Characteristics of Herding Dogs
The Herding Group is made up of sheep and cattle dogs like Collies and Corgis, and the most intelligent of all dog breeds, the Border Collie. While other types of working farm dogs are tasked with standing guard over livestock, herding dogs are given the responsibly of rounding up flocks and herds. They do this by running, barking, nipping at heels, and making strong eye contact with the animals. The extreme intelligence and energy levels among herding breeds makes them especially well-suited for these tasks.
Most companion dogs in the herding group have never seen actual sheep or cattle, but many show their natural instincts at home, circling and "herding" their families - especially in homes with children. While at play, owners may notice their dog circles kids, which in itself isn't a problem. Some dogs, however, will nip at heels while engaging in herding behavior. That's why it’s important to supervise herding dogs around small children at all times. They do not mean any harm, but in order to keep playtime fun and safe, it’s best if an adult is always nearby.
Herding breeds are extremely intelligent and respond well to positive training methods. They take themselves very seriously, and respond well when rewarded for completing tasks. They like to stay active at all times, and enjoy living in homes where there is always something going on. Many dogs in this group excel in agility competitions, and they make fun exercise partners for those people who like to walk, run, and bike. They are typically medium-large in size and their coats come in a wide variety of textures. Some dogs in this group are suspicious of strangers, but most are very friendly and outgoing with people and enjoy the company of other dogs. Herding dogs are loyal companions, and can be a wonderful addition to homes and families of all sizes.