Have you ever been to a ranch and watched a dog run behind a herd of cattle, making sure the cattle follow their path, nipping at them when they get out of line? These magnificent dogs, known as herding dogs, are some of the smartest and most well-trained canines around. How much do you know about dogs that possess this special talent? Here's a quiz where you can find out!
A quality herding dog is years in the making, and not just because they are trained. These dogs have been bred specifically over the years for the purpose of maintaining their hunting skills while eliminating their primitive need to hunt animals, such as sheep and cattle, for food.
These dogs aren't a one size fits all either. There are various breeds of herding dogs that use different skills to accomplish the task of herding. Some herding dogs nip at the heels of the animals they are keeping in line while others simply use an intense stare to force herds in the required direction. You can pick your poison, but either way, these dogs do their job well.
See how much you know about some of the most popular herding breeds by taking this quiz. We will give you an image, you name the dog. Get started and put your animal knowledge to the ultimate test!
The Australian Kelpie is believed to be a cross between a German Shepherd and an Australian dingo. They make great watchdogs, but also frequently work as search and rescue dogs, detection dogs, and therapy dogs.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis, known as the Corgi "with the tail," are fun-loving but tireless. The breed belongs to the same family as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds.
The Old English Sheepdog is known to be good-natured and gentle. Their trademark, though, is their coat -- or maybe their heavy shedding, or heavy drooling.
If the Koolie looks familiar, it's probably because it closely resembles the Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler). The Koolie breed played a big role in the development of both the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Kelpie -- and, yes, the Koolie is also an Australian breed.
If you think the Miniature American Shepherd resembles the Miniature Australian Shepherd, you're correct -- they're basically a smaller version. They're perfect for herding smaller animals, like goats and sheep, yet not too small to herd larger animals, like cattle. The American Kennel Club (AKC) began recognizing the Miniature American in the Herding Group in 2015.
Border Collies may be the smartest breed. Not only do they very very -- very -- much want a job, they are bred to be people-oriented, and will work best when working with you rather than on their own.
Mudis are Hungarian Sheepdogs, and are closely related to the Puli and Pumi. Like other herding breeds, they have a strong desire to work. But unlike many of its peers, the Mudi is also agreeable to snuggling on the couch while binge-watching Netflix.
Six skeletons of Norwegian Buhund dogs were found during the excavation of a Viking grave in Norway and have been estimated to be from around 900 AD. Today dogs in this breed are considered good watchdogs and herding dogs -- and all-purpose farm dogs. Buhunds have also begun working as hearing assistance dogs.
The Finnish Lapphund used to be first choice if you needed to herd reindeer -- but the work was eventually replaced by snowmobiles. He'll also make a good family dog, but does have a tendency to bark a lot.
Rin Tin Tin, the first canine movie star, was a German Shepherd, which, today, is not only one of the most recognizable breeds but also one of the most popular in the U.S. The breed was originally developed for military and police work, but today they're often also seen working in assistance jobs, such as a guide dog, in search and rescue, and as guardians. One thing they don't like, though, is relaxing on the couch.
An adult Pyrenean Shepherd, called a Pyr Shep, is 15 to 30 pounds of personality. Although they've been popular in France for centuries, the breed didn't become popular among U.S. dog lovers until the 1970s.
Although the Spanish Water Dog has 'water' in his name, he's not really a water dog, as the American Water Spaniel or the Irish Water Spaniel are. This breed is a high-energy herder who also likes agility work -- and being your loyal companion and protector.
This hard-working herder, bred to herd and drive cattle and hogs, is the official canine of Louisiana. Catahoula Leopard dogs not only have webbed feet for negotiating swamps, the breed is also known for its distinctive eyes -- they might they have two different colored eyes, called odd-eyes, or irises that are two different colors, called "cracked glass" eyes.
From Kelpie and Dingo to Dalmatian and Bull Terrier, these Cattle Dogs are a little bit of everything. They're strong-willed, and they also have a strong sense of adventure that makes them prone to injury.
Their characteristic herding move is known as "the bearded bounce." But without a lot of exercise and obedience training, the good-natured Bearded Collie likes barking, chewing, and digging -- and generally gets into mischief.
The Carpathian Shepherd Dog is a large dog, weighing up to 100 pounds in adulthood, with a big head and a thunderous bark. This mountain dog breed is from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, but likely this sheepdog descends from dogs originating in the Mesopotamia region about 9,000 years ago.
Although the first Canaan Dogs came to the U.S. in 1965, this is an old breed, dating back to 2200-2000 BC -- these primitive dogs were herding and guard dogs for ancient Israelites, before the Romans invaded the region.
This breed originated in Mendocino County, California. Commonly called a McNab Shepherd or McNab Collie, the McNab is known for its distinctive cat-like feet, which help with their amazing speed and agility.
Because this breed has strong tracking skills along with its herding expertise, Malinois were conscripted into WWI service. Today, their skills are put to use working with police, military, and search and rescue.
It's been jokingly referred to as a moving mop, but this sheepdog's tightly-corded coat is matted that way for a reason -- it helps keep the Puli dry. The first Puli came to the U.S. in 1935, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and they were registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) by 1936.
Its name, the Entlebucher, is commonly pronounced one of these two ways, Ent’-lee-boo-ker or Entel-boo-ker -- but many just use Entle, for short. These hardcore workers, which at 55 pounds are the smallest of the Swiss Mountain dog breeds, were originally used to herd cattle and other livestock. The breed is typically pretty energetic and likes to be physical. These dogs are known to give you a shove from time to time.
It's believed that the Lancashire Heeler was bred from a Welsh Corgi and Manchester Terrier -- developing a breed that could herd and drive livestock by nipping at the animals' heels in addition to ratter instincts. But if you know a Lancashire Heeler, then you know its most distinctive characteristic is its human-like smile.
The Shetland Sheepdog is commonly known as the Sheltie. But did you know it used to go by the name, Miniature Collie? Although it resembles a small Rough Collie, the Sheltie is its own breed. And a smart breed, too -- the average Shetland Sheepdog learns a new command in less than five repetitions.
The Pumi is an amusing companion who will become attached to you quickly. He excels at herding cattle, pigs, and sheep, what he was bred to do, and the breed is also known to be competitive at dog dancing.
The Chien de Crau, originally from the La Crau region of France, is medium-sized herding dog that's also a good all-purpose farm dog. The breed is also famous for being bred with the Barbet, another dog breed -- take a closer look at the Barbet, you'll see.
Used to deliver messages, for sentry duty, and to do search and rescue for missing and wounded soldiers, the Briard was almost extinct after WWI. Today, this breed is more likely to be found doing rescue, police, or military work -- or as a companion dog, instead of what it was originally bred for: herding and guarding sheep.
It's known as the Portuguese Sheepdog in English, but the Cão da Serra de Aires's nickname is cão macaco, meaning 'monkey dog," because of its personality. While this breed is an excellent herder, these dogs also tend to enjoy sports.
The Belgian Shepherd was bred to herd and to guard. The breed was preferred as watchdogs in WWI, and today they're a popular breed for working police dogs.
The Smithfield breed was known for its cattle herding abilities in the British Isles. But when introduced to Australia, their long coat decreased their stamina in the hotter climate of the Outback. Crossing the Smithfield with the Australian dingo and smooth Highland Collie, cattlemen bred the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog.
Icelandic Sheepdogs get along well with other animals and with kids. Icies, as they're called, are friendly and playful, and great at herding and finding lost sheep.
These large, white dogs appear in the art and literature of ancient Rome, but no one is exactly certain just how old the Maremma Sheepdog breed is. Today, they continue to be used to guard livestock in Italy as well as in Australia, Canada, and the U.S.
While you won't be surprised this breed has wolf in its heritage, you may not expect that the Saarloos Wolfdog was also bred from the German Shepherd by a Dutch Breeder in the early 20th Century. They're very athletic, like to be outdoors, and can be good assistance dogs.
The Australian Shepherd, most commonly called the Aussie (and less commonly called the little blue dog), is originally from the American West -- not from Australia. This herding breed also wants to be your lapdog -- or at least as close to you as possible at all times. They have high exercise needs.
These 25-pound short-legged dogs think of themselves as big dogs in small bodies. Pembroke Welsh Corgis were bred to herd cattle, and have been known to herd children -- and a lucky few have become the companions of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
This breed is ancient -- it originated sometime around 900 A.D., before the establishment of the Inca Empire in Peru. The Chiribaya Shepherd, known also as the Peruvian Shepherd Dog, was first bred to herd llamas.
The Bergamasco is muscular and heavy-boned, but it's hard to tell because of its most distinctive characteristic, its corded hair. This breed is patient, is known for its good self-control, and is good at working without human supervision.
A cross between the hunting and herding-skilled Louisiana Catahoula Leopard and the "catch dog" American bulldog, the Catahoula Bulldog has the weight, jaw, and intelligence all rolled into one package. They also make capable guardians.
In 1942, the Swedish Vallhund, also known as the Västgötaspets, nearly went extinct. In 1943, they were recognized by the Swedish Kennel Club, but it wasn't until 2007 that they were recognized by the American Kennel Club.
This breed will herd you if you don't watch out -- right outside to give him some exercise. The Beauceron is an assertive and large dog, good at herding but also driving flocks and guarding his (your) family.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog, often called just PON (for Polski Owczarek Nizinny), is a shaggy-coated sheepdog that's only about half the size of its close and well-known relative, the Old English Sheepdog. This breed is rambunctious and silly, and owners should always be one step ahead.
As all herding dogs, the Carea Leonés is motivated to work and easy to train. The breed originated in Spain, where for centuries, it has been used to herd flocks of sheep in mountainous regions.
The Belgian Tervuren is one of four varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dogs, the others including the Malinois, the Laekenois, and the Groenendael (also known as the Belgian Sheepdog). Tervurens excel at obstacle courses and agility work, as well as in protection dog sports and police work.
The Lapinporokoira, a Scandinavian breed, was originally used to herd and guard reindeer. The breed requires a lot of training as well as mental and physical exercise -- and is best suited for people who like outdoor activity.
Berger Picards, or simply, Picards, are active, athletic dogs that are considered the oldest of the French sheepdog breeds. These dogs are excellent herders who are also agile and obedient -- and they'll always be nearby to provide comic relief.
The Bouvier des Flandres is originally from Flanders, Belgium, where it was bred to drive cattle, herd sheep, and do all-purpose farm work, including cart pulling. Today, the big-hearted "Vuilbaard," which means dirty beard, often works as a guardian or with police.
Also known as the Dutch Sheepdog, Schapendoes were bred to be good herding dogs as well as good all-purpose farm dogs. Today, these shaggy-coated dogs can also be seen participating in agility and other sporting events.
Collies are highly-intelligent herding dogs, although the awesomeness that is the Rough Collie is slightly exaggerated in the most famous of the breed: the fictional TV dog, Lassie. Although they're unlikely to save Timmy from the well, both Rough and Smooth Collies are calm house dogs, and some continue to work herding cattle, sheep, and other livestock.
Black Mouth Curs are large, muscular dogs that originated in the American South. It's a resilient working dog that is affectionate and protective of its family.
This breed is believed to be a cross between an Australian dingo and an unknown bobtailed dog, and was originally bred for herding cattle and all-purpose farm work. Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are high-energy, and won't have any patience if expected to hang out as a couch potato.