Meet the breed: Herding breeds

Jun 2, 2013 at 7:00 a.m. ET

This group of dogs encompass the true meaning of living to work and working to live. These natural born workaholics teach us a lesson or two about the power of diligence and the importance of a balanced lifestyle. These breeds thrive on a daily lifestyle that allows them to hone in their natural herding instincts. If you’re thinking about adopting a member of the herding breed, here’s a round up of some of our favorites.

Australian Shepherd

Australian shepherd

Ranking high in the intelligence pool, Australian shepherds are brains, brawns and everything in between. With an agile build and a knack for picking up training commands, this breed is often seen working as a Seeing Eye dog and rescue dogs and excel at agility competitions. Given the proper amount of work and exercise, Aussies make excellent and loyal companions but can become irritable and bored with a dormant lifestyle.

Best fit for: Active families that love the outdoors, preferably in homes with older children.

Border Collie

Border collie

The herding group is home to many of the smartest breeds on the planet but when it comes to smarts, the border collie steals the show. Named the most intelligent breed in the world, this breed requires constant brain stimulation in the form of work, exercise and lots of training. As the teacher’s pet of the dog world, border collies thrive and shine in a learning environment and excel at catching on to even the most advanced training methods.

Best fit for: Experienced pet owners who can incorporate consistent training and exercise into their daily schedule.

German Shepherd

German shepherd

Another member of the smartypants league, the German shepherd is as much a lover as a fighter. This is one breed that has found its career calling in the human world. Whether they are taking a bite out of crime with the police force or providing a helping hand working as service dogs, for German shepherds working is a labor of love. Loyalty is a key trait of this gentle giant, making this breed an excellent family pet.

Best fit for: Loving families with time to spare for daily exercise and obedience training.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh corgi

Proving that great things come in small packages, the Cardigan Welsh corgi has a mighty personality in a miniature frame. As the smallest member of the herding group, Cardigan Welsh corgis were bred short in stature in order to have a clear advantage over the rest of the herding members, as their height kept them on track with their herding duties by helping them steer clear of getting kicked by the herds. Today, these sweet and tiny dogs make excellent house dogs and wonderful family pets.

Best fit for: Due to their stature, Cardigan Welsh corgis are recommended for families with older children.

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