Dogs are the most ancient trusted friend of human beings. The dogs were initially used as hunting animals and companion animals. After introducing agricultural farming and animal rearing, the dogs were herding animals. Herding dog breeds are ancient and most famous throughout the world.
Most Popular Herding Dog Breeds
There are hundreds of dog breeds that can be trained as herding dogs. All dogs are not equally popular and efficient. The herding dogs must be obedient, alert, intelligent, and well-tempered. The dogs must be of adequate size that can attack any predators. The dog must have the energy to run faster than the predator. In my article, I shall highlight the most common herding dog breeds with pictures.
A particolored variety of the Newfoundland, known as the Landseer, found fame in the paintings of Sir Edward Landseer. The breed was also much admired by the English poet Lord Byron. The large and beautiful Newfoundland is rarely bad-tempered unless provoked. Indeed, it is amazingly gentle with other breeds. It does, however, take up a tiny amount of space and needs regular exercise on hard ground and daily brushing using a stiff brush.
2. Great Swiss Mountain Dog
The Great Swiss Mountain Dog is a faithful, gentle animal devoted to children. It is alert and brilliant and makes a fine watchdog, willing to protect its human family with its life. The dog is the largest of four Swiss mountain dogs, of which the best known is the Bernese.
3. Appenzell Mountain Dog
The Appenzell Mountain Dog takes its name from a canton in northern Switzerland. The dog is similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog but is generally smaller, rectangular, and smooth coated. They were used extensively as a herding dogs and to haul carts of produce to market.
4. Herding Dog Breeds: Hovawart
The Hovawart has been considered as a relative newcomer. The breed has been developed by the German Kennel Club since 1936, having appeared in Wurttemberg toward the end of the 19th century. An excellent guard dog that is home-loving, fond of children, and easy to train, the Hovawart tends to be a one-person dog. It is shown to mature and will respond aggressively when provoked.
5. Maremma Sheepdog
The Maremma Sheepdog has two names in its native Italy. For centuries, the shepherd dogs spent from June until October in the Abruzzi, where there was good summer grazing, and from October until June in the Maremma. They are natural guards that will never forget a kindness or an injury. It should be regularly groomed using a wire brush and occasionally good cleansing powder.
6. Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres or Belgian Cattle Dog originates, as might be expected, from the Flanders area, between the River Lys valley and the coast. They can be rather fierce but has a calm and sensible temperament and is intelligent, hardy, and trustworthy. It is incredibly loyal to its family and is easily trained.
7. Bearded Collie
The Bearded Collie is one of the oldest herding dogs in Scotland. It may descend from the Komondor of central Europe. The Beardie is an alert, self-confident, and active dog and is good-natured and reliable with children. It makes a good pet and first-class obedience and shows a dog.
8. Herding Dog Breeds: Border Collie
The Border Collie is a descendant of working collies kept between England and Scotland. Within the past 15 years, the Border Collie has been increasingly chosen as a domestic pet, despite being unsuited to an existence that does not offer sufficient outlet for its energy and intelligence.
9. Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog has been in existence in Britain for centuries. It is believed to have been developed through the crossing of the Briard with the Russian Owtcharka, which is related to the Hungarian sheepdogs. They are kindly dog that gets on well with people, children, and other animals. However, it is relatively large, heavy, and exuberant and must be given sufficient space and be adequately exercised.
10. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie originated in the Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland. It resembles a Rough Collie in miniature, with its thick double coat protecting it from the elements in its rigorous native habitat. It is an excellent choice of family pet for those seeking an intelligent, faithful dog that enjoys exercise, gets on well with children, and makes a good show and obedience animal.
11. Herding Dog Breeds: Smooth Collie
The Smooth Collie is identical to the Rough Collie except in coat, that of the Smooth being short and flat, with a harsh-textured topcoat and a very dense undercoat. The dog has the same character and temperament as the Rough, and its care requirements are also the same.
12. Rough Collie
The Rough Collie, sometimes called the Scots or Scottish Collie, is still best known as the star of the lassie films. This breed’s ancestors have introduced into Britain from Iceland more than 400 years ago. The dog makes an excellent guard, being suspicious of strangers. It is supremely loyal and affectionate to its owners, a joy to train, and usually reliable with children.
13. Herding Dog Breeds: Hungarian Puli
The Puli, one of the best known of the Hungarian sheepdogs, is said to be a descendant of sheepdogs brought to Hungary by the Magyars over 1,000 years ago. The dog is a loyal, devoted, obedient, and intelligent dog that is good with other pets and slow to anger. It is, however, reserved with humans outside its own family.
14. Herding Dog Breeds: Briard
The Briard is the best French sheepdogs, the Beauce, Picardy, and Pyrenean. The Briard is reputed to have come to Europe with Asian invaders before the Middle Ages, along with other breeds of sheepdog such as the Hungarian Komondor and Russian Owtcharka, which have similar conformation. The dog has a gentle nature and makes a good family pet or farm dog, provided sufficient space is available.
15. Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is a superb worker that drives herds by nipping at the cattle’s heels. The breed traces back to the now-extinct Black Bobtail, described as large and somewhat clumsy. They are intelligent and good-tempered. It is capable of covering immense distances, and so requires considerable exercise. It benefits from vigorous daily brushing.
16. Lancashire Heeler
The Lancashire Heeler has been known in its native country of England for many years as a sporting dog and dispeller of vermin. As its name suggests, it was developed to herd cattle by nipping at their heels, but also has strong terrier instincts and is an excellent rabbiter and ratter. It is a small dog, and its coat is black with tan markings, although the richness of the tan may fade with age.
17. Norwegian Buhund
The Icelandic Sagas record how dogs were brought to Iceland by Norwegian settlers in AD 874. The Norwegian Buhund is a spitz-type and strongly resembles the Iceland dog. It is a natural herder. It is also a gentle, friendly dog, natural guard, and reliable playmate for children. It needs a fair amount of exercise and daily brushing and combing.
18. Herding Dog Breeds: Swedish Vallhund
The Swedish Vallhund dog is known in its native land as Vastgotaspets, which means ‘spitz of the West Goths.’ It closely resembles the Welsh Corgis, although the Vallhund is somewhat higher in the leg and shorter in the back. It is a friendly, loyal, affectionate little dog, described in its standard as active and eager to please. It makes a good family pet and needs plenty of exercises.
19. Welsh Corgi Pembroke
The Welsh Corgi Pembroke, a favorite of British royalty, has worked in South Wales since the time of the Domesday Book, instigated by Willian the Conqueror in the 11 century. Corgis are highly active and devoted little dogs and are usually good with children. They make fine guards and excellent show and obedience dogs.
20. Welsh Corgi Cardigan
The rarer Welsh Corgi Cardigan is believed to have been brought to the high hills of Cardiganshire in Wales by the Celts when they emigrated from central Europe around 1200 BC the Cardigan is said to have a slightly more equable temperament than the Pembroke and is possibly less bold. It requires firmness and consistency from its owner to avoid behavior problems and does well in obedience competition and agility.
21. Anatolian Shepherd Dog
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog, previously known as the Anatolian Karabash, has existed for centuries from the Anatolian plateau of Turkey right across Afghanistan. This powerful, loyal, and loving dog is good with children, makes a fine watchdog, and is eminently trainable. However, it cannot be kept in a confined space, is not suited to town life, and does not take kindly to strangers.
22. German Shepherd Dogs
German Shepherd Dog, or Alsatian, maybe a descendant of the Bronze age wolf. Undoubtedly, around the 7th century, a shepherd dog of a similar type existed in Germany but with a lighter coat. The dog is knowledgeable and makes a first-class companion, show dog, and guard.
23. Belgian Shepherd Dog
This breed includes four varieties:
- The Groenendael (long-coated black).
- The Tervueren (long-coated other than black).
- The Malinois (smooth-coated).
- The Laekenois (wire-coated).
All were developed from the many sheepdogs of varying colors and sizes in Belgium toward the 19th century. The medium-sized, well-proportioned, intelligent, and attentive Belgian Shepherd Dog works well in obedience trials and makes an excellent guard.
Concluding Remarks on Herding Dog Breeds
Herding dogs were considered working dogs in earlier times. The dog breeds were used to protect and herd the sheep from ancient times. Recently, dog breeds used exclusively as herding are classified as herding dog breeds. The dogs are well known to all farm owners. I have discussed the most common herding dogs for you in my article. This article will enrich your knowledge of different types of dog breeds.