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Are German Shepherds Herding Dogs

Old German Herding Dogs

Old German herding dog, landrace:Ost- bzw. mitteldeutsche Gelbbacke

Old German herding dogs , including old German sheep dogs or old German shepherd dogs are a group of traditional types of working, herding dogs from Germany. They are landraces consisting of working strains of dog, and some of them are the types from which the modern German Shepherd Dog was developed as a standardised breed. The landraces are not recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, but some have their own standards which are for working ability, not appearance traits.

Quick History Of The Herding Dog Group

Some herders fulfilled many jobs,serving as guardians, herders, drovers or even hunting dogs. Examples of these multi-tasking dogs includethe German Shepherd Dogs, Bouviers des Flandres, Briards and Old EnglishSheepdogs.

Many others were usedprimarily to keep the flocks and herds together and serve as a companion for the shepherd or rancher. From the time that ancient people began to keep livestock up toand including the present, farmers neededa way to protect their animals from predators.

Most found that these dogs also servedthe role of companion. These dogs were preferredbecause they had a particular kind of predatory instinct which was to herd without harming.

Since they were often left alone with theflock for periods of time, they also needed to possess the ability to make decisions independently. This group of dogs was needed all overthe world, where people raised livestock.; Many breeds developed separately as a resultof the region where they lived.

Small Shetland Sheepdogs were perfectfor herding the miniature sheep and horses found in the Shetland Islands offthe coast of Scotland. Australian Cattledogs could withstand the heat of the outback and still survive the long stockdrives over rough ground.

Shepherdsdepended on the dogs to guard their flocks againstpredators, keep them together and when the time came, drive them to market.

How Did Shepherd Breeds Evolve

Organized herding is a relatively new concept. Although domestication of goats and sheep predecessors began as early as 9000 BC, the idea of enlisting dogs to at least protect livestock did not come about until about 1980 BC.

Livestock guardian dogs were a large part of the success of shepherds and their stock in their move from Asia to central Europe and onward. Likewise, domesticated dogs spread all over Europe.

Molossers developed around 600BC, according to , and served multiple purposes.

They gave rise to Mastiffs and Mastiff-types, who were war dogs, hunters, guard dogs, and livestock guardians.

Around the 1570s AD, some Mastiff-type descendants became drover dogs, hauling produce and meats and helping move cattle and sheep to market.

Nomads and Peat dogs of about 2500 BC were the ancestors of some modern shepherds and herding dogs of central Europe.

Peat dog evolution occurred in the 1570s parallel to the Mastiff descendants timeline. They resulted in lighter and quicker dogs than the Mastiff-types and proved more useful for organizing livestock in particular areas of Europe like Italy, Germany, and France.

These new dogs could move small groups or individuals quickly and according to a shepherds bidding. They became known as shepherds dogs, and many registries designate these canines as true herding or shepherd breeds.

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Members Of The American Kennel Club Herding Dog Group

Originally bred to look after herds of cattle being driven to market over long distances and rough ground. Developed by crossing the native Australian Dingo with Drover’s dogs from England. This is an active and energetic breed that needs plenty of exercise. They are compact and muscular, and normally not difficult to train.

The Australian Shepherd is actually an American dog breed. It is thought to have originated in the Basque region of Spain. When Basque shepherds emigrated to Australia, they took their dogs with them. In later years, the shepherds migrated again, to California.

It was in the USA that the breed was developed further for local conditions, but was still referred to as that “Australian Shepherd”.

Grooming:; AverageTraining:;EasyRecognition:; ANKC ,; CKC ,; AKC ,; FCI ,; KC ,; NZKC ,; UKC

As one of Americas favorite breeds of dog, and ranking 39th on the American Kennel Clubs list of most popular dog breeds, Im sure most people have heard at least a few of the charming qualities that make this special dog who they are.

Some people might say that this breed is pretty smart, and they wouldnt be wrong, but in fact, this smart dog is considered to be the most intelligent breed on the planet.

How To Care For Your German Shepherd From Puppyhood Into Old Age

Herding  German Shepherd Dog Club of Washington State, Inc.


A GSD puppy will soon demonstrate how active it likes to be and as a result will requires a lot of exercise. Regardless of how the dog will be used it will always want to be busy doing things. Puppies should not be exercised too much on hard ground as their paws are still delicate so a mix of hard and softer ground is recommended until they are at least 2 years of age.

The older GSD will require regular exercise in the form of walking, running and any other opportunities to burn off energy, especially if not being used as a working dog. At least 2 walks a day is recommended for this medium to large-sized breed. A trained GSD is happy to walk on or off lead but care should be taken to understand the rules of where the dog is walking as sometimes dog leads and dog muzzles are obligatory in certain public areas.


The GSD should be fed as a large-sized dog with quantities and type of dry specially formulated food, possibly supplemented with vitamins and minerals, as advised by the Vet appointed for its ongoing health care and check-ups. Be careful not to overfeed as additional weight can exacerbate hip and elbow problems common in the breed and cause bloating.


A medium-length haired, double-coated dog will require regular grooming, therefore a good brush is required . Brushing is recommended at least 2-3 times a week. They typically shed hair all year round and twice a year have an accelerated shedding of their coat.


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Rescuing A King Shepherd

Considering their size and exercise requirements, its certainly possible that youd be able to find a King Shepherd in a shelter.

Many people underestimate the responsibility of owning a giant dog.

Sometimes these dogs are ill-bred and have behavioral issues.

But just as often these dogs have come from homes that shouldnt have a dog in the first place.

Give them extra love and attention right from the start.

Once you gain their trust, youll likely be rewarded with lots of unconditional love and big wet doggie kisses.

What Are The Herding Breeds

A post shared by Arlen, Molly & Thumps on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:27pm PDT

Before we get to the specific skills of herding dogs, lets talk about their traits as a group. These;are the most common herding breeds in America:

  • Australian shepherd, cattle dog, and;heeler,
  • Border collie
  • Corgi
  • Shetland sheep dog

These breed have varying;appearances and personalities, but they also have a lot in common. Physically, herding breeds tend to have athletic builds and hardy coats for working outdoors in all sorts of weather. Personality-wise, every dog is unique, but herding breeds tend to be super-smart and devoted to their people.

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Todays German Shepherd Dog

Today the breed Von Stephanitz left behind has become one of the most popular in the world. He might be surprised at the drama of todays German Shepherd ring, as well as the varying styles of dogs across different countries and continents. But he would find common ground with modern fanciers in this aphorism, a version of which circulated among breeders of his day:

There are wolves, there are dogs and then there are German Shepherd Dogs.

German Shepherds As Sentinel Dogs

German Shepherd herding cows

As a sentinel dog German Shepherds again prove superior.;Because theyre a loyal breed, they already have an innate protective energy toward their owners and their family.;

You would think, after guarding sheep flocks for so many decades, they would possess the instincts to do the same with their owners. Well, youre right they do!

When that instinct is trained and honed, they can make excellent sentinel dogs. Not only are they incredibly perceptive , but their powerful barks and builds can intimidate even the most brave-hearted of intruders.

So if you have a home, family, bank vault, or otherwise valuable thing that needs guarding, a German Shepherd may be right for you.

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Want To Learn More About The Herding Dog Group

There are quite a few books written on this subject and include histories and breed profiles to training manuals for those who want to training their own dog for work in the field as well as dog events.

Here are a few that I picked out. Click on the image to find out more information.

Return from Herding Dog Group to Dog Breeds Expert

About Jones German Shepherds

We are a small license family oriented hobby breeders. Because we are small, we have all the time to raise our puppies in a family home environment with lots of interaction and socialization with kids, cats and other animals. We currently have male & female calm and healthy German Shepherd puppies for sale that are ready to go now for adoption to approved homes only. Our sale price for each puppy is affordable. We use airlines for shipping which is safe & stress free on the puppies. Puppies are never drugged, given any kind of sedative for the flight or put inside the cargo area. We do not ship our puppies as cargo. All puppies fly in the cabin, just like the passengers. Our puppies for sale are in constant care and supervision by the airline crew. The airline crew will give puppy food breaks, water breaks and potty breaks if needed. We guarantee safe and healthy arrival of your puppy.

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Many Herding German Shepherds Are Used Actively Today

Herding German Shepherds? As you know, German Shepherd Dogs fall into the Herding Category of dog breeds. The breed was derived in the late 1800s from several different types of herding stock in Germany.

As this new dog breed gained popularity, it also gained new jobs and duties as varied as can be possibly imagined – from work in the wars, search-and-rescue, tracking, police work, protection, to guide dog, personal companion dog and more.

Tactics used by hunting wolves, witnessed by humans, such as driving and separating one animal from the flock, were further exploited and bred into these dogs. As in other dogs, the animals possessing the best inherent herding abilities were further developed to assist human shepherds in their daily duties.

Exactly what is involved in the process of herding? First, a willingness to work and to cooperate with others. In the wild wolves or wild dogs work as a unit when hunting prey and each animal may have a particular job to fulfill in order to bring down the intended victim.

Some may be following the prey while others attempt to head it off. Still, another may be the pack leader who in essence coordinates the events of the hunt. Herding German Shepherds now work essentially with a human as pack leader in attempting to control herds of livestock.

How Shepherd Breeds Have Become The Most Popular Pet Dogs

German Shepherd Herding Dog Breed Stock Photo

How would you describe a shepherd dog if someone ever asked you? Would it be a classic German Shepherd or a similar breed? What about an Aussie or a Caucasian Shepherd?

The technical definition of a shepherd regarding dogs is any breed that humans have employed to help control livestock and move them from one place to another.

According to the strictest definitions, most dogs in that Herding Group are shepherd breeds. But how close is the relationship between what you typically think of as a shepherd, the GSD, and other herding breeds like the Border Collie?

And how would you classify dogs like the Rottweiler and Bernese Mountain Dog who moved livestock but did not make the cut into the Herding Class? Finally, where do LGDs, or livestock guardian dogs like the Kuvasz and Anatolian Shepherd factor?

We explore the herding dog background and different shepherd breeds that are popular in the USA and then delve into others that have great status in their native countries.

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The Most Popular Herding Dogs

While youll recognize some of the best known and most popular dog breeds there are also some rare and unusual dogs.

Or scroll on through!

Affectionately known as the Sheltie, our fourth most popular herding breed is the gorgeous Shetland Sheepdog.

These sheep herding dogs were originally bred on the Shetland Islands Scotland.;

Looking for all the world like a miniature version of the Collie, this is a little dog with a big heart.

Smart and hard working, the Shetland Sheepdog is quick to bark and will warn you if strangers are about.

Origins Of The Akc Herding Dog Group

The classificationof the Herding group has been in existence since 1983 when the American Kennel Club separated their Working groupinto two distinct categories.

Part of thisdecision was based on the logical reclassification of breeds. Many dogs that were once in the working groupwere identified as either sheep or cattle dogs.;

These herders were placed in the working group initially because theywere versatile and could do many different jobs such as guarding, pulling cartsand sleds, and even hunting.;

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Top Dog Breeds For Herding Livestock

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Many breeds are classified as herding dogssheepdogs, cattle dogs, shepherds, or collies. Herding dogs come in all shapes and sizes from all over the world. They are adept at herding in mountainous areas, flat fields, and all-weather situations.

Herding dogs have slightly different flock management styles, such as the border collie, which stays at the front of the herd, curbing wanderers by using its stare to keep the herd together in a group. Heelers like Australian cattle dogs or corgis are driving dogs that keep pushing the animals forward. Typically, they stay behind the herd. Other types like the;Australian shepherd and Old English sheepdog do a little bit of both. Belgian herding dogs,;German shepherds,;and;Briards;are tending;dogs that guide large flocks of sheep to graze and prevent wandering.

Skeletal Health And Supplementation

German Shepherd Dog – AKC Dog Breed Series

Musculoskeletal disorders are debilitating conditions that are often associated with genetic makeup, malnutrition, and stress-related events. Some breeds like the German shepherd, are predisposed to a variety of different skeletal disorders, including but not limited to: canine hip dysplasia, Cauda equina syndrome, and osteoarthritis. These conditions can be a result of poor breeding or induced by intense exercise and poor diet.

Canine hip dysplasia is an orthopedic condition resulting from abnormal development of the hip joint and surrounding tissue causing the instability and partial dislocation of the hip joint, resulting in pain, inflammation, lameness, and potentially osteoarthritis of the joint. German shepherds are genetically predisposed to CHD and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany found its prevalence estimated to be approximately 35% of veterinary cases associated with the disorder.

Osteoarthritis is one of the main contributors of musculoskeletal pain and disabilities that commonly affect German shepherds. Mechanical stress, oxidative damage and inflammatory mediators combine to induce the gradual degeneration of the articular cartilage in the joint, resulting in reduced muscle mass, pain, and locomotion.

Vitamins such as A and D also have crucial roles in bone development and maintenance by regulating bone and calcium metabolism. Adequate levels should be incorporated into a German shepherd diet to promote a healthy musculoskeletal system.

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German Shepherds As Police Dogs

Combine intelligence, athleticism, loyalty, and a powerful nose and you have one superb police dog. In this case, the German Shepherd fits the bill.

German Shepherds have long been the go-to breed for police K-9 units, using their intimidating yet fearful presence, and powerful sniffers to bring down criminals.;

These dogs can do it all! From detecting illegal substances to sniffing out bombs, German Shepherds keep the world safer one day at a time.;Its really no surprise that theyve been working with the police force for over 100 years!

However, it is important not to approach a police German Shepherd while they are on duty. They are specifically trained to behave a certain way on the job. So getting too close to one could be a bit too dangerous.;

Instead, just admire them from afar and they will happily do their jobs.;

A Brief History Of The Breed

Believe it or not, the German Shepherd actually does originate from Germany. Captain Max Von Stephanitz, a retired German cavalry officer, at the end of the 19th century wanted a strong, intelligent working dog. He admired the herding abilities of the various continental shepherd dogs but could not find one that had all the performance traits he imagined an expert working dog should have. So, he began his quest to research into how to breed the ultimate German herding/working dog and eventually achieve standardization of the breed.

One day, while at a dog show in Germany, he spotted an impressive dog that resembled a wolf. He was so impressed with its appearance and form that he bought it and began the breeding programme that produced the now easily recognized German Shepherd dog, as we know it today.

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The German Shepherd Dog Breed

The German Shepherd Dog, also known as the Alsatian in Great Britain and parts of Europe, is among the top 10 most popular dog breeds in the U.S., and probably one of the world’s most recognized breeds. Theyre intelligent and capable working dogs. Their devotion and courage are unmatched. And theyre amazingly versatile.

Males stand 24 to 26 inches; females stand 22 to 24 inches. Weight ranges from 75 to 95 pounds.

They owe part of their renown to a small puppy who was plucked from a bullet- and bomb-riddled breeding kennel in France during World War I by Corporal Lee Duncan. At the end of the war, Duncan brought the puppy back to his hometown of Los Angeles, trained him, and turned him into one of the most famous dogs in show biz–Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin went on to appear in dozens of movies and, at the height of his stardom, got 10,000 fan letters a week.

The German Shepherd has held many jobs other than movie star–leading the blind, chasing down criminals, sniffing out illegal substances, serving in the military, visiting the sick, and herding stock are just some of the jobs held by this versatile breed.

The dog has even taken on the role of national hero. German Shepherds were the search and rescue dogs crawling through the ruins of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking for survivors and comforting rescue workers and families.


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