Pastoral dogs

Pastoral dogs

herding dog

The pastoral group gather different type of herding dogs which have been bred to guard cattle or/and drive sheep. Some of the pastoral dog breeds are only trained to guard livestock while others are trained to perform more tasks such as guarding cattle and leading them. In the UK, some herding dogs were trained to guard livestock from foxes and other small animals. Due to the reasonable size of the predators, UK farmers favoured small to medium herding dogs to larger breeds. Nowadays, only a small number of herding dogs are still used to drive cattle.

Pastoral dogs have been working closely to humans for a very long time. As a result, they are eager to learn and are always happy to interact with their owners. When trained properly, they generally perform well in agility classes.

Due to their origins, pastoral dogs require strong leadership from an early age. It is important to correct puppies from nipping at people's ankle as it is a sign of an early dominance. When working cattle, herding dogs nip at animals' leg to lead them. It is not unusual that puppies reproduce this behaviour on people. It is also important to correct unwanted behaviour as some herding dogs can be dominant. German Shepherds, for example, tend to take their own decision when working cattle and subsequently require strong leadership. Owners should keep in mind that pastoral dogs have been created to perform a task also they will need regular challenges.

Dogs of the pastoral group