Herding Dogs

Belgian Malinois

One of the varieties of the Chien de Berger Belge, this breed gained popularity in the United States from 1959, when this dog began to be registered as a separate breed.  It is sometimes used as a police dog.  These dogs need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

They are alert, confident dogs that can be very friendly with members of their family, but are generally not good with strangers and can be aggressive toward other dogs.

Appearance

A sturdy dog, fairly square in proportion, it has almond-shaped eyes and a flat skull.  The ears are stiff and erect.  The tail is raised, with a slight curve when the animal is moving.  A smooth gait gives the impression of effortlessness.  Coat color is rich fawn to dark mahogany, with black tipped hairs and a black mask and ears.  The short, straight, hard coat, with its dense undercoat, needs weekly brushing.

Size:    Height at withers 22-26 in

Weight:    60-65 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    10-12 years

Things to Consider

  1. This is a high-energy breed with a need for regular mental and physical stimulation

Australian Shepherd

Despite its name, the modern-day version of this breed was actually developed in the United States.  It is thought that the forebears to these dogs may have traveled to America along with Basque shepherds, who came to the United States via Australia.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Australian Shepherds are even-tempered working dogs with considerable charisma and strong herding and guarding instincts.  They need regular exercise to keep fit.  Affable animals, they greet friends and strangers openly.  This breed performs well in obedience and agility competitions.  Intelligent dogs, they need a good deal of mental stimulation, and human contact is vital for their emotional well-being.

Appearance

This is a medium-sized dog with a medium-length, coarse double coat that is easy to groom and fairly weather resistant.  Coat colors can be blue merle, red merle, black, or red, with tan in the head and lower leg area.  Tails are docked or naturally bobbed.  Eyes are set wide, and the ears fold forward.  Muscular and powerful, this breed combines stamina with speed and intelligence.

Size:    Height at withers 18-23 in

Weight:    35-44 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    12-15 years

Things to Consider

  1. May be susceptible to cataracts, as well as to Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)

Canaan Dog

The Canaan Dog is an ancient breed that was used by Bedouins as a herder and watchdog.  In recent times Canaan Dogs have been used for mine detection, sentry duty, as messengers, and as Red Cross helpers.  During WWII, they were used to locate wounded soldiers.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

The Canaan Dog has good guarding and hunting instincts, but needs plenty of exercise.  It may be distrustful of strangers and other dogs.

Appearance

The short, soft, undercoat varies in density according to climate and requires brushing once a week to remove dead hairs.  With a slight ruff, Canaans have a bushy tail that curls up over the back when excited.  This dog is highly adaptable to different climates.  The body is spare with a clear, sharp outline.

Size:    Height at withers 19-24 in

Weight:    35-55 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Minimal

Life Expectancy:    12-13 years

Things to Consider

  1. This dog is very territorial and tends to bark a lot.

Belgian Sheepdog

The Belgian Sheepdog began as a working farm dog and was officially named the “Groenendael” after the kennel that had selectively bred these dogs since 1893.  It gained a reputation as a useful police dog in the US, and Groenendaels were used as sentry dogs, messengers, and draft dogs during WWI.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Typically playful and alert, as well as tough and independent, this breed has a tendency to be domineering with other animals and possessive of its owners.

Appearance

An elegant, alert, and agile dog with an intent expression, the Groenendael has almond-shaped eyes and a flat skull with a moderate stop.  The long muzzle and narrow jaw, together with rigid, erect ears, gives the dog a slightly vulpine appearance.  A dense undercoat is covered by an abundant black topcoat, which is long and well feathered around the shoulders, legs, and tail.  The medium-length tail is raised in a slight curve when the dog is moving.  The dog has a smooth, effortless gait and a tendency to run in circles rather than in a straight line.

Size:    Height at withers 22-26 in

Weight:    60-65 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    10-12 years

Things to Consider

  1. Needs an experienced owner

Belgian Tervuren

The first Terv was registered in the US in 1918, but the breed died out during the 1930s and had to be recreated from the long-haired offspring of Malinois parents.  Today, these dogs are often used by security services and in assistance work with the blind or disabled.  With outstanding scenting abilities, they are also useful as drug-sniffing dogs.  They thrive on stimulating work, play, and exercise.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Tervs are alert and watchful dogs.  Active, affectionate, and dependable companions, they are intelligent and obedient and they respond well to training.  They make good watchdogs.

Appearance

Tervurens have square proportions and appear heavily set.  They have long muzzles, pricked ears, and almond-shaped eyes.  The tail is raised slightly when moving, and held low when at rest.  Coloring is gray, fawn, or red, with darker hair on the face.  The dense undercoat and abundant outercoat are straight and of medium hardness.

Size:    Height at withers 22-26 in

Weight:    60-65 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    10-12 years

Things to Consider

  1. This breed has a tendency to be possessive

Shetland Sheepdog

This breed probably comes from the same stock as the Collie and Bearded Collie, but isolation in the remote Shetland Islands kept the breed pure.  The “Shelti” resembles a rough Collie in miniature, but is a separate breed.  A small, alert, rough-coated, and long-haired working dog, the Sheltie is rarely used for herding today, but retains the instincts of a watchdog.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Shelties are loyal, affectionate, and responsive, but they may appear reserved toward strangers.

Appearance

Shetland Sheepdogs are elegant and fine-featured.  Their small bodies are well proportioned and covered with a long, harsh coat, and they have an attractive mane and frill around the shoulders.  The head is tapered, with a long, well-defined muzzle and dark, almond-shaped eyes.  Ears are semi erect, and these dogs often tilt their heads in a quizzical manner.

Size:    Height at withers 13-16 in

Weight:    20 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Moderate

Grooming Requirements:    Considerable

Life Expectancy:    12-14 years

Things to Consider

  1. Shelties sometimes bark excessively, especially if bored.

Collie

Evidence from 1800 suggests that this breed has been around for some time; its name is thought to derive from the Gaelic word for “useful.”  The rough and smooth varieties derive from two different crosses, and both varieties were formerly smaller.  However, breeding has ensured that Collies are now taller and have a more refined look.  Rough Collies were usually black or black and white until influenced by the progeny of a dog named Old Cockie, who is thought to be responsible for the sable coat color.  The rough-coated version became popular during the reign of Queen Victoria and has a history as a working sheepdog, although it has gained fame more recently as a movie star.  The smooth Collie lacks the glamour of the rough and has not achieved the same popularity, but makes an excellent household pet.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Collies have friendly temperaments and are affectionate with children.  The Collie requires vigorous exercise every day, daily physical and mental stimulation being necessary to avoid frustration.

Appearance

This dog is an active, strong, and lithe herder with ambitious speed changes.  The two coat varieties both have a plentiful, soft undercoat.  The smooth variety has a short, hard, and flat outercoat.  The rough Collie has straight and long hair, abundant at the ruff, and requires more demanding grooming care.  Their faces show intelligence and are expressive is listed in official breed standards as a critical factor.

Size:    Height at withers 22-26 in

Weight:    50-75 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Considerable (smooth variety needs minimal care)

Life Expectancy:    8-10 years

Things to Consider

  1. This breed is prone to CEA (Collie Eye Anomaly).
  2. Merles should not be bred to Merles, as the resulting homozygous merle is bad for the health of the resulting offspring.

Border Collie

The most popular working dogs in Britain and recognized around the world as the top sheepherding dogs, Collies are the result of careful selective breeding from herding and fetching stock.  The standards established for this breed in 1906 were, unusually, not based on physical attributes, but on working ability.  The Border Collie was first recognized in 1955 by the AKC for inclusion in the Miscellaneous Class.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

These dogs must have daily stimulation or else they will revert to destructive and occasionally aggressive behavior.  They have strong predatory instincts, which is what gives them their herding talents.  Intelligent and responsive dogs, they are generally not happy as urban house pets and will become snappy if bored.

Appearance

Border Collies are of a medium size and are strongly boned with an athletic appearance.  They combine grace and stamina with agility and ability.  The coat can be rough, or smooth and short all over the body.  Colors vary, including black, brown, red, black and white, tricolor, or merle; eyes are deep-set and brown.  The head is well defined, with a tapering and slightly blunt muzzle.

Size:    Height at withers 18-22 in

Weight:    30-45 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    10-14 years

Things to Consider

  1. Not well-suited to an urban environment

Puli

The Hungarian Puli is lively and obedient, an excellent housedog, and full of energy with an inquisitive nature.  A hardy dog bred for herding flocks on the plains of Hungary, most now come from breeding programs in Britain and the US.  This dog requires plenty of exercise and firm discipline.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Smart, headstrong, and tough, the Puli can be aggressive toward other dogs and reserved with strangers.  Pulis are excellent watchdogs and great barkers.

Appearance

Pulis are compact and square proportioned, with a distinctive corded coat that is virtually waterproof.  The weatherproof, dense undercoat is soft and covered by the abundant outer coat, which becomes corded at maturity but may be brushed out.  Colors range from black to shades of gray and apricot.  The dog’s round head is virtually hidden by shaggy hair; indeed, only a shiny black nose peers out from under the dog’s “dreadlocks.”

Size:    Height at withers 16-17 in

Weight:    25-35 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Moderate

Grooming Requirements:    Considerable

Life Expectancy:    12-16 years

Things to Consider

  1. This dog barks a great deal and is easily bored.
  2. The grooming is very time-consuming.

Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier means “cow herd” in French, and these dogs are the descendants of cattle dogs used for centuries by farmers in northern France and Belgium.  They are good all-around farm dogs and excellent watchdogs, capable of performing a variety of working tasks.  They were also used in the French Army Medical Corps during WWI.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

They are loyal and devoted companions and will be calm indoors–as long as they receive vigorous and stimulating daily exercise and games.  They are powerful dogs, and can appear aggressive in the face of unknown situations or people.

Appearance

This dog comes in all colors and sizes.  It is a compact, powerful dog, short-coupled and of square proportion.  The coat is weatherproof, double, and tousled, requiring combing once or twice weekly and trimming and shaping every three months.  The large head has a distinctive beard and mustache.

Size:    Height at withers 23-27 in

Weight:    69-90 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Moderate

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    11-12 years

Things to Consider

  1. This dog is not well-suited to an urban environment.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Welsh Corgis are among Britain’s most ancient breeds, and the Cardigan Corgi has been used by Welsh farmers for centuries to herd cattle.  Although quite small, this breed still needs a fair amount of exercise.  This dog has speed, endurance, and intelligence, and it makes a good watchdog.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

This low-set, handsome dog is an easygoing and well-mannered pet at home, but it can be scrappy with other dogs and has a tendency to bark excessively.

Appearance

Cardigan Corgis have a double coat–a soft, thick undercoat, and a harsh outercoat.  Colors are all shades of red, sable, and brindle, with white flashings common.  The tail is fairly long and set in line with the body.  Wide-set eyes and large, erect ears give these dogs a foxlike appearance.

Size:    Height at withers 10-12 in

Weight:    25-38 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Moderate

Grooming Requirements:    Minimal

Life Expectancy:    10-12 years

Things to Consider

  1. These dogs are inclined to be snappy.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Probably developed in the twelfth century as a cattle dog, the ancestors of Pembroke Corgis may have been brought to western Wales from Holland by Flemish weavers.  They are practical dogs with plenty of stamina for a day’s work nipping at the heels of cattle.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Pembroke Corgis are now well established as a house and show dog, demonstrating an eagerness to please, boldness, and friendliness.  They are not ideal companions for small children, as they do not tolerate teasing.

Appearance

Low set, the Pembroke is intelligent with a foxy expression.  The coat is of medium length, with a coarser outer coat.  Colors are red, sable, fawn, and black and tan, with or without a white flash.  The Pembroke sheds heavily and should be brushed at least twice a week.

Size:    Height at withers 10-12 in

Weight:    25-30 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Moderate

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    11-13 years

Things to Consider

  1. Pembroke Corgis are reserved with strangers and inclined to bark a lot.

Briard

This is a very old breed of French working dog, having originated from French sheepdogs.  Originally deployed as herd protectors, Briards were also expected to tackle wolves, should they appear.  Introduced to the US by soldiers returning home after WWI, they didn’t gain real popularity in America until the 1960s.  Like all herding dogs, they require vigorous and stimulating daily exercise, such as a long walk or jog, as well as a play session that includes an element of training.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

They are loyal and protective toward their human family, although they may be reserved with strangers or aggressive toward other dogs.

Appearance

Square and powerful dogs, Briards have broad, deep chests, housing an excellent cardiovascular system that gives them their strong stamina and endurance.  They have large heads and wide muzzles, and a distinctive mustache and beard.  Large eyes appear alert and composed.  High-set ears are covered with abundant hair.  Briards are longer than they are tall, and they sport a long outercoat that has a very dry texture.  The coat comes in black, slate gray, and various forms of fawn.  They have two dew claws on each hind leg.

Size:    Height at withers 22-27 in

Weight:    75-100 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Considerable

Life Expectancy:    10-12 years

Things to Consider

  1. This breed needs regular exercise to avoid behavioral problems.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog

An active herder that looks like a smaller version of a Bearded Collie, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is equally trainable and intelligent.  These dogs are possibly descended from Asian herding dogs, and they nearly became extinct during WWII.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Alert and self-confident, this breed needs a dominant master and consistent training.  They can be boisterous, but they are generally self-controlled dogs and make wonderful companions.

Appearance

Medium to small sized dogs, they are usually born without a tail.  They have broad loins and a deep brisket.  They are well muscled, with a long, harsh coat and dense undercoat, which can be any color.  Long hair hangs over the eyes.

Size:    Height at withers 17-20 in

Weight:    43 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Considerable

Life Expectancy:    13-14 years

Things to Consider

  1. This breed requires experienced owners.

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdogs were bred early in the nineteenth century in the west of England as drovers’ dogs for driving animals to market.  These drovers’ dogs were tax exempt, and their tails were docked to prove their occupation.  Old English Sheepdogs make good watchdogs.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

With an easy, extroverted temperament, this breed is faithful, intelligent, and can be good with children.  They are affectionate dogs, and early training should curb their habits of over exuberance.  Firm handling is necessary in training.

Appearance

This distinctive dog has an abundant coat that can be any shade of gray, grizzle blue, or blue merle, with or without white markings.  They are thickset animals with square proportions and a compact body that is surprisingly agile and powerful.  The loins are higher than the shoulders.  The undercoat is waterproof and the shaggy outer coat is harsh textured.  Coat care involves brushing and combing every day to avoid matting.

Size:    Height at withers 21-25 in

Weight:    60-67 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Considerable

Life Expectancy:    12-13 years

Things to Consider

  1. With their exercise and grooming requirements, these dogs are a major commitment.

Bearded Collie

A hardy and active working dog that was finally recognized as a separate breed in its native Britain in 1944, the Bearded Collie, although it is thought to be descended from the Magyar Komondor of Central Europe.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Bred as a companion and servant, the Bearded Collie is a devoted family member and has an unspoiled temperament.  Beardies are lively and cheerful, and they retain the basic instincts of a worker.

Appearance

This is a medium-sized dog with a long, flowing coat that follows the shape of the body and hides a lean and athletic physique.  All shades of gray, brown, and sandy, with or without collie markings, can be seen.  The undercoat is soft, furry, and close, while the outer coat is strong and flat, with no tendency to curl, and parts naturally down the spine.  Hair is sparse on the nose ridge but longer at the sides:  A long beard is a typical characteristic.

Size:    Height at withers 20-22 in

Weight:    40-60 lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    12-13 years

Things to Consider

  1. Bore easily and need stimulating exercise
  2. Respond well to training, but require great patience as puppies

Australian Cattle Dog

Also known as the Queensland Blue Heeler, this dog is a relatively recent import to Europe and North America.  True working dogs, with stamina and agility to match, they persuade cattle to move by nipping at their heels.

Breed Category

Herding Dog

Temperament

Alert and trustworthy, Australian Cattle Dogs enjoy a large amount of exercise, but are also obedient.  Naturally wary of strangers and dominant, these dogs require early socialization.

Appearance

With a compact and sturdy build, Australian Cattle Dogs have wedge-shaped heads, strong necks, powerful jaws, and large teeth.  A broad chest and powerful loins give them the stamina and power needed for a day’s work herding cattle.  The double coat is weather resistant, with a short, dense undercoat and short outercoat of blue mottling or red speckles.

Size:    Height at withers 17-20 in

Weight:    35-45lbs

Exercise Requirements:    Considerable

Grooming Requirements:    Moderate

Life Expectancy:    10-13 years

Things to Consider

  1. Requires firm handling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *