Some animals have a natural propensity to herd, while others can be trained. The dog possesses a natural or inborn tendency for gathering and controlling animals, which is essential in herding. That is why, from ancient times, herders and shepherds have preferred dogs as their companion.
Tips in Choosing Herding Dogs
The dog must be powerful because herding is an exhausting activity. Every grazing area has a varied terrain, therefore the dog needs to be physically fit with powerful legs and an overall sturdy build. Additionally, as herding is a year-round work, the dog needs to be immune-strengthened. As a final requirement, the herding dog needs to be quick and agile in order for them to catch stray livestock or to shoo away attacking predators.
Choose a dog that is easy to train, vigilant, watchful, responsive, calm, and friendly. A good and dependable herding dog should have such characteristics. You don’t want your herds being assaulted by their own guard dogs while making pals with predators.
Several studies with German herding dogs led to the development of the German Shepherd breed in 1899. Its size ranges from modest to huge. It was initially employed for sheep herding. It is 40 kilos in weight and up to 26 inches tall. It has a 13-year life span. It’s well recognized for being intelligent, obedient, and active. They are equally curious and open to learning. They have a propensity to be overly defensive, especially when it concerns their territory and property. German Shepherds have two coats. This breed comes in a variety of hues, including bi-color, sable, full black, and tan with a black saddle.
This breed was developed in the United States. This breed is generally employed in agriculture by cattle and sheep herders. The English Shepherd’s forebears are a cross between a Border Collie, a Rough Collie, and an Austrian Shepherd.
English Shepherds are medium-sized canines that can reach a height of 23 inches and weigh up to 65 pounds. It has a long coat and can be black and white, black and tan, sable and white, tan and white, or tricolor. They are known for being sweet, lively, fearless, and a wonderful herding dog.
Kangal Shepherd Dog
This breed was developed in Turkey. They have a thick and short double coat that ranges in color from fawn to wolf sable, as well as a black mask. This is a huge breed shepherd dog that can grow to be 60 inches tall and weigh 60 kilos. This is the traditional Central Anatolian worker dog. For ages, the Kangal Shepherd Dog has been employed to keep predators like wolves at bay. This type is even sold to several African countries to assist farmers in repelling cheetahs that attack their herds.
The Kangal Shepherd Dog is known for its speed that can reach 56 kilometers per hour.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard Dog originated in the United States, although its ancestors are unknown. It was designated as Louisiana’s state dog in 1979. Although this was a herding dog, it was also used to hunt wild boars. They are strong dogs with a rectangular body, tapering nose, drop ears, and curving tail. They are available in a variety of hues, including blue merle, red merle brindle, and monocolor. It mostly features leopard-like spots.
Catahoulas have a sharper scent. Because of this, aside from herding, they are used in hunting games and scent tracking games.
This breed can live up to 14 years, however they are prone to bilateral or unilateral deafness and blindness due of their merle genetics.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
It is a Spitz-descended Welsh breed dog. Its ancestors may be traced back to 1107 AD. This lovely breed can weigh up to 31 pounds and stands 12 inches tall. Despite its shorter limbs, it can run at speeds of up to 25 kilometers per hour. It has a thick, medium-length coat that is weather resistant and comes in fawn, black and tan, black and white red, or sable.
They are one of the best sorts of dogs for herding because of their agility, intelligence, alertness, proclivity to bark, and desire to chase everything that moves.
Tatra Shepherd Dog
This breed originates in the upland mountains of Poland. As a flock guardian dog, they are assigned to assist herders and shepherds in tending sheep in the isolated mountainous areas of Poland’s Podhale Region, while they are also used as a security dog and companion dog.
They can weigh up to 60 kilos and can grow to a height of 28 inches. It has a strong body and dense fur. Tatra’s coat is entirely white and has just one color.
It has strong and quick legs from the mountainous terrain it is used to.
The Border Collie was developed along the Anglo-Scottish border. It has been described as clever, lively, athletic, nimble, and obedient. They must always have physical activity and mental simulation because they are utilized as sheep herders.
The Dutch Shepherd is a breed of herding dog native to the Netherlands. Its lineage can be traced back in Northwestern Europe’s coastal lowlands. This breed requires little upkeep and is easy to care for. It is favored to be converted into a herding dog because of the terrain it grew up in, especially for those with extreme weather conditions and intense outdoors. They patrol the fields and highways as herding dogs. They repel predators that approach flocks, as well as flocks that approach crops.
It can grow to be 24 inches long and weigh 40 kg. It can live up to 15 years. There are three types of coats: short, long, and rough. It might be brindle, gold, or silver.
Australian Cattle Dog
This Australian-bred herding dog is recognized for being lively, athletic, independent, and having an active intellect. They are used to herd cattle or sheep. The short double coat of this dog is blue, blue mottled, blue speckled, red mottled, or red speckled. It features a black mask, oval eyes, a strong neck, a medium-length muzzle, wide-spaced ears, erect and symmetrical forelegs, round and arched feet, and a powerful and muscular torso.
This is yet another herding dog from Australia. Although it is from Australia, its ancestors are Collies of British ancestry. It is bred for its working skills rather than its visual appeal. It is an excellent worker for farmers of ducks, sheep, cattle, and goats due to its herding instinct and stamina.
Its short double coat is also appealing, and it can be monocolor or bicolor. They might be black, black and tan, red, red and tan, chocolate, chocolate and tan, blue, blue and tan, fawn, fawn and tan, cream, black and white.
If we choose herding dogs, it is much preferable if we do not base our decision just on the dog’s appearance. Other considerations to consider include the animal’s behavior, how easy it is to care for, and what it can do to assist shepherds, grazers, and herders.