Dog Breed Categories
Herding Dog : Hound : Non-Sporting Dog : Sporting Dog : Terrier : Toy Dog : Working Dog

Herding dogs (sometimes referred to as pastoral dogs) are one of the seven dog breed categories. This is one of the newer recognized categories, as these dogs used to be grouped with the working dogs. As the name implies, these dogs were bred to herd -- typically sheep, cattle, reindeer, and other cloven hoofed animals. These dogs all seem to instinctually have the desire and ability to control the movements of these other animals.

The shepherds of this group perform their trade through various methods. Some use a stalking or staring technique to keep their herds in line. Others simply bark to get their message across. Still others do a lot of jumping and nipping to get the animals to properly behave. In addition to their methods, this group of dogs perform two different types of herding -- driving, and gathering.

Because of the purposes they were bred for, these dogs can easily withstand the elements, and in fact may even prefer the outdoors even in inclimate weather. Many of the breeds have a double coat, and very long hair (sometimes 6 inches or longer), so need regular grooming. Their instincts may cause them to try to herd their human families (especially children), so if this does not appeal to an owner, proper training must occur the moment the dog is acquired.

Breeds of Herding Dogs

Some Famous Herding Dogs

For more famous dogs, see Presidential pets.


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