Sometimes animals of different species become the best of friends. That’s the case with this Friesian and Border Terrier puppy. The horse and dog clearly like each other, with the horse gently nuzzling the puppy and the puppy loving the attention. It seems like as the puppy grows up, these two will likely continue to be the best of friends.
But that’s not always the case with horses and dogs. In fact, the two species don’t always get along all that well. According to The Horse, horses are prey animals and dogs are predators, so their relationship is often a predator-prey one, not one of mutual affection.
Just whether a horse and dog can get along will depend on the individual animals that you’re working with. If you have a well-mannered, laid-back horse, he well may be able to accept a well-behaved, calm dog into his life. But your dog must also have a particular temperament. Dogs which are easily excitable, aggressive when threatened, or easily frightened generally won’t be suitable for bringing around a horse barn.
When you introduce your horse and dog, it’s so important to keep the situation calm and controlled. It’s a good idea to have extra people on hand to help, especially if your horse or dog reacts unexpectedly.
Even though a horse and dog may seem to be compatible temperament-wise, you can never completely predict how either animal will react to the other. Your normally quiet dog may surprise you, and your horse may simply decide that he’s not okay with your dog around. You’ll want to be ready for poor reactions in order to make sure that everyone stays safe.
And if your horse and dog do get along well? That’s great, but you still shouldn’t ever leave them alone together. Horses spook, dogs sometimes bite in play, and you never know what might happen. Just be sure to supervise them carefully and always keep their safety in mind.