Herding Group Breeds
Splitting off from the working group in 1983, the herding group all share similar hereditary instincts. Above all else, these breeds were designed to herd and protect livestock – be that sheep, cattle, or the like. In the pursuit of creating dogs capable of the task, many of these breeds are among the most intelligent of any breeds.
Among the more intelligent breeds, the “Blue Heeler” was bred in Australia in the 19th century to move cattle across large expanses of land. They are easy to train, outgoing and playful.
As a breed that can be anything from a police dog to a family pet, these dogs can adapt to their suroundings. Their intelligence and drive need to be placed somewhere to keep them from getting bored.
Also known as a Beardie, this affectionate charasmatic dog sports an undeniably recognizable shaggy coat. Once a pominent herding dog for Scottish shepherd, this dog has now filled the role of adored family companion.
This large dog breed from the plains of Central France was a multipurpose farm dog – handing everything from driving livestock to guarding the homestead. They are highly intelligent with a commanding presence.
Among the rarest of four Belgian herding breeds – and also the oldest, this medium sized dog was originally developed in Belgium in the 1880s. They were a premier sheep herding breed.
A herding dog through and through, the Belgian Malinois, even in a home setting can be seen circling and corralling the family – even without you thinking about it. They are loyal and loving dogs with a strong herding instinct.
If there’s a dog who could pass the SATs, this one would be a good bet to place your money. This intelligent breed carries an air of self-confidence. They are highly protective of their ‘flock’, be that a flock of sheep or their family.
Like the other Belgian sheepdogs, the Belgian Tervuren is very smart. Their long russel mahogany fur has them distinguishable from afar. This medium sized dog is obedient and territorial of those it holds dear.
When it is not herding sheep in the hilly boarder of Scotland and England, this intelligent, black and white workaholic thrives on law and order in their surroundings – both in the field and at home. Regarded as one of the most intelligent dogs, when the family is fast asleep, the Border Collie can be found in the study playing chess against itself.
The “cowherd of Flanders” is a large breed whose expertise on the farm extended beyond corralling the herd. A muscled laborer in the field, these dogs make for great watch dogs and family pets. Despite their size, they are gentle and warm to their families.
This large herding dog hailing from France is intelligent and obedient while remaining fearless. While extremely loyal and faithful to their owners, they have a tendency to be more aloof with strangers, as is the case with most herding dogs.
This medium breed is a ball of energy. Like, a lot of energy. They are best paired with active people. Active and intelligent, the Canaan dog has been in the deserts of Israel for millennia.
The Cardigan is one of the oldest known breeds on record, dating over 3,000 years back to Wales. The Cardigan is larger than the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. However, both breeds can be called Welsh Corgis in conversation.
The Collie’s mid-size, light frame are highly intelligent. They are particularly gifted with anticipating the needs of people around them, making them wonderful additions to the family, or even service dogs.
This mid-sized old school cattle Swiss herding dog is the smallest descendant of Molossians, which were the Roman war dogs that later sprung off the breed of Mastiffs. These dogs can be sweet and kind. They can also be unwelcoming to strangers.
A very smart and all purpose worker, the German Shepherd is an athletic, muscular worker that’s relatively easy to train. Their heretic tendencies have them leery of strangers. For that reason, it is best to bring them up from young in a family setting, especially with younger children.
This spitz style dog was brought to Iceland by the Vikings themselves. They are at home herding flocks of sheep on the Icelandic countryside. They have a cheerful demeanor and love being the heart of the family.
This small breed herding dog is a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd. They are active and energetic. Their trainability and loyalty make them good for the family. Their natural disposition loving people and other animals makes them an easy choice.
This sturdy herding dog can round up cattle, sheep, and horses or can curl up at your feet next to a warm fire. They are loyal and eager to please their owners. They are marvelous with kids, making them a great family dog option.
This blue collar, shaggy coat herding dog loves putting in a good days work. They are even tempered and intelligent. They are excellent family dogs where the kids are a little older.
These small to medium sized sheep dogs from Hungary gained its status as in the herding group by the AKC in 2016. They are a vocal dog that needs to get its exercise. If you can agree to that routine, they are affectionate and caring towards their families.
A mid-sized herding dog, this breed is highly intelligent, clever and vigilant. To be in a family home, there would need to be an exercise schedule for this one. They have tons of energy and need to expend it to be at their best.
The Shetland Sheepdog, or more commonly and affectionately called Shelties make for excellent family dogs. While they can be quick to back at strangers, they do it as a protective measure rooted in loyalty and watchfulness.
The Spanish Water Dog can herd a flock or retrieve waterfowl. Its nature to herd marks a key differentiator from the American and Irish Water dogs of the same name. For family planning purposes, the are hypoallergenic, affectionate and loyal.
In the Spitz family, the Swedish Vallhund has rumors of its tenure with the Vikings. For centuries, this breed with a low center of gravity and a thick, athletic build has been herding the farms of Sweden.