They’re basically two different species.
The ubiquitous barn dog makes any farm complete: you can find them trotting fencelines, lounging in the sunny aisle or greeting visitors as they arrive. While there are certainly a few particular varieties favored by horsemen, the barn dog knows no breed: we’ve met plenty of border collies, Labradors and heelers, but also greyhounds, chihuahuas, bulldogs and plenty of indeterminate mutts.
The same can be true of your house dog: sure, we might automatically think of little fluffy things about ankle-height with jeweled collars, but the house pet can equally be of any breed, size, shape or variety.
So how can you identify one from the other? Here’s a tongue-in-cheek list. (We realize that many dogs will fall under both categories and we hope you do too — this list is just for fun.)
1. A barn dog feels the most comfortable when he’s at the barn with you. A house dog feels the most comfortable when he’s in your purse. If he doesn’t fit in your purse, then your lap.
2. A barn dog’s favorite treat is horse hoof trimmings from the farrier. The only time a lap dog will taste any horse’s hooves is when he’s flying 20 feet in the air from being kicked in the mouth.
3. Barn dogs have names like “Diesel,” “Dually,” and “Jack;” house dogs have names like “Gucci,” “Prada” and “Dior.”
4. A barn dog loves to nip the heels of unruly cattle. A house dog loves to nip the heels of unruly mailmen.
5. When you let a barn dog off leash, you can’t get him away from you. When you let a house dog off leash, he runs away from you.
6. A barn dog’s perfume is a mixture of manure, shavings, and wet dog. A house dog’s perfume is a mixture of shampoo, febreeze and stale apartment air.
7. A barn dog knows how to stay out of the way of hooves and boots. A house dog has the uncanny ability to always be in the way.
8. A barn dog is good around children. A house dog loves the taste of little children.
9. A barn dog can go riding with you all day and still have energy to go do it again the next day. A house dog makes you carry him up and down the stairs.
10. A barn dog is irreplaceable. Actually, that goes for house dogs too. Go dogs. And go riding.