When you look back through the history of dogs, you will find that they have been used for a wide variety of reasons. Some dogs were companions, others may have been used for hunting but perhaps one of the most common reasons why dogs were bred was for herding purposes. In fact, some of the most ancient breeds of dogs were used for herding cattle, sheep and even reindeer. There are many different breeds of dogs that would fit into this category.
Although they are an ancient classification of dog, the herding group is actually the newest classification that was included by the AKC, as it was created in 1983. The breeds that are included in the herding group all have the ability and desire to control the movement of various animals. At times, they may even be able to move those animals that are many times their height, and it shows through other personality when you have them at home.
Although many of the breeds that fit into the herding group may have a history of moving other animals, the vast majority of them are now used as companion dogs and live in the home. In fact, very few of them have likely ever seen the animals that they were designed to herd, but that doesn’t mean that they are lacking in that inherent instinct. In fact, you may find that such a dog is using that instinct to herd the family and they may have various problems, including wanting to chase after you and nip at your heels.
Dogs that are classified in the herding group tend to be excellent companions and even those who are still used in the field are companions of the farmers and herdsmen as well. Many of them tend to be highly intelligent, so they are easily trained and they will respond well when an ongoing program of training is included in their lives. Each dog has its own particular personality, however, so it is important to research the breeds before you decide to choose one for your own home.
One of the ways in which dogs in the herding group move animals is by heeling them. For example, an Australian cattle dog could run up behind any of the cattle that were being stubborn to nip at them and bark in order to get them moving. Other dogs from the herding group, however, such as border collies, tend to crouch and stalk and may be able to move the animals by simply looking at them. They also have a tendency to nip as well.
The animals that are found in this category do quite well with humans and many of them make loyal, loving and friendly companions that can be part of both large and small households. In many cases, they can also be used for the specific purpose that they were bred and you may find that allowing them to do so helps to make them a more confident and balanced pet.