Despite the vast amount of dog breeds available today, herding dogs are popular pets with many people. While they are intelligent and loyal, herding dogs often require extra space and extra training before they fit well into a household. However, with their instinctual needs taken into account, herding dogs can become loving and wonderful pets.
A herding dog is a breed of canine that has been historically trained to take care of animal herds. They have been found all over the world in different terrains, taking care of different animals. Thus there are numerous herding breeds, each varying in size, appearance and temperament. The way in which each breed was trained to herd also varies. Some herding dogs use their size and force to herd, often blocking animals with their body or leaning against a herd to encourage movement. Others take a more aggressive approach, often quite predatory in nature. They crouch down low to the ground, roughly directing the herd. Herding dogs were also bred with an instinct for protecting their herds from outside predators.
Regardless of the type of herding dog, they all maintain the instinct to herd others. Oftentimes, faced with a lack of animals to herd, they will try to herd human members of their household. They are known for keeping track of people’s whereabouts and sometimes fiercely defending their owners against any potential threats. They are often quite intelligent and attentive, making great companions. However, they are also often very strong, both mentally and physically. Many may require special training before they adapt to a life without a herd.
Herding dogs are also known for great amounts of energy. They need a great deal of exercise in order to feel content. Their highly intelligent nature also demands mental stimulation, or else they may become bored and troublesome. In an environment that allows for frequent contact with others and lots of time outside, herding dogs do best.
Herding dogs include Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, and Corgis. Though they are not as often used for actual herding today, they have not declined in popularity. With the right environment, training and attention, they make wonderfully devoted and rewarding pets.