Herding Dog Breeds

Throughout the world there are more than 400 purebred dogs. However, the American Kennel Club only recognizes and accepts breeds with a lineage, as well as those with an active breed group to perpetuate and develop the breed. For that reason, the AKC does not recognize many breeds. Once recognized by the AKC, the breed appears in the AKC Stud Book. Each breed is placed in a specific category, based on temperament, physical appearance and function.

When the American Kennel Club was founded in 1884 (then called the Philadelphia Kennel Club), it haphazardly listed its original 29 different breeds. Breeds as different as the dachshund and the mastiff were lumped together on the list.

As the list of purebreds slowly grew, club officials realized they needed to organize the many different purebreds into distinct groups. In 1923, the AKC organized the breeds into five categories: Sporting Dogs (including hounds), Working Dogs, Toy Breeds, Terriers and Non-sporting Dogs.

By far, the largest group was the Working Dog Group. In 1983, the AKC divided this group by creating the Herding Breed category. Dogs in this group all have the ability to drive livestock from one place to another. Herding dogs have historically been used to assist shepherds and farmers in caring for their livestock. These dogs are genetically programmed to want to keep livestock, pack members or even children in one area. The tactics these dogs use vary. Even those dogs not used to herd livestock will have a natural tendency toward keeping order. These are intelligent dogs and learn quickly.

Dogs belonging to the Herding Breed group include: