Cattle Dogs

AKC - The Herding Group

The Herding Group is a relatively new addition to the categories established by the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs. It only dates from 1983. Until then, the canine members of the Herding Group were in the Working Group. This is why, when you look at earlier editions of any Official Publication of the American Kennel Club, you will not find this categorization.

The new designation was to indicate the specific type of work the dog’s ancestors had been bred to perform. This gives the Herding Group one united theme. Every single canine member was originally bred to herd. These dogs rounded up cattle, goats, sheep, and other livestock.


Herding dogs have either a vocation or an obsession. They need to herd something. If this is not an option, you must find an alternative. The Herding Group canine members exhibit characteristics that all reflect their original use.

• Herders are high energy. They must have exercise in some intensive and prolonged form.

• You will need to exercise not only their body, but also their brain. Try to become involved in agility, obedience training or herding trials. This might satisfy both their basic requirements.

• Herders are typically highly intelligent. As a result, they learn quickly.

• Dogs in this category are fiercely loyal. They are devoted companions.

• They need training to help them adjust to children. If they do not receive it, they might herd them. This is fine for the dog - good practice, in fact, for herding trials. It does not make the parents happy, however, especially if the dog nips their ankles to get them to move along.

Breed Associated Health Problems And Other Issues

The breeds that comprise the Herding Group have a number of common problems. Some, however, are more breed-specific. It also pays to check out the specific health issues that may or may not affect your herder.

• Deafness - This may affect one or both ears. This is particularly true for the Australian Cattle Dog, the Old English Sheepdog and the Collie.

• Dysplasia - This hip and elbow health problem is common to the German Shepherd and the Border Collie

• Diabetes - Both Old English Sheepdogs and German Shepherd are prone to this disease.

• Epilepsy - The Collie and the German Shepherd are susceptible to this illness.

• Collie Eye - This disorder is common among collies of all breeds.

• Cataracts - This type of eye problem affects several members of the Herding Group. They include the Australian Cattle Dog, the German Shepherd and the Old English Sheepdog

Grooming Requirements

This varies wildly and widely from breed to breed. The coats are not only diverse within the group, but they also vary within the breeds. This makes for grooming diversity. The Old English Sheepdog, for example requires a lot of brushing weekly if not daily. The owner of the German Shepherd, on the other hand, may get away with regular brushing and an occasional bath.

Members of the Herding group

You can find medium to large dogs in this group. Yet, size does not really matter. They are all highly intelligent, high energy dogs devoted to following their calling.

Australian Cattle Dog

• Belgian


• Border Collie

• Canaan dog

• Bouvier des Flandres

• Briard Collie

• German Shepherd

• Old English Sheepdog

• Puli

• Shetland Sheepdog

• Welsh Corgi

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