Top 20 Best Dog Breeds for Herding

Looking for the best herding dog breed? Check out our comprehensive guide to the top 20 best dog breeds for herding, including their characteristics, temperament, and training needs. Find your perfect herding companion today!

If you live on a farm or have a large property, a herding dog can be a great addition to your family. Herding dogs are known for their ability to control and move livestock, making them an essential part of the agricultural industry. However, herding dogs can also make great pets for families who have an active lifestyle and enjoy spending time outdoors. In this article, we will discuss the top 20 best dog breeds for herding.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Herding dogs have been bred for centuries to work with livestock. They have a natural instinct to control and move animals, which makes them perfect for herding. These dogs are intelligent, obedient, and have a strong work ethic, making them excellent companions for farmers, ranchers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

What is Herding?

Herding is the act of controlling and moving livestock, such as sheep, cattle, and goats. Herding dogs are trained to respond to various commands, such as “come-by” (move to the left), “away” (move to the right), and “stop” (stay still). These commands allow the dog to maneuver the livestock and keep them in a specific area.

Characteristics of a Good Herding Dog

A good herding dog should have the following characteristics:

  • Intelligence: Herding dogs need to be able to learn and follow commands quickly.
  • Obedience: Herding dogs need to be obedient and responsive to their handler’s commands.
  • Energy: Herding dogs are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise.
  • Work ethic: Herding dogs are bred to work and should have a strong work ethic.
  • Loyalty: Herding dogs are loyal to their owners and make great companions.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Herding Dog Breed

Before choosing a herding dog breed, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • Size: Herding dogs breeds come in various sizes, from small to large. Consider the size of your property and the size of the livestock you plan to herd.
  • Energy Level: Herding dogs breeds are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise. Consider your lifestyle and how much time you can devote to exercising your dog.
  • Training: Herding dogs require training to learn how to herd livestock. Consider your ability to train a dog or hire a professional trainer.
  • Grooming: Herding dogs have various grooming requirements, from low to high maintenance. Consider your ability to groom your dog or hire a professional groomer.

Top 20 Best Dog Breeds for Herding

Border Collie

The Border Collie is perhaps the most well-known and popular herding breed. These dogs were originally bred in the British Isles for their exceptional work ethic, intelligence, and agility. They are highly trainable and excel at a wide range of activities, from sheepdog trials to frisbee. Border Collies require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, and they can be prone to certain health problems like hip dysplasia.

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Blue Heeler, is a medium-sized breed originally developed in Australia for herding cattle. They are intelligent, loyal, and have a strong work ethic. These dogs require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and they can be prone to certain health issues like deafness.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are a versatile breed that are often used as police or military dogs, but they also make great herding dogs. They are intelligent, obedient, and loyal, and they have a natural instinct to protect their family. German Shepherds require plenty of exercise and training, and they can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small but sturdy breed that was originally bred in Wales for herding cattle and sheep. They are intelligent, affectionate, and have a strong work ethic. Corgis require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and they can be prone to certain health issues like back problems.

Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a small to medium-sized breed that was originally developed in the Shetland Islands for herding sheep. They are intelligent, loyal, and have a strong work ethic. Shelties require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and they can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia.

Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a large breed that was originally developed in England for herding sheep. They are intelligent, affectionate, and have a playful personality. These dogs require plenty of exercise and grooming, and they can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia and cataracts.

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized breed that is often used as a police or military dog, but they also make great herding dogs. They are intelligent, loyal, and have a strong work ethic. Malinois require plenty of exercise and training, and they can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia.

Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres is a large breed that was originally developed in Belgium for herding cattle. They are intelligent, loyal, and have a strong work ethic. These dogs require plenty of exercise and grooming, and they can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia and ear infections.

Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie is a medium-sized breed that was originally developed in Scotland for herding sheep. They are intelligent, playful, and have a strong work ethic. These dogs require plenty of exercise and grooming, and they can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia.

Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized breed that was originally developed in the western United States for herding sheep. They are intelligent, loyal, and have a strong work ethic. Aussies require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and they can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia and eye problems.

Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpies are known for their intelligence, trainability, and strong herding instincts. They excel at cattle herding and are often used in the Australian outback.

Briard

The Briard is a large breed that was originally bred in France for herding sheep. They are intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs that excel in various tasks, including herding, obedience, and protection work.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Also known as the Great Pyrenees, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a large breed that was originally bred in France for guarding livestock. They are intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs that make great family pets.

Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is a small breed that was originally bred in Iceland for herding sheep. They are intelligent, energetic, and trainable dogs that make great companions for active families.

Swedish Vallhund

The Swedish Vallhund is a small breed that was originally bred in Sweden for herding cattle. They are intelligent, energetic, and affectionate dogs that make great companions for active families.

Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized breed that was originally bred in Finland for herding reindeer. They are intelligent, loyal, and trainable dogs that make great companions for active families.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Entlebucher Mountain Dog a medium-sized breed from Switzerland, known for their athleticism and high energy level. They were originally bred for herding cattle and can also be trained for other tasks such as search and rescue.

Wheaten Terrier

The Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized dog breed from Ireland known for its soft, silky coat and friendly temperament. These affectionate dogs are great with children and make good family pets, although they require regular exercise and training to keep them well-behaved. With a strong herding instinct and a high prey drive, Wheaten Terriers are best suited for active families who are willing to provide them with plenty of exercise and attention.

Dutch Shepherd

The Dutch Shepherd is a medium-sized breed that was originally bred in the Netherlands for herding and guarding livestock. They are intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs that excel in various tasks, including herding, police work, and search and rescue.

Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a medium to large-sized breed that was originally bred in Louisiana for herding and hunting. They are intelligent, energetic, and highly trainable dogs that make great companions for active families.

Conclusion

There are many dog breeds that are excellent for herding, each with its unique characteristics and strengths. Whether you are looking for a large or small dog, there is a breed out there that can meet your needs. Remember, it is essential to consider your lifestyle and the dog’s temperament and training needs before bringing home a new furry friend. By doing your research and selecting the right breed, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for both you and your herding dog.

FAQs on Best Dog Breeds for Herding

How do I know if my dog breed is a herding breed?

A. Herding breeds are typically medium to large in size, have high energy levels and a strong desire to work. They are often bred specifically for herding livestock, so if your dog comes from a herding breed, they are likely to have these traits.

Are herding dogs good with children?

Many herding breeds can be great with children, but it is important to properly socialize and train your dog to ensure they are well-behaved around kids. Some herding breeds, like the Australian Cattle Dog, may be better suited for families with older children due to their high energy levels.

Can herding dogs be kept in apartments?

It is not recommended to keep herding dogs in apartments as they require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. These breeds are typically better suited for homes with large yards or outdoor spaces where they can run and play.

Do all herding breeds require grooming?

Most herding breeds require regular grooming, as they often have thick, double coats that can become matted if not properly cared for. However, the amount of grooming required can vary depending on the breed.

Can herding dogs be trained for other activities besides herding?

Yes, many herding breeds excel in other activities like obedience, agility, and even search and rescue. Proper training and socialization can help your dog excel in a variety of activities.

Are herding dogs prone to any health issues?

Yes, like all breeds, herding dogs can be prone to certain health issues. These can include hip dysplasia, eye problems, and back issues, among others. It is important to properly research any breed you are considering to understand their potential health issues.

Can herding dogs be trained to live with other pets?

Yes, with proper training and socialization, herding dogs can be great with other pets. However, it is important to supervise any interactions and introduce new pets slowly to ensure everyone gets along.

How much exercise do herding dogs require?

Herding dogs require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. This can vary depending on the breed, but most will require at least 1-2 hours of exercise per day.

Do herding dogs make good guard dogs?

Some herding breeds, like the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois, are often used as guard dogs due to their natural protective instincts. However, not all herding breeds may be suitable for this role.

Can herding dogs be trained to live in a city environment?

With proper training and socialization, some herding breeds can adapt to city living. However, it is important to consider the breed’s energy levels and exercise requirements before making this decision.

Please also check out other article from this website like

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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Dog Breeds for Children

The Top 10 Military Dog Breeds You Need to Know About

References

  1. American Kennel Club (AKC) – https://www.akc.org/
  2. The Kennel Club UK – https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/
  3. Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) – https://www.ankc.org.au/
  4. Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) – https://www.ckc.ca/
  5. Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) – https://www.fci.be/
  6. United Kennel Club (UKC) – https://www.ukcdogs.com/
  7. Herding on the Web – https://www.herdingontheweb.com/
  8. Herding Dogs Central – https://www.herdingdogscentral.com/
  9. Herding Dog World – https://www.herdingdogworld.com/
  10. American Herding Breed Association (AHBA) – https://www.ahba-herding.org/

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