Herding Dogs

The American Kennel Club had reclassified the working group of dogs to be the herding group during 1983. The term herding dog is saved for dogs that were and still are used as guardians of sheep, cattle, and sometimes waterfowl. The herding dogs main function is to protect their livestock from predation and thievery. Some herding dogs are able to work with an assortment of farm animals. Others are bred and trained specifically to handle one type of animal.

Many of the dogs in the herding group have different ways of getting the cows or sheep to adhere to their plans. The Australian Cattle dog will often nip at the heels of the animal instead of using the “stare down” technique used by the Border Collie. Another approach is done by the Blue and Red Heelers who stay to the back of the herd and drive them forward to where they want them to go. Farmers were smart to keep the true hunters in their herding dogs but also keeping them from treating the livestock as prey. Unless your dog lives with you on a farm, the majority of the dogs that make up the herding group will only see a horse or a cow by passing them while they’re in their owners car. Herding dogs make for an excellent family pet, but require a lot of exercise and a large enclosed yard to where they can
roam free.