Are you wondering if your dog is in the Herding Dog Group?
You may or may not know that there are different “groups” for dog breeds. These groups are determined by the AKC, or the American Kennel Club, and there are eight in all. The Herding Dog Group in particular has been recognized officially since 1983, though its true origin goes back much further.
The History Of The Herding Dog Group
The Herding Dog Group is technically one of the oldest classifications of dog groups, as herding dog,s themselves, have been used by humans since ancient times to maintain and manage livestock. These dogs also acted as guard dogs and drivers for many farmers and shepherds. However, they served multiple functions over the course of their lives. As the work of farmers and shepherds was often rather lonely and demanding, many of these dogs also filled the role of companion for the people who needed them for the labor they provided.
These specific types of dogs were cultivated and bred all over the world. For this reason, the Herding Group has some of the most uniquely varied looking canines of any of the groups. Some dogs that belong in this category are Old English Sheepdogs, Briards, and German Shepherd Dogs.
Earliest Examples Of The Herding Dog
The most known example of early herding dogs is the ‘Peat Dog‘, which appeared to live with people known as ‘pile dwellers.’ This dog was reportedly only slightly larger than a fox.
The evidence for their existence includes remnants found in waste piles by these settlements. These remains include both dog skulls and bones marred with tooth marks from these dogs. This is generally believed to display evidence of a dog-man relationship for this civilization at this time. Since domestication of livestock was believed to also be taking place around this time, it stands to reason that this dog may have been the first example of the earliest herding dogs.
What Makes A Herding Dog?
The most commonplace and sometimes troublesome trait of a herding dog is stubbornness. This ingrained trait stems from this group’s need to think independently in the absence of a shepherd tending livestock. Because this strong will may be common in this group, it is best to ensure that your non-herding herding group dog gets extensive early training to become and stay an ideal companion.
Dogs in the herding group are often territorial and reserved around strangers, but they are also intelligent. Herding dogs make for excellent problem solvers with near-boundless energy. Therefore it is important that if you are able to exercise both your canine companion’s body and brain in the years that you spend together.
Why Do You Want A Herding Dog?
As stated, herding dogs are among the smartest groups of dog breeds. They are very active and alert and, therefore, make for decent guard dogs. However, beyond most everything else, herding dogs are very loyal to their families and provide excellent companionship due to the long and storied relationships these breeds have formed with humans for centuries. You’d likely be hard pressed to find a more loyal, loving dog, but make sure you can keep up with them!