Dog Breed Profiles

Herding Dogs

The Herding breeds are livestock-oriented, although they are versatile in protecting and serving humans in other ways. Herding breeds are intelligent and lively, making fine family pets or obedience competitors. Dogs were first used to assist sheepherders in the 1570s, but other varieties were bred for different herding tasks. Herding breeds are quick and agile, able to work on any terrain, and well-suited for short bursts of high speed. These dogs, even the compact breeds, are strong and muscular, possessing proud carriage of head and neck. Herding dogs perceive even the slightest hand signals and whistle commands to move a flock or seek out strays.

Some Herding breeds drive the flock by barking, circling, and nipping at the heels, while others simply confront the flock with a silent stare, which also proves effective.

Herding dogs serve other functions. These breeds are excellent guards, used in the military and law enforcement, or for personal protection. Herding dogs are among those with the closest relationship to humans.