Herding Dog Breeds

Known for their loyalty and intelligence, the Herding Group dog breeds are prized as watchdogs and companions.

Posted: April 13, 2012, 3 p.m. EDT

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In many parts of the world, Herding dogs continue to gather, herd and protect livestock, functions that they have performed since prehistoric times. But that's far from all they do. Today, some Herding breeds, such as the German Shepherd Dog, are commonly trained for police and protection work. Others, such as the Border Collie, excel at competitive performance events. Because of their outstanding loyalty and intelligence, Herding dogs are prized as house dogs, watchdogs and companions.

Herding dogs specialize in rounding up livestock, finding strays and moving animals from one grazing area to another. They are designed to tirelessly stalk and chase. Their high working drive and boundless energy are great for rounding up sheep, but dogs with these traits do not easily adapt to an undemanding lifestyle. Barking, heel nipping and nudging are normal herding behaviors that may be seen as problems in a house pet.

Is a Herding Dog Breed for you? Look at these 8 facts about the Herding Dog to decide if it is the right dog for your life situation.

1. They are loyal, intelligent and extremely affectionate toward their owners.
2. Their weatherproof coats are good for all types of climates.
3. They are versatile and have plenty of stamina for participating in all kinds of activities with their owners, and they excel at dog sports.
4. Herding dogs are sturdy and rugged and make good watchdogs; many work as police and military dogs.
5. They require consistent training and socialization as puppies.
6. Instinctive herding behaviors such as barking, budging, stalking and heel nipping are part of the package.
7. Some can require extensive grooming to keep them clean and to minimize doggy odor.
8. Eager to please though independent-minded, herding dogs are easily trained.

Excerpt from the American Kennel Club's Meet the Breeds with permission from its publisher, BowTie Press, a division of BowTie, Inc. Purchase the AKC's Meet the Breeds.

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Roberta   Atalissa, IA

8/2/2013 1:50:07 AM

We got our Mini Aussie puppy a couple weeks ago. He is 14 weeks old. I was wondering if anyone could tell me their experiences with their Mini Aussie. I just love him and would love to learn more.

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emma   adel, International

5/3/2013 6:40:39 AM

i like dat fur

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Marge   Fair Oaks, California

9/23/2012 12:37:13 PM

Wow! I have a rescue listed as a german sheppard mix. Once my son saw a Malinois working as a K-9 officer - he was certain this is what she was!


Dad also saw a Bomb Squad team just out playing with their Malinois! Rob told me at deer hunting they were talking about Sasha & one of the guys with them, "Was the Arm in training K-9s". He stated that the Malinois is by far stronger than a GSD.


Sasha came to my house July 19th. Many times I thought her actions may be a deal breaker, though she is proving me wrong. She was well trained and supposedly 2 yrs old. I believe she is only a pup!! I'm disabled with a third acre lot. Though some days I can't get out throw toys, she finds plenty of exercise chasing the squirrels, catching rats, lizzards and BEES!!


To me this dog is LOYAL & LOVING!!

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

8/19/2012 5:48:19 PM

Today on our walk we met a man who has 2 Bergamasco Dogs. One was brown tones and the other was gray tones. They were amazing. They were very gentle and well behaved. They were excellent with my dog. I was so taken with their coats. It was just like a coat of armor.

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