Keeping sheep away
A working dog
Photo courtesy of Trial
& Error Acres
A shepherd's best friend
- Going to the dogs
There are two types of dogs used on sheep farms: herding dogs
and guardian dogs. Herding dogs are used to manage sheep. They
are also called stockdogs or working dogs. Guardian dogs are used
to protect sheep from predators.
Learn about guardian dogs =>
A well-trained herding dog works in partnership with its handler
and obeys commands to perform its job. Properly trained, the dog
is able to move the sheep just about anywhere. Good herding dogs
control sheep with calm authority and without excessive "commotion."
A poorly trained dog has the opposite effect on the sheep.
Not just any breed of dog is used for herding. Common herding
breeds include the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Australian
Kelpie, New Zealand Huntaway, and Australian Cattle Dog. Other
breeds with herding instinct include Corgis and Shetland Sheepdogs.
The Border Collie
The most popular breed of herding dog in the U.S. is the Border
Collie.The Border Collie originated in the border country between
England and Scotland. It is considered the world's premier sheep
herding dog. The Border Collie is noted for its intelligence,
work ethic, and desire to please. Since Border Collies are bred
for working ability and intelligence rather than for physical
beauty, conformation varies widely.
- For the love of dogs
Many people get their start raising sheep because of their love
and interest in training herding dogs. They raise sheep so that
their dogs have sheep to work. Some people keep flocks of mosty
wethers whereas others develop productive sheep flocks that they
simultaneously use to work their dogs.
- Not ideal pets
Border Collies are not ideal pets for people who have no plans
to spend a lot of time with them. These dogs are too intelligent
to lie around the house all day with nothing to do. These lively
little dogs have boundless energy and thrive on hard work and
play. Prospective owners who are looking for just a family pet
should consider other similar, but calmer breeds, like show line
Australian Shepherds and Shetland Sheepdogs.
- An intelligent dog
One of the most trainable breeds, the Border Collie also serves
well as a narcotics and bomb detection dog and is a frequent high
performer in obedience, agility, Frisbee(TM) trials, police work,
search & rescue, Flyball, performing tricks and competitive
<== RAISING SHEEP