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Sheep dogs have existed since ancient times, when people began to engage in sheep breeding. Brave pets guarded and guided the herds, protected livestock from attack by wolves, guarded the owner's property, even transported a small baggage. All breeds of dogs that graze sheep are called shepherds. Today, wonderful animals are still involved in grazing sheep, becoming loyal companions and guards.
Benefits of Herding Dog Breeds
Sheepdogs are valued all over the world, as they have many advantages:
- beautiful appearance, harmonious physique;
- physical strength, developed muscles;
- the ability to cope with high physical activity;
- luxurious wool with a dense undercoat that helps to survive in the highlands and harsh climatic conditions;
- discipline due to lack of hunting instinct;
- developed guard skills, distrust of strangers, readiness to attack an ill-wisher;
- endless devotion to the owner.
History of appearance
The first sheep herding dogs appeared several thousand years ago in the Asian highlands. The first shepherd dogs were so strong and harsh that they easily drove away from the sheep not only a wolf pack, but also bears. When the dogs came to Europe, breeders decided that shepherd dogs should not only be brave and strong, but also beautiful, noticeable among the grazing sheep.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
During the Roman Empire, dogs were trained not only to drive flocks of sheep, but also, in the event of an attack by a predator, to perform the functions of fighters. To this end, the Romans crossed successful European breeds with Asian Shepherds.
The peak of the selection of herding dogs in European countries fell on the 20th century. The Germans bred a shepherd dog, which became in demand not as a four-legged shepherd, but as a pet for work in the police and the army. Russian breeders are proud of the imposing and stern East European and South Russian Shepherd Dogs.
Most popular breeds
In each country, breeders selected shepherd dogs according to the desired character traits and appearance, so breeds with specific characteristics, adapted for living in certain climatic conditions, arose. Below is a list of the world's most popular sheep guard dogs.
Scottish shepherd (collie)
The British and Scots, with their characteristic aristocracy, decided that a dog for grazing sheep should be a real beauty. This is how the collie appeared - a breed with a silky, flowing coat, a harmonious physique. The original purpose of the collie was to guard the sheep, to monitor the safety of the owner's children. But soon the beautiful dogs attracted the attention of aristocrats and became elite pets.
high intelligence, learnability;
lively, inquisitive character;
love of outdoor games;
the need for careful care of long hair.
During the 1950s and 1970s the series "Lassie" was on, the Scottish Shepherd became incredibly popular all over the world. Collie still grazes sheep in the farming areas of England and Scotland today. But more often the dog is brought in as a companion.
Australian Shepherds - Healer
The Australians bred sheep grazing dogs separately from the Europeans. The progenitor of the Australian shepherd was the wild dingo dog. Healer Shepherd Dog is strong, sinewy, with developed muscles and a large skeleton. The highlight of the breed is the original color: blue, speckled blue, speckled red.
physical strength, endurance;
intelligence, intelligence, compliance with training;
loyalty to the owner.
striving to lead;
The four-legged shepherd subtly feels the master's mood, understands what to do with the sheep, even without commands, but only by the owner's facial expressions.
Healers prefer a gregarious lifestyle, love to be in the spotlight, do not show aggression without need and good reason.
Central Asia Shepherd Dog - Alabai
Alabai are the most massive, hardy, severe representatives of the shepherd group. The weight of males reaches 90 kg, females weigh about 70 kg. An ancient aboriginal breed only for an experienced breeder, a beginner will not cope with the hard and rebellious nature of the dog. Because of the large size, it is not worth starting an alabay in a city apartment, but because of the severity and willfulness - in a family with small children.
courage, the desire to protect;
the ability to adapt to environmental conditions;
the tendency to unreasonably attack animals and people;
quarrelsomeness with other animals.
While grazing sheep, Alabai alone rushes at a seasoned wolf. Representatives of the breed are used not only as shepherds, but also as fighting dogs.
Bernese Shepherd Dog - Mountain Dog
The Swiss Shepherd is a dog not only for grazing sheep, but also for protection and official purposes. Breeders have tried to maximize positive character traits. The Sennenhund is a wonderful companion for a large family, he willingly takes part in children's games, is suitable for keeping both in a country house and in a modest city apartment.
beauty, harmonious physique;
good nature, calm disposition, lack of aggression;
intelligence, trouble-free training;
getting along with other pets.
the need for careful care, regular combing of the coat.
Few people know that funny short-legged dogs are shepherds. Their original purpose was to control the movement of the herd. The dogs grabbed the sheep by the legs, urging them on, correcting the direction of movement. Today the corgi is not a sheep, but a decorative doggie for indoor keeping.
intelligence, compliance with training;
non-capriciousness in care and maintenance;
instinctive grabbing of people by the heels;
clear voice (this must be taken into account when living in an apartment building).
Komondor - Hungarian representative
The ancient Hungarian Shepherd Dog looks large and imposing, but a significant percentage of its body weight is accounted for by the long, coiled hair in tight dreadlocks. The original "fur coat" makes the dog look like a sheep, making it almost impossible to see a four-legged shepherd in a moving herd.
caring attitude towards children (the dog can be left as a nanny).
stubbornness with the wrong upbringing;
complex hair care.
Wool builds up dirt, smells bad, is difficult to clean, and the slightest scratches on the skin can cause severe inflammation.
South Russian Shepherd Dog (YURO)
The massive, stout dog with bulky coat was originally intended to help herd sheep, but today it is used for guarding purposes. Representatives of the breed help border guards to guard the borders of our country, attacking the enemy, show amazing dexterity and swiftness.
high intelligence, learnability;
endless love and devotion to the owner;
positive attitude towards children.
aggression and unpredictable behavior with the wrong upbringing;
the need for careful care of the coat.
The appearance of the dog is sweet, cute, not combined with a serious character. It is hard to believe that this is a born guard, and not a wiggly lapdog.
Moody - Hungarian Shepherd
The Hungarian Sheepdog is so nimble that it alone is enough to keep track of a large flock of sheep. Can be used as a hunting dog, helps to track down big game.
activity, hard work;
lack of aggression;
compliance with training;
lively and cheerful character;
The irrepressible energy of the mudi must regularly find a way out. Daily outdoor workouts, agility, and jogging help with this. A small shepherd dog feels great in indoor conditions.
Deservedly considered the best breed created by German breeders. In fact, this dog is a national treasure of Germany. Representatives of the breed do an excellent job with grazing not only sheep, but also cattle. About 100 years ago, the German Shepherd began to be used to help carry out military and police tasks.
external beauty, harmonious physique;
problem-free maintenance in apartment conditions;
The German Shepherd is capable of performing a variety of tasks, that is, like a Labrador, in terms of its skills it is a universal breed.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Large dogs with a noble appearance are also called Caucasian wolfhounds. The history of the breed lasts more than 2 thousand years. The purpose of the pet is to guard sheep, to engage in a battle with wild animals that have encroached on the herd. The character of the representatives of the breed is appropriate: brave, uncompromising, decisive, stern.
From the 18th century to the present day, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog has been used for guard duty.
loyalty to the owner, the desire to protect;
the possibility of yard maintenance.
inappropriate behavior with the wrong upbringing;
distrustful attitude towards strangers and children.
The shepherd dog bred in England has long lost the skills of protecting sheep, has turned into a friend and companion. The bobtail can be used as a guide for blind people.
good nature, gentleness, phlegmatic disposition;
loyalty to the owner;
compliance with training;
calm reaction to being left alone;
the ability to entertain yourself on your own;
good attitude towards children.
the need for regular and thorough care of the pet's thick curly hair.
Puppy selection rules
Sheepdogs are one of the most convenient to care for and keep dogs, they are not capricious, hardy, quick-witted. But when choosing a puppy, some nuances should be taken into account so that there are no problems later:
- If the farmer needs a pet to guard the sheep, a cheap pet (companion) puppy can be purchased. If you want your dog to take part in exhibitions, you will have to pay a considerable amount for a puppy in the show category.
- Herding dogs need freedom, regular physical activity. You should not buy a shepherd dog for a stay-at-home or careerist. Sheepdog is not a couch dog, it needs to be walked twice a day for 2 hours.
- You should choose a puppy in a reputable kennel, and not from your hands.
- The seller must provide the buyer with a veterinary passport with health and vaccination stamps, as well as a document confirming the pedigree.
- When buying, you need to carefully observe the offered puppies. The chosen animal should not be intimidated or aggressive. You can clap your hands over the puppy's head, if he gets scared, starts barking angrily, tries to hide, then there is a disorder with his mental state.
If it is not possible to provide the shepherd dog with walking according to the regime and proper conditions of detention, then it is better to pay attention to other breeds that are less in need of attention and physical activity.