The herding group includes some of today’s most famous dog breeds. Intelligent, energetic, and highly trainable, these dogs were bred over many years for their ability to control and move herds of livestock — which is why several people also know them as shepherd dogs.
These days, herding dogs are a favorite of many active pet parents because of their fun-loving personalities. They are energetic, intelligent dogs that excel in training while making great companions and performance competition dogs.
Many of these dogs have been bred for centuries for herding livestock, making them highly adept at doing this work and extremely loyal and devoted to their owners. Some of the dog breeds are best herding dogs for cattle.
They are highly intelligent dogs, and training them, if done correctly, would result in obedient, well-behaved dogs. So, if you are looking for herding dogs to use at your ranch or maybe as house pets, let this list give you an idea of which breeds to look for:
Here are the 10 best herding dog breeds (with pics)
1. German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherd was initially bred to herd sheep. Confident, courageous, trainable, and athletic, the famous German shepherd is keen to learn and be put to work.
They are mostly known for their work with the military and police. However, their supreme energy, loyalty, intelligence, stamina, and versatility have made them one of the most famous breeds and great family pets.
It doesn’t matter whether you need a dedicated family protector, a hard-working herding dog, or a loyal companion; the German Shepherd can easily fill any of these roles.
2. Australian cattle dog
Powerful and sturdy yet small and highly athletic, the Australian Cattle dog was devised by Australian settlers to drive and herd cattle on the huge ranches of Australia. They are still used for that purpose today. They are hard animals that can run for hours in scorching temperatures.
Besides this, they are loyal, intelligent, and affectionate animals that make great family dogs and love being as close as possible to their human companions.
These intelligent, athletic dogs need a lot of work, agility training, and other exercises to boost their mind and body.
3. Border Collie
The Border Collie is one of the most widely used sheep herding dogs. They are strong herding dogs worldwide, famous for performance sports like agility, obedience, and disc dogging. However, they are quirky dogs with unique personalities and are typically not suggested for novice owners.
They make great family animals due to their loving nature, but they need a lot of activity and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
4. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known for their cute looks and strong personalities. They are brilliant and active dogs that need a job to do. Even with short legs, they make wonderful hiking friends and enjoy many performance dog sports.
They have gained fame due to their association with the Royal Family. Like other corgis, the Pembroke is an affectionate and intelligent animal.
5. Australian Shepherd
Despite its name, this breed originated in the United States and is a popular herding dog. They are best at dog sports like obedience, herding, and agility. Moreover, they make great hiking and running companions.
These beautiful animals make great family pets and are as affectionate, loyal, and protective as they come. They also prove talented working dogs employed in search-and-rescue, service, and police/military work.
6. Belgian Malinois
These dogs are smart and confident, making them eligible for high-energy jobs and activities. However, this also means they need plenty of exercises to satisfy their herding instincts.
The Belgian Malinois is one of the most versatile dog breeds. They are used in police and military work and contesting at high levels of many performance dog sports.
They are energetic and athletic dogs often depicted as intense due to their potent work willingness and ethic to please their owners.
Compared to German Shepherds, they are more agile and highly sensitive. Moreover, they are quick learners who love the process and thrive off of having a job.
7. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi may share little physical qualities with most herding breeds; indeed, the Cardigan line is a faraway cousin to the dachshund. However, their tails are the most significant difference between a Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Corgis are versatile to live on a farm or in a city apartment, although they need everyday exercise. One essential point to note about the breed is their preference for vocalization — these dogs bark at anything! They may be small, but they require plenty of exercises and can quickly become overweight.
8. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is a giant dog in a small package. They are intelligent, active, and love working with their humans. They enjoy training in dog sports such as obedience and agility, making a great companion for someone looking for a smaller and more active dog.
They are far less suspicious of new faces and slightly more attention-demanding on their owners. Moreover, they are highly protective of their family, making them perfect watchdogs and extremely athletic and energetic.
9. Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees is one of the most versatile dog breeds and was born to protect, whether it be livestock or human family members. They are intelligent and accustomed to working independently. The Pyrenees needs a great deal of dedication, patience, and time. Moreover, they are loyal, loving, and devoted dogs.
10. Old English Sheepdog
A large, strong dog with a beautiful shaggy coat, the Old English Sheepdog is a unique animal with a loving, gentle temperament. These dogs were originally developed for herding cattle.
However, they are calmer than most herding breeds and have gentle behavior. They are exceptionally patient and kind when living with young children.
Many herding dog breeds are popular for their appearance, but these dogs aren’t best for every family. Most of these breeds need intense physical exercise and mental stimulation. Long walks, training sessions, hikes, and agility courses are great tools to help handle a herding dog’s energy.
However, if you’re not looking for outdoor adventures, then a herding breed might not be the best choice for you. So, select a dog that fits your home and lifestyle well.