These 15 Cattle Dogs Are Expert Herders
Cattle dogs are domesticated by farmers and ranchers to save their livestock from predators like wolves, bears, and other carnivores. These canines are responsible for herding livestock and stopping the cattle from grazing away.
Cattle dogs don't refer to a specific breed; the term represents working dogs primarily used for cattle herding. Today, we have prepared a detailed list of 15 best dog breeds that are excellent cattle herders.
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1. Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Cattle Dogs are known for their agility, protective instincts, and herding abilities. They are extremely loyal, friendly, and intelligent.
These canines were originally created as mixed-breed dogs with lineage tracing back to kelpies, Scottish Highland collies, dingoes, and British Smithfields. ACDs, also called Blue Heelers, are famous for their ability to kill snakes that pose a significant threat to cattle. Further, they can also fight off coyotes and even wild wolves in some cases.
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2. Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdogs are fluffy canines native to England. These four-legged companions have been serving humans as cattle and sheep dogs since the early 18th century.
English Sheepdogs are big canines that can deter predators with their sheer size. Further, their thick fur also provides protection against bites; thus, lowering the risks of physical damage. Although they were not exclusively bred to fight wild animals like wolves, there are many cases where these sheepdogs fought and successfully scared away animals bigger than them.
3. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees is a guardian dog that can lead and protect cattle from intruders and predators. Native to France, these dogs have thick fur that is ideal for cold weather.
Although these dogs are not specifically bred for fighting, their protective instinct is enough to start a fight if it feels any threat. These adorable four-legged companions primarily use their huge bodies and bark to scare off predators. In some cases, these dogs have even deterred larger wild animals like bears and grey wolves.
4. Caucasian Shepherd
The Caucasian Shepherd is a breed of big dog originally from the Caucasus area of Asia and Europe. These dogs are known for their boldness and fearlessness as well as their friendliness.
They never scare away in the face of danger, which makes them ideal protective dogs. Caucasian Shepherds are considered some of the few breeds that can even fight off a wolf if it feels any danger to the herd. Further, these canines also form a strong bond with the cattle and protect them from any imminent danger.
5. Border Collie
The Border Collie is a herding dog native to the British Isles. Considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds, these canines are excellent cattle movers.
Besides cattle, these dogs are also used to protect sheep, goats, poultry, and hogs. They are known to protect the herd from large predatory birds and wild animals, including eagles, foxes, and wolves. Additionally, Border Collies can keep the wild animals as far as two miles away from cattle.
6. German Shepherd
As their name suggests, German Shepherds were originally bred to protect cattle and livestock from predators. These canines have excellent herding and guarding abilities.
German Shepherds possess a strong protective instinct toward their human families and livestock. These dogs have powerful jaws that can even shatter human bones. Due to their huge size and killer instincts, these canines can defend their cattle/territory against coyotes, wolves, and even snakes.
7. Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard is the official state dog of Louisiana since 1979. It is famous for its natural instinct to stop and hold cattle in a group.
These dogs often lead the herd by barking and running in a semi-circle to stop cattle from grazing away. The Catahoulas are also known for using clever tactics to keep the herd in line. If a cow gets out of line, it chases the animal and even bites to anger it. When the cattle start chasing it back as retaliation, the dog leads it to where it wanted the cow to be in the first place.
8. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is an incredibly loyal and trainable dog that originated from the Shetland Islands in Scotland. This canine breed is popular among farmers due to its devoted and docile behavior along with its agility and herding skills.
Due to their short stature, the Shetland dogs are mostly safe from bovine kicks. However, their small bodies are also a disadvantage as these dogs can't cover long ranges.
9. Australian Kelpie
The Australian Kelpie is a sheepdog that primarily herds sheep, cattle, and other livestock. The breed is energetic, alert, and intelligent.
These dogs can work inside closed yards and open fields. While some breeders believe the Australian Kelpies to be related to Dingo; however, others disagree as Dingoes are famous for hunting sheep. As of 2023, over 10000 of these dogs are working in ranches all around Australia.
10. Texas Heeler
The Texas Heeler is a mixed-breed dog that was bred by mating the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Shepherd. This dog has inherited the best physical and instinctual qualities from its parents.
Specimens of this breed are incredibly smart, friendly, and fast. These animals are fast herders and can easily control/manipulate the movement of cattle. The tailless creatures are also excellent human companions with a knack for spending for of their time outdoors.
11. Black Mouth Cur
The Black Mouth Cur was initially bred to help farmers by herding cattle in the southeastern region of the United States. Besides herding, this dog is also used as a game dog or a guard dog.
These adorable canines make excellent companions to farmers, hunters, and even normal families. However, as they are working dogs, they need regular exercise and movement. It might not be a rational idea to adopt one of these if you are not willing to spend at least a few hours a day walking and exercising your pet companion.
12. Belgian Sheepdog
The Belgian Sheepdog, also known as the Belgian Shepherd, is a herding dog native to Belgium. These canines have enhanced protective instincts which help them safeguard the cattle from predators.
These dogs are extremely efficient against wild animals like foxes, wolves, and even mountain lions. Besides their instinctive capabilities, Belgian Shepherds are gentle animals that love playing with their owners. These highly intelligent creatures are also known for their tracking skills.
13. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small breed of dog native to Pembrokeshire, Wales. These canines were originally bred to work as cattle herding dogs.
Besides their herding abilities, Corgis are also physically adapt to handling livestock. They have low-set bodies and deep chests that keep them safeguarded from any potential kick, whether a big one or a small one. Despite the close resemblance, Pembroke Corgis are not the same as Cardigan Welsh Corgis.
Also called heelers. these gentle dogs are not related despite originating from the same place.
14. Icelandic Sheepdog
Icelandic Sheepdog is a medium-sized breed of dog that originated from Iceland. These dogs are well-adapt to work in difficult terrains and harsh weather.
The specimens of this breed are intelligent with strong herding instincts. They work closely with the cattle and often lead the herd from the front, making them excellent leaders. Icelandic sheepdogs protect and round up livestock from the field. They can often work without any human supervision.
Puli is a dog type initially bred to herd and protect livestock. They remain active most of the time, which makes them one of the most active breeds of the 21st century.
Pulis might not be an ideal pet choice for people in cities or small apartments as these beasts are meant to survive outdoors. Meanwhile, Pulis is also blessed with herding and protecting cattle.