Different breeds of herding dogs have different features, such as ranging in build from small to large and more athletic. This unique category of dog breed was originally introduced for outdoor work on ranches or farms.

Collie Dog

These highly intelligent, loyal and protective dogs make wonderful pets although it’s important that they have space to run about and enjoy plenty of exercises. Herding sheep is typically the main responsibility of the border collie, although the various varieties including the bearded collie, border collie, and Shetland sheep dog can also herd other livestock such as cattle.

Australian Breeds

Some breeds have been introduced in Australia because of their ability to effectively herd cattle and sheep, and these breeds typically need to be kept busy, enjoy interacting with people and should get a lot of exercises. The Australian shepherd, the Australian cattle dog, and the kelpie are some of the most popular breeds that can be seen working on ranches all over the country.
A double coat, long ears that are pointed and a coat in solid color are characteristics of the kelpie. Both the Australian cattle dog and the shepherd have a mottled coat, also known as a Merle, although the hair on the cattle dog is shorter. Some ranchers know the Australian cattle dog as a red or blue heeler.

Shepherd Dog

Shepherd dogs were bred for the sole purpose of driving a herd and keeping watch over it, and today they are still an excellent choice for anyone who needs to protect animals or property. The dense and short coat is one of the features of the German shepherd, the most well-known breed, along with its distinctive upright ears, and coat coloring of tan and black.
The Dutch Shepherd can be identified from its striped and short coat and is usually a little smaller and slimmer than its German counterpart. The Pyrenean Shepherd also tends to be smaller than the German shepherd, and around its ears and neck, its coat tends to be a little longer. A similar but larger dog breed is the Great Pyrenees which often provides the protection for herds of sheep.


The well developed and broad chest of the Rottweiler has evolved over time due to the breed being used to pull a small cart and herd cattle to the market. The breed has a sometimes undeserved reputation as being aggressive or something of a bully, and firm direction and guidance are needed to ensure it can be safely used for protection.

Mountain Dogs

The greater Swiss mountain dog and the Bernese mountain dog can each tip the scales at over 100 pounds and were introduced in Switzerland, where they are still commonly found today. These large herding dogs have flat ears, white face and chest markings, and their coats are typically dark colored and long. One difference between the breeds is that the Bernese has slightly longer hair.
Smaller Herding Dog Breeds
Smaller breeds of herding dogs include the Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Swedish Vallhund. Both breeds can be enjoyed as pets, although they need plenty of exercises and enjoy interaction and games on a regular basis. Both breeds of herding dog are known for their determination to do a good job, despite their characteristically short legs.
The coat of the Vallhund is grayish brown in color while the Welsh corgi has a black, tan or brindle colored coat and a straight, long tail compared to the curly tail of the Vallhund.
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