certainly if there are two of them. Hanging tree cowdogs are afaik strong aggressive cattledogs, so sure, they can potentially kill stock. A newborn calf, easily. I feel I am stating the obvious here, the question is of course did your dogs actually kill that calf? The state of the carcass should hold clues to that riddle, you don't say much about that. It has been stated before on this forum, NEVER leave stockdogs unattended with livestock, especially un- or only partially trained ones. Sorry for your loss.

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Not specific to Hangin' Tree cowdogs but any Scots shepherd worth her or his salt will tell you that the worst dogs for worrying sheep, sometimes to death, are border collies left to their own devices. Just because they're meant to herd and not hunt doesn't mean they can't be killers.

I'd also wonder if there's proof that the dogs killed the calf. Whatever the verdict, and even if they didn't, leaving them run loose around livestock is asking for trouble.

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You got the same answers here as in "Ask an Expert" - do not let your dogs out unsupervised, period. They seem to have been allowed to obsess over the cattle, they have been bred to "turn on" to livestock, and they have only done what comes naturally (whether that's to harry the stock or worse) without their instincts being trained and guided. Even then, leaving working dogs (other than guardian dogs) loose and to their own devices is never a good idea. 

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