All You Need to Discover About Top 18 Herding Dog Breeds

Herding dog breeds

Just like humans, dogs also manifest individuality, having their own personalities, just like Herding dog breeds. However, different breeds tend to exhibit certain characteristics that help to define that particular breed.

Furthermore, this information can be particularly helpful when you are choosing a dog or trying to understand its behavior. So today let’s know more about the best Herding Dog Breeds.

Herding Dogs

The dogs belonging to this breed were procreated to herd cattle and sheep. To put it simply, Herding dog breeds are livestock-oriented, they exhibit the ability to monitor the activities of other animals. Therefore this characteristic was extensively used for gathering, herding, and protecting livestock.

In fact, originally these dogs were first used to assist the sheepherders,  manage domesticated animals in the 1570s. Eventually, other varieties were bred for different protecting and serving tasks. 

By the 1980s the member of the Herding dog breed was recognized by Akc and placed under the category of working dog groups. As of today owing to their intelligent, protective, and obedient temperament many herding breeds are used in the military and law enforcement, as rescue and therapy dogs, guard dogs, and of course as loving lifelong companions. 

General Characteristics of Herding Dogs

Herding Dog breeds are amongst the most intelligent and active dog breeds. They are highly trainable but require adequate mental and physical exercise. These canines, even compact breeds, are strong and muscular, with a proud carriage on their head and neck. The dogs belonging to this breed make loyal and loving family pets. 

Typical characteristics: 

  • Smart and thereby possess the ability to work well with humans
  • Great obedience level, hence easy to Train
  • Alert
  • Confident   
  • Independent  
  • Loyal  
  • Protective 
  • Affectionate 

Listed below are 18 of the best-known herding dog breeds, scroll down to learn more about them. 

1. German Shepherd

German Shepherd
German Shepherd breeds origin was created for herding sheep and working on farms.

The German shepherd, also known as “The Alsatian” is perhaps the first breed that rushes to the mind when you think of “shepherd dogs.” This herding breed originated in Germany in 1899, (although today there is also an American line, with different physical and character characteristics, the last being comparatively sober).

This herding breed of German origin was created for herding sheep and working on farms. However, as of today, they are highly valued in law enforcement. These are a group of all-purpose, smart dog breeds and are thereby quite easy to train.

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 23 to 26 inches
  • Avg. Weight: 60 to 90 pounds 
  • Life expectancy: 7 to 10 years 
  • Typical characteristics: energetic, easy to train, intelligent, loyal

2. Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherd
Dutch Shepherd is capable of doing tasks that are done in obedience, dog sports, etc.

Picture Source: loveyourdog.com

The Dutch Shepherd was originally discovered as a naturally existing shepherd dog, found mostly in rural areas. It was developed as an all-purpose farm dog, originally serving as a farm guard and livestock dog.

The canines belonging to this breed of herding dogs are loyal companions. Dutch Shepherd is capable of doing tasks that are done in obedience, dog sports, herding, tracking, search and rescue services, and also police service.

Being independent in nature, these dogs can be a little obstinate with a mind of their own.  Therefore Dutch Shepherd requires good socialization and training from an early age; thereby are not suitable for beginners.

Overview

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 21.5-24.5 inches
  • Avg. Weight: 42-75 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 11 to 14 years 
  • Typical characteristics: lively, intelligent, athletic, loyal, alert 

3. Shetland sheepdogs

Shetland sheepdogs
Shetland sheepdogs are highly intelligent.

Originating from the Shetland Islands of Scotland, Shetland sheepdogs (or shelties) are active, agile herding dogs. As these herding dogs are quite intelligent and eager to please, it makes them easy to train.

These athletic, energetic dogs excel at canine sports including agility and flying discs, which helps channelize their energy quotient.

These dogs behold a similar appearance to their cousins, the rough collie, although they are comparatively much smaller. Shetland sheepdogs are highly intelligent, friendly, and affectionate companions. Shelties are also very protective of their family and thereby make excellent watchdogs.

            Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 13-16 inches
  • Avg. Weight: 15-25 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years 
  • Typical characteristics: friendly, intelligent, energetic, affectionate and loyal, protective

4. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees dogs work by patrolling the perimeter of the herd.

Picture Source: en.wikipedia.org

The mighty Great Pyrenees mountain dogs guard herds in open spaces. It is one of the largest breeds of sheepdogs in the world; capable of withstanding and repelling attacks from brown bears and wolves.

Great Pyrenees dogs work by patrolling the perimeter of the herd, constantly following their footsteps, and keeping an eye out for danger. They are calm and patient and come quickly to protect the flock, showing great courage in the face of danger. 

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height:  25 to 32 inches
  • Avg. Weight: 85 to 150 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years 

Typical characteristics: friendly, intelligent, energetic, protective, thick coat for protection in mountains

Related: Top favorite Dog breeds that dominated last 100 years of trends.

5. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds make great family dogs.

This herding dog breed was developed in the North of Spain. However, later this herding dog breed immigrated to Oceania, where it became one of the most popular breeds of herding dogs. Australian Shepherds make great family dogs, they are excellent companions for children.

These canines are medium-sized with bluish hue eyes. Australian Shepherd requires sufficient stimulation and exercise so they are not easily bored. 

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 19 to 23 inches
  • Avg. Weight: 40 to 65 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years 
  • Typical characteristics: intelligent, energetic, protective, good with kids, lively and enjoy dog sports

6. Australian cattle dogs

Australian cattle dogs
Australian cattle dogs are smart, hardy, and energetic.

Picture Source: en.wikipedia.org

Australian cattle dogs were procreated to herd in extreme weather conditions ranging from the scorching heat to the rainy Australian outback. These dogs are smart, hardy, and energetic.

They require vigorous daily exercise and make great jogging companions. They also respond wonderfully to mental stimulation from puzzle games, obedience training, and dog games.

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 17.5 to 20  inches
  • Avg. Weight: 29 to 50  pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-16 years 
  • Typical characteristics: high energy levels, obedient, active mind, reserved with strangers, great guard dogs 

7. Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie
Properly trained and socialized Bearded collies get along well with other animals and children.

Picture Source: kcapl.com

Bearded collies are a group of boisterous and charismatic droving canines, 

Originated in Scotland. Covered from head to tail in a shaggy double coat, the bearded collie enjoys outdoor exercise in all weather. Being independent decision-makers, they can be willful but are always amiable.

However, underneath the coat, these dogs are more lean and angular. Properly trained and socialized Bearded collies get along well with other animals and children. However, these dogs bore easily, and training should be kept interesting. Nevertheless,  Outdoor families looking for a strong dog to share an outdoor lifestyle will never find a more affectionate and amusing sidekick.

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 20-22 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 45-55 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years 
  • Typical characteristics: obedient, Smart, boisterous, Charismatic, good with children and other animals, enjoy’s outdoor activities. 

8. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois is the most energetic of all the Belgian herding dog breeds.

Picture Source: nappets.com

The Belgian Malinois is one of four related Belgian herding dog breeds. Belgian Malinois is amongst the most common races in law enforcement—and for a good reason. Besides being easy to train, these dogs can withstand long days and hard work.

Belgian Malinois is the most energetic of all the Belgian herding dog breeds. However, they are equally loving and compassionate companions. They are talented and will test their limits, therefore they align well with owners who will train them adequately. 

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 22-26 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 40-60 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 14 to 16 years 
  • Typical characteristics: obedient, Smart, agile, brave, hardworking, easy to train, confident

9. Icelandic sheepdog

Icelandic sheepdog
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a breed of dog of spitz type originating from the dogs brought to Iceland by the Vikings.

Picture Source: akc.org

The Icelandic sheepdog is the native breed of Iceland. The ancestors of this dog were brought to Iceland by Viking settlers, over 1,000 years ago. These medium-sized dogs are adept at herding livestock and capable of a variety of farm duties, including guarding. However, this herding dog breed requires lots of exercise and space to run off-leash. 

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 16.5 to 18 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 25 to 30 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years 
  • Typical characteristics: energetic, smart, inquisitive, friendly, playful 

10. Border collies

Border collies
The Border collie’s famous ‘herding eye’, is the breed’s hallmark.

The Border Collies are the epitome of a remarkably bright workaholic dog breed. This herding dog breed includes athletic, medium-sized herding canines with an overall muscular look unspoiled by fads. Both the rough as well as smooth coats come in a variety of colors and patterns.

The Border collie’s famous ‘herding eye’, is the breed’s hallmark. These herding dogs make wonderful companions, however, they can be a little too much for owners without the time, energy, or means to keep them occupied.

These lovely dogs will settle in for cuddle time when the workday is over. Border Collies, though amiable among friends are generally reserved with strangers.

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 18 to 22 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 30 to 55 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years 
  • Typical characteristics: agile, intelligent, athletic, affectionate, playful, workaholic, obedient  

Related: Top 10 Hybrid Breeds – Gorgeous Cross-Bred You Won’t Believe

11. Miniature American Shepherds

Miniature American Shepherds
Miniature American shepherds often get along well with horses and are popular amongst horse riders.

Picture Source: dailypaws.com

Similar to their larger Australian shepherd cousin, the miniature American shepherd (also known as the mini Aussie) possesses smartness and a high energy quotient as their defining characteristic.

However, thanks to their compact build, these dogs are somewhat easier to exercise as compared to the large shepherd. Miniature American shepherds often get along well with horses and are popular amongst horse riders.

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 13-18 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 20-40 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-13 years 
  • Typical characteristics: intelligent, affectionate, devoted, good-natured

12. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi was used as cattle herding dogs, or “heelers”

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are small-sized dog breeds with huge hearts, that were originally procreated as a herding breed, but are more popular dog breeds among lovers, and commonly kept as a loving family pet.

Pembroke Welsh corgis were used as cattle herding dogs, or “heelers”, sniffing and nipping at the heels of larger animals to keep them moving. The combination of their low height off the ground and innate agility aids these dogs to avoid cattle hooves.

Overview 

  • GROUP: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 13-18 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 20-40 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-13 years 
  • Typical characteristics: intelligent, affectionate, devoted, good-natured

13. Polish lowland sheepdogs

Polish lowland sheepdogs
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is clever, confident, and a bit stubborn.

Picture Source: dogbreedslist.info

The Polish lowland sheepdogs are amongst the popular herding and watchdog in Poland. Headstrong, lively, and confident, this herding breed requires a dedicated companion.

Its thick, shaggy double-coat requires daily brushing. In addition, this dog requires rigorous training as this stubborn breed can make you raise your hands in frustration. However, they are affectionate and protective of their owners. 

Overview 

  • GROUP: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 17-20 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 30-50 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years 
  • Typical characteristics: intelligent, lively, confident 

14. Briard

Briard
The Briard is a very old breed of French working dogs.

Picture Source: akc.org

Briard is a group of intelligent and athletic sheep herding dogs hailing from the dairy-producing Brie region of France. The herding breed performed two in one functions as flock guardian and shepherd.

The French highly appreciate and respect this dog breed. For a long period, the Briard was a mainstay on French farms. These canines are good-natured and welcome human affection. However, they remain ruthless in the fields.

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 22-27 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 55-100 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12 years 
  • Typical characteristics: smart, faithful, confident 

Related: Top 10 Oldest Dogs in the History of Mankind

15. Puli

Puli
The Puli is an excellent choice for watching after the family pets and kids

Picture Source: akc.org

For centuries, the Puli has been used in Hungary to guard sheep and farms. Naturally protective and observant, this breed even today retains its guarding instincts, as well as the tendency to gather and drive herds of sheep.

The Puli is an excellent choice for watching after the family pets and kids. They possess thick mop-like corded coats. 

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 16-17 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 25-35 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 10-15 years 
  • Typical characteristics: home-loving, smart, faithful 

16. Collie

Collie
Collies form a distinctive type of herding dog, including many related landraces and standardized breeds.

Picture Source: akc.org

The Great Hound Collie originated in Scotland. This breed was procreated primarily for herding. They are mostly recognized for their gorgeous long coats. Further, they gained popularity from the classic TV show and movie, “Lassie”.

This breed is highly intelligent, loyal, and forms strong bonds with its owners, making excellent family pets. Collie is generally good-natured and friendly. However, they are wary of strangers. 

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 22-26 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 50-75 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years 
  • Typical characteristics: proud, smart, devoted, graceful 

17. Old English sheepdogs

Old English sheepdogs
The Old English Sheepdog is the archetypical shaggy dog.

Picture Source: a-z-animals.com

Old English sheepherders originated in England in the 1800s, which took cattle to market. Known for its stamina and stability, this herding dog breed can make very loving and playful pets. However, they are quite agile and require daily walks as well as off-leash play sessions.

This large, powerful canine breed with a gorgeous shaggy coat is truly a unique breed with a gentle, loving disposition. As long as they get enough exercise throughout the day, they can live happily in an apartment.

Overview

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 21-22 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 60-100 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years 
  • Typical characteristics: adaptable, smart, devoted, gentle

18. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a big dog in a small package.

Picture Source: thesprucepets.com

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is slightly longer (horizontally) with a larger head. Like its Pembroke cousins, this ancient herding breed has been around for thousands of years.

Though they may appear as more likely lapdogs, these canines are highly skilled herding dogs. Though small-sized, they require sufficient exercise in order to prevent obesity. 

Overview 

  • Group: Herding 
  • Avg. Height: 10.5-12.5 inches 
  • Avg. Weight: 25-38 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years 
  • Typical characteristics: affectionate, smart, loyal, vigilant

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