The Herding Dog Breeds Group

Border Collie herding sheep.
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Herding Dog Breeds

The Herding Group of dogs at one time was actually part of the Working Group but the AKC divided things up around 1983 so “Herding” is a fairly new category. Herding comes naturally to these select dogs and strangely, most of this group never see a farm animal. Most of this end up as house pets and do their herding at HOME, moving their owners from room to room, or from garage to back yard. If you have ever owned one of these “herders,” you’ll know what I’m saying. They can nudge and actually nip your heels until you move where they want you to go! I'm not kidding. I've owned a Border Collie and a Corgi. When they “nip,” you KNOW they’re there! I trained them out of it as best I could, but the desire was always there. So, here’s the herding dog breeds group in alphabetical order:

Australian Cattle Dog
This is a typical herding breed. It has an enormous amount of energy and needs an equal amount of exercise. The dog is tireless which is why he’s included in the herding dog breeds group. Give him a good workout and he is a great family dog although he is not so good with very young children. The dog is very trainable and is a good watch dog and guardian of property and family.

Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is well known as the “Aussie” and this guy is full of untiring energy the same as the Cattle Dog above. Give him plenty of exercise and you have a loyal, affectionate family dog. He’s easy to train, gets along fairly well with other dogs and people, but does tend to nip the heels of small children when running, as does the Cattle Dog. The Aussie is a great watchdog and guard dog, caring for his family and property.

Bearded Collie>
Bearded Collies are known to be boisterous, full of energy, playful and sometimes clownish. They will do with several long walks on leash and/or brisk games to tire them out a tad. As an official member of the herding dog breeds club, this guy tends to nip the heels of young children when running. He’s a fairly good watch dog but not so good at guarding things. This is a fine, affectionate and loyal family dog that needs his beard washed after every meal.

Lady hugging her Black Beauceron. "mom.">
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As the name suggest, this breed comes from France. The dog excels as a fierce watchdog and guardian of family and property. He also is unbelievably intelligent and can learn difficult jobs quickly. The Beauceron must be exercised daily in a sufficient amount or he can tear the place apart. They are an indoor/outdoor pet that needs to be with family.

Belgian Malinois
This is a natural born watchdog and guardian of property and family. The Belgium Malinois is not very affectionate and can be aggressive toward other dogs and small animals as well as strangers. He is very easy to train. This is a no-nonsense fellow that belongs in the herding dog breeds group and needs a tremendous amount of exercise every day.

Belgian Sheepdog
Much like the Malinois, the Belgian Sheepdog is an excellent watchdog and guardian of property and family. This dog has a long black coat where the Malinois has a short, smooth coat. He’s easily trained and ready to please. The breed is playful and alert, always on the move and always needing exercise as are most of the herding dog breeds group. He can be aggressive with other dogs and animals of any kind and isn’t friendly with strangers. This dog needs to live indoors with his family, as do all the dogs mentioned.

Belgian Tervuren standing tall!
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Belgian Tervuren
The Tervuren is a relatively playful, affectionate and very loyal family dog that excels as a watchdog and guardian of property and his people. He’s easy to train for any job but enjoys herding most of all. The dog needs a lot of exercise, which is why he is in the herding dog breeds group. He can be aggressive with other dogs and animals and doesn’t care for strangers, as the guard dog in him suggests.

Border Collie
Border Collies are wonderful house pets and family dogs IF given enough hard exercise in the morning and afternoon. They, like all in the herding dog breeds group, have that bundle of excessive energy that just has to be used constructively. The Border Collie typically doesn’t get along well with strangers or other dogs and typically is very easy to train. I had a BC and I know one here locally and they make good pets but you do need to go jogging with them.

Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier comes from Belgium and is, aside from a herding dog, a natural watchdog and guard dog. He needs his exercise, but not as badly as the ones mentioned above. This is a relatively calm outdoor, indoor dog loyal to family but wary of strangers and aggressive toward other dogs. He is good with children and family overall as long as he gets in some jogging or vigorous play time.

A "golden" Briard posing.
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Briard’s are French imports and like all herding dogs, need that all-important exercise each day. The are excellent guard and watchdogs. They tend to herd family members from one room to the next, especially small children, and nipping at heels is common. The Briard needs an indoor/outdoor life with a swinging door and fenced yard plus jogging time.

Canaan Dog
The Canaan is an easy to manage, dependable herding dog that comes from Israel. He is a docile pooch, always ready to please an up for a game or romp in the yard.. Take the Canaan jogging or herd something because that’s what he needs. He can be aggressive toward other dogs but does fairly well with house pets and kids. This dog is typically wary of strangers, being somewhat protective.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Little Cardigan’s are only about 12 inches tall at the shoulders yet they do a great job of herding large cattle! They bark and nip a lot and move fast with a ton of energy. A big job in a small package lands this little guy on the herding dog breeds page. The Cardigan amazes everyone with his short legs and big action. This is a fun-loving and easy-going family pup that enjoys life and even gets along with most strangers.

The handsome Collie
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Collies are one of the most famous of all dogs, partly due to the movies. They can be gentle and somewhat affectionate, they can be very protective, but they are best known as a family dog and everyone’s friend. This dog does not really need to be in the herding dog breeds section, but that's up to the AKC. Give a Collie some exercise with a Frisbee and a long walk and he’s good for the day. He still tends to herd by heel-nipping at times with young kids. Other pets, dogs and strangers can cause a problem if you don’t introduce them to your Collie properly. The Collie is somewhat playful and a great watchdog. (I’m going by personal experiences.)

German Shepherd Dog
Another famous breed is the highly versatile German Shepherd. This is a no-nonsense guard dog with a watchful eye for anything unusual. He’s gentle, loyal and protective of his human family and relatively tolerant of children in the family. (I’m mainly going by personal experiences.) The GSD does not care for other dogs or strangers unless introduced properly. Overall, This is an amazing breed to own, but it is not for everyone and it must be trained well!

Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdogs are fun to be around and great dogs to own. Exercise needs are not as dramatic as some of the above listed. This breed is clownish and can act quite silly. Teach one to give you his paw and see how many antics he comes up with that one! I speak from experience. How this guy made the herding dog breeds page I’ll never know because he is a family dog foremost. He’s gentle, affectionate and very friendly toward everything including dogs and mailmen. Around here, he is strictly a family pet.

Profile of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi
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Pembroke Welsh Corgi
You might recognize this one—similar to the Cardigan Welsh above. The Pembroke is also only 12 inches tall at the shoulders and herds the same full size cattle by barking and nipping. The Pembroke is a fun-loving companion dog that's good with children and favors his family. He likes people, generally likes other pets, and is a great watchdog.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Polish Lowland dogs are a serious breed that can be friendly, playful and affectionate if they KNOW you. They are territorial and remain wary of strangers. The breed learns well but can be headstrong to commands. The love of the breed is herding and they need lots of healthy exercise. The breed is a good watchdog and will not back down from a disagreement.

Puli (Hungarian Water Dog)
The little Hungarian Puli is a mass of bouncy string at only about 17 inches tall at the shoulders, so he appeasers. Yes, this mop on four legs is a herding dog full of vigor and energy as well as being a family dog. The Puli is not friendly toward other dogs or strangers and is not overly affectionate but he is an excellent watchdog and good guard dog. Stubborn, he’s still fairly easy to obedience train.

Here's a black & white Sheltie standing in a green field."
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Shetland Sheepdog
The “Sheltie” is a gentle, friendly, affectionate, playful and wonderful all around family pet. The Sheltie is good with children and a great watchdog, but not so good when it comes to being a guard dog. He’s small, only around 16 inches at the shoulders, and you wonder how he can be from the herding dog breed list, but he packs a lot of energy and love in that small frame. This is an excellent apartment dog.

Swedish Vallhund
This herding dog breed looks a lot like the Welsh Corgi but these dogs didn't arrive in America until 1985. This is a friendly, playful, affectionate, even-tempered dog that's a fine family pet, loud-barking watchdog and devoted companion. They tend to nip at the heels of people in an attempt to "herd" them, especially kids at play. This breed has quite a lot of energy and needs an alpha-leader family relationship.

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