Once classified as part of the Working Group until the year 1983, the dogs from the Herding Group today don’t just have natural herding instincts. Aside from being great around children, these canines are known to be highly intelligent and a tremendously great companion.

Breed Characteristics

One great characteristic of this breed is its intelligence. Their innate desire to please and take action has been key to their capacity of rounding up cattle and even children. Almost tireless creatures, these dogs love an active lifestyle and could be hard to keep up whenever taking walks.

Aside from their agility, this breed comes in varying sizes from medium-small to medium-large. For instance, Vallhunds and short-legged Corgis are approximately a foot or 30 centimetres high. Larger dogs, on the other hand, such as Collies, German Shepherds, and Belgian Shepherds can be as tall as two feet or 65 centimetres.

  • Siccaro icon Take them for regular exercise as they need it to stay fit and healthy.

  • Siccaro icon Know if your dog prefers slow walks and light exercise or long walks and rigorous play. Different breeds require different levels of physical activities.

  • Siccaro icon Keep exercise to a minimum for Pugs and other flat-faced toy dogs since increased panting can lead to difficulty in breathing. More so if the weather is hot.

  • Siccaro icon Adjust or shorten your pace when taking dogs for a walk in consideration with their shorter legs.

  • Siccaro icon Allow your toy dog to socialise, especially if they’re open to it. But handle them with care if they are possessive and snappy.

  • Siccaro icon Ensure your dog’s safety when in busy or crowded places by carrying them.

  • Siccaro icon Allow small dogs to interact with larger ones but be ready to intervene at the first sign of a real threat.

  • Siccaro icon With the exception of Terriers, most toy dog breeds prefer to play with you rather than independently. But you can encourage and train them to play on their own.

  • Siccaro icon For instance, place a safe toy they can play with at your feet. After a while, move away into another room while they continue to play by themselves. Gradually increase the length of time that you stay away from them until they become less reliant on you.


The following are some of the common breeds that belong in this dog group.

Australian Cattle Dog
Originated from the Land Down Under, this highly intelligent cattle dog was developed by stockmen. A constantly silent worker, these dogs are great for controlling livestock in wide open spaces as well as in the farmyard.

Australian Kelpie
Imported from Australia, this breed was developed from a puppy born out of two Smooth Collies of two colour varieties: tan and black.

Australian Shepherd
In spite of its name, this breed started in Andorra and Spain. When the Basque herders left their lands for better opportunities, they took these dogs with them.

Australia Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Sharing its history with the Australian Cattle Dog, this stumpy-tailed canine was developed by 19th-century farmers to serve as protectors, herders, and drivers of livestock over vast distances of travel.

Bearded Collie
In the 16th century, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs were interbred with the native farm collies of Scotland. This resulted in the breed currently known as the Bearded Collie.

Berger de Beauce
Otherwise known as Beauceron, this breed’s original purpose was for hunting wild game such as wild boar. However, these dogs are now used for herding and guarding livestock. In modern times, this breed has been used for police and military purposes.

Belgian Shepherd Dog
In Canada, this breed of dog has four varieties of different length and coat. However, these dogs are similar in both body outline and size.

Berger des Pyrenees
Also called the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog, this is the smallest amongst the French herding dogs. This breed is famous for its alertness and vigour as well as agility.

Berger Picard
This ancient French herding dog has been constantly dubbed as the coated breed without any coat problems. It is also recognised as the Picardy Shepherd.

Border Collie
Originally from the Anglo-Scottish border, this is one of the most popular sheep herding dogs known for its long history with man.

Bouvier des Flandres
A large dog breed of Franco-Belgian origin, it is usually about 70 centimetres at the shoulder. This dog is known to be highly intelligent.

This French sheepdog comes from an ancient line of dogs. However, it is more recognised as a Red Cross dog and an ammunition carrier during the First World War.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
It is commonly surmised that this breed has descended from the Swedish Vallhund. A short-legged breed of dog, this was introduced by the Vikings to the Kingdom of Wales during the 9th century.

Finnish Lapphund
Also known as the Lapland dog or the Lapinkoira, this breed’s origins began with hunting. Later on, the dogs were bred by the Sami people for herding livestock somewhere in the regions of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia.

German Shepherd Dog
This famous dog breed has been valued across the globe as a police dog, a tracker, sentry, search-and-rescue dog, guide dog for the blind, and a drug dog.

Icelandic Sheepdog
A variety of Spitz of Nordic origin, this breed descended from a tiny herd of herding dogs that have accompanied the Vikings during their occupation of Iceland in 880 AD.

Lancashire Heeler
Bred from Northwest England in the 19th century, this was originally used for driving cattle to the marketplace. Also called the Ormskirk Heeler, this was assumed to have been a mix of Welsh Corgis. But now, they are a mix of Welsh Corgis and small terriers from Manchester.

The breed started from Hungary in the mid-19th century. Closely related to the Puli breed, these dogs are divided into two basic categories: large and small.

Norwegian Buhund
Although its origins are not that clear, this member of the Spitz family has been known to walk with the Vikings in Scandinavia even during the ancient times.

Old English Sheepdog
Descended from European herding breeds, this British canine has been developed as a sheepherder for more than 200 years. Also, known as the bobtail, this dog is used to herd and prod livestock, such as sheep, to the market.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Also developed from the Swedish Vallhund breed, this is a cattle herding dog from the line of northern spitz-type dog.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog
This breed is named as the Polish Owczarek Nizinny or PON. An ancient herding breed from Poland, this medium-sized dog has been developed for centuries.

Portuguese Sheepdog
An indigenous medium-sized canine from Portugal, this is also known as Cao da Serra de Aires.

A Hungarian herding breed, it is widely believed that this breed must have originated from central Asia and was brought by Magyars to Hungary over a thousand years ago.

Rough Collie
Famously known as the dog that starred in Lassie, this Scottish breed is said to have originated from herding dogs brought by Romans during their occupation of Britain.

Dutch Sheepdog
Schapendoes, as they are known in their native Netherlands, is a medium-to-large sized breed of herding dog. Once popular as a farm dog, this breed is now used in sports for its agility.

Shetland Sheepdog
Shelties are from the Shetland Islands and are developed to thrive even in meagre and harsh conditions. Diminutive in size, these are always known to excel in herding sheep, as well as ponies.

Smooth Collie
First developed for herding, this breed is a short-coated variety that is comparable to the Rough Collie.

Swedish Vallhund
Although the Swedish Cow dog has existed for years as a cattle-herding canine, the breed had just received recognition from the Canadian Kennel Club accreditation in the 13th of June, 1995.

Tatra Sheepdog
Brought by Vlachian shepherds into the Carpathian Mountains of southern Poland, this breed has a similar history to all dogs from the western European region particularly Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.




Nowadays, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are used for other purposes such as security and police operations. Because of their natural herding instincts, these dogs are known to even herd their owners particularly children.

Breeds such as Swedish Vallhunds and Lowslung Corgis are called heelers as they are known to nip at heels of cattle just to move them around. Meanwhile, Bouvier des Flandres and Old English Sheepdog breeds are identified as drovers as these dogs are employed to prod or “drive” livestock to a desired location such as the market.

Additionally, dogs such as Belgian Shepherds and Briards are patrollers as they guard the boundaries of farms to ensure that all livestock are contained. Lastly, Bearded Collies and Puli, are known as sheep herding dogs as they are useful for rounding up sheep and prevent them from getting lost.

Health and Grooming

Now that you know a bit about the history of herding dogs. It is now time to learn how to properly care for this breed.

You have to remember that almost all breeds from the herding group have long and shaggy hair on their chest area. Likewise, they have feathers, hair right behind their hind legs.

It is highly necessary that you brush their coat twice a week to reduce shedding. Furthermore, you have to at least bathe them every three months or so. It is far more important to frequently brush and bathe these dogs when they are kept indoors as the room temperature can cause seasonal shedding.

Herding dogs require frequent activity and lots of sun. Since they are fun-loving and tremendously energetic dogs, they may get anywhere from open fields to ponds. Ensure that your dog remains warm and dry whilst playing and running. Have them wear an outdoor dog drying coat such as the Siccaro WetDog Spirit. Made of durable fabric and designed to cover your pet from ears to the outer hind legs, it provides adequate coverage for drying and protection from the wind.

Exercise Needs

Bred to work long hours, herding dogs need a lot of exercise and physical activities to engage in. But they also need just as much mental exercise since thinking is one of the other things they are great at.

Play fly ball and rally obedience with them, for instance. These activities will not only make your dog physically well but will also help create a closer bond.

As for mental stimulation, let your dog play puzzles and purchase chew toys that help exercise their brain. A game of hide-and-seek and those that require them to stay focused and attentive are good ideas.

Just remember to keep on thinking of new and creative ways to exercise your dog since they are prone to boredom when doing the same thing repeatedly.


Regarded as one of the most trainable dog groups, these dogs are popular for their critical thinking and independent reasoning skills. And because of their ability to obey orders, canine breeds such as German Shepherds are now used for bomb and drug detection, search and rescue operation, as well as handicap assistance.

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