The American Kennel Club divides show dogs into seven different groups: Sporting, Non-Sporting, Hounds, Terriers, Toy, and Working. Each group has particular characteristics in common.
The Herding Group is the American Kennel Club’s newest classification, dating back to 1983. The Herding Group split off from the Working Group to include breeds with the ability to direct or control the movement of other animals. Traditionally, these dogs were used to herd livestock. Herding Group dogs are used today in parks to control flocks of geese and to move goats around for natural lawn control.
Herding Group dogs are generally intelligent dogs who need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. These days, many Herding Group dogs don’t ever encounter any livestock to herd. Instead, they gently herd their owners and families — especially children! Try your herding dog at agility, flyball, and obedience trials, as they are quick learners who love to have a job to do.
Herding Group dogs do share a lot of similarities with Working Group dogs. Both groups of dogs include breeds that were not traditionally bred for hunting. Both groups of dogs are great pets… as long as they have work to do! If left alone or ignored, Herding Group dogs and Working Group dogs can become neurotic and destructive. Too many Herding Group dogs are surrendered to shelters by owners that just didn’t realize how much exercise and stimulation their dog needed. Don’t think in terms of minutes… think in terms of HOURS.
Breeds included in the Herding Group:
- Collies (Bearded, Border Collie, Collie)
- Sheepdogs (Belgian Sheepdog, Old English Sheepdog, Shetland Sheepdog)
- Shepherds (Australian Shepherd and German Shepherd)
- Welsh Corgi (Cardigan and Pembroke)
- Belgian Malinois
For a full list of dogs in the Herding Group, the Working Group, and other show groups, visit the American Kennel Club website.