An In-Depth Look at Herding Dogs - Doggy Brace
herding dog


Herding dogs are wonderful and have a lot of quirks that are both lovable and something you need to work around, especially if you have other animals. However, they’re still loving, fun, and wonderful companions! 

The herding group is actually new too! It was created in 1983. Previously, herding dogs were a part of the working group! Why? Because they were used for jobs. Herding dogs are selectively bred to be herders for cattle, but now they’re also used to protect their owners. 

Because their herding instinct is so strong, these dogs will often try to lead their owners, other pets, and family members around the house. They’ll push, nudge, and (gently) shove you toward their desired destination. This makes them the perfect breed for protecting your family and animals. 

They are highly intelligent, make excellent companions, and respond beautifully to training exercises.

Well Known Herding Dog Breeds:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Border Collie
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Herding Dog Personalities 

As we mentioned above, herding dogs love to herd. They’re protectors by nature and the group has some of the most intelligent dog breeds in it. They’re known for their quick footwork, high capacity to be trained, and eagerness. 

On top of that, herding dogs are very active and love to run and play. They’re very agile and will perform for you if you let them! Toss a frisbee or a ball and let them jump high and go wild. 

They’re also extremely loyal and will be your best friend for life. 

Like with all dog groups, their specific personalities depend on the dog. Collies, for instance, are sweet, gentle, and full of energy, while corgis are more stubborn and adhere to routine. 

How to Choose the Right Herding  Dog 

With all dog groups, there isn’t a wrong dog. All dogs are lovely, but some are better suited for other families. A herding dog will be happiest in an environment that gives them routine, discipline, and plenty of time to run, romp, and play. They are some of the most active dogs we know of and they’ll be quick to show you that. 

That means if you live in an apartment and don’t have the time to let them run, then you may want to find another breed that better fits your lifestyle. Toy Breeds, for instance, are wonderful for city life. 

If you live in a house with a huge (preferably fenced in) yard, are active, have a farm with cattle, or are used to training and living with herding dogs, then you’ll be well prepared. 

Are Herding Dogs Good with Families? 

Yes! Herding dogs are extremely loyal and protective of their families. They’re ideal for those who want to spend a lot of time with their dog — both for cuddling and exercise. They will be your loving companion for life. 

Just remember that they are instinctual dogs. They will try to herd you, pets, and younger children. Don’t expect training to break this habit for them either. Herding is a part of who that dog is. Telling them not to do it would be like telling you not to breathe. 

Thankfully, because of their intelligence, they are very easy to train and quick to learn. You shouldn’t have any problem showing them what is okay to herd and what isn’t. 

Grooming Needs

Most herding dogs have long and luxurious coats. They’re soft and lovely to pet, but that means they shed. A lot. 

Grooming requirements are specific to each dog breed, of course, but you can’t go wrong with about 30 minutes a week of brushing, bathing, and nail trimming. Just make sure your vacuum is up to the task after you defur them! 

In short, if you want a dog that doesn’t leave hair on your couch, then a herding dog may not be right for you. 

Common Health Problems

Hip dysplasia and luxating patellas and elbows are very common for herding dogs, because they run so much. 

A luxating elbow or kneecap is simply a kneecap or an elbow that is out of place. Normally caused by genetics, it is possible to cause luxation through injury. It can range in severity, but usually causes slight pain and a limp. Your vet will be able to determine the right course to correct this. 

You’ve probably heard of hip dysplasia already. It’s a very common problem in most dogs, especially older ones. It’s an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and leads to arthritis. In the herding group, it’s very common in Border Collies. 

Torn ACLs are quite normal too for this group, especially when they love to run and jump. We recommend giving your herding dog the best preventative care so they can avoid pain and you can avoid costly vet bills. This way too, no playtime will be missed! 

We hope this helped you find out if herding dogs are right for you!