Herding Group

The Herding Group is the newest group in the AKC, having been split from the Working Group in 1983. All breeds in this group are capable of controlling the movements of other animals, hence the name for the group. Even though the vast majority of dogs in this group never come into contact with farm animals, their natural instinct still has them gently herding members of the family, especially children.

Dogs in the Herding Group were bred to work side by side with man as drovers (driving cattle and sheep) and as herders (keeping the flock under control).

The methods for herding used by dogs in this group are almost as diverse as the dogs themselves. Some, known as heelers, nip at the animals heels to get them to go where they want. Others, known as headers, use a strong stare to convince the animals to cooperate. Some use a combination of both methods. One (the Koolie) even adds to this arsenal by jumping on the animals back!

When considering bringing a herding dog into the family as a non-working pet, it is important that you consider the following in making your decision:

  1. They have high energy levels and are capable of staying active for much of the day.
  2. They are quite alert and they are often nervous, reactive dogs because alertness, reactivity and nervousness are of great value in an dog that must keep a flock of sheep or cattle together and move it from place to place.
  3. They have a strong need to engage in herding activities and a natural tendency to use the behaviors that move stock on other animals, humans and moving vehicles. These behaviors include nipping at heels, body slamming, standing at a 3 to 6 foot distance and barking excitedly, then jumping back if the person moves towards them.

The following dog breeds are currently in the herding group. As information on each breed is added, you will find a link to the right for it.

  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bearded Collie
  • Beauceron
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Border Collie
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Briard
  • Canaan Dog
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Collie
  • Entlebucher Mountain Dog
  • Finnish Lapphund
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Icelandic Sheepdog
  • Norwegian Buhund
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Puli
  • Pyrenean Shepherd
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Swedish Vallhund
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