Herding dogs were originally bred to work on farms and large pieces of land. Herding dog breeds are extremely intelligent and have lots of energy to burn. If you are looking for a dog breed which is intelligent and lively, then a herding dog breed might be for you.
Please note that like any breed round up, all the following choices are subjective and are far from being exhaustive. We know there are many other wonderful dog breeds that could have made the list and the list is in no particular order!
If you have a dog whose breed appears on our “Top 10 Herding Dog Breeds for Active Families” list or if you think your dog breed should have been on here, please let us know in the comments section below!
The Pet Embassy’s “Top 10 Herding Dog Breeds for Active Families”
Temperament: Energetic, Intelligent and Tenacious
Border Collies are a real family dog, they are one of the most loyal dog breeds in the world. The Border Collie is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world as well as one of the most active dog breeds. They have ranked as the smartest dog breed in the world in many studies. With this level of intellect comes deep loyalty to their masters as long as they are mentally and physically stimulated. They are a friendly breed who love to play, which makes them one of our favourite medium dog breeds.
They need lots of space to run, a big back yard or a farm is the best place for them after all they were originally bred for herding livestock! The Border Collie could become very bored in a small apartment or somewhere where they could not let their mind and legs run free. They also thoroughly enjoy playing games with children, which makes the Border Collie one of the best dog breeds for kids and families.
Border Collies are an energetic and lively dog breed. Due to this, their coat needs a lot of maintenance to ensure that there is no dirt and debris in there from their day-to-day activities.
Temperament: Energetic, Friendly and Gentle.
Originating in the Highland regions in Scotland, the Rough Collie was actually predominately black! Back then, looks did not matter as much as their ability to be a good herding dog breed.
Everyone remembers Lassie, from the 1950s hit TV show. Lassie, was in fact a rough collie! Rough Collies are another intelligent and energetic dog breed, who have a history as a very good herding dog. What separates Rough Collies from the rest is that they are a sensitive dog and have been known to sense when something is wrong and come to your aid. They form deep attachments to their pack, so much so, that they are a quiet dog in general but when left alone for too long the Rough Collie will bark excessively!
In general, the Rough Collie is a friendly dog breed but they can be weary of strangers in their territory, so please bare this in mind. Early training and socialisation is highly recommended. The Rough Collie will thrive in all environments, as long as they are allowed to stretch their legs in the yard or for a long walk in the park!
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Temperament: Active, Intelligent and Loyal
Originating in Pembrokeshire in Wales the Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi has an interesting story. According to folklore, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi sprang from the lairs of elves and fairies! The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was originally bred to herd cattle, horses and sheep. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a very active and intelligent dog breed who are easy to train and even more eager to learn. Which is just a few of the reasons they are one of our favourite medium sized dog breeds!
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a very vocal dog breed and they have a tendency to bark at anything and everything!
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known to be prone to overeating so please keep them on a healthy diet and take them out for daily exercise. Despite their small frame, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi loves running in the park or in the yard due to their history as a herding dog (and one of our favorite herding dog breeds too!)
Temperament: Intelligent, Obedient and Protective.
The German Shepherd was originally bred as a working dog breed. The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent dog breeds which means they excel in their ability to follow command and their bravery. Their main mission was to serve and obey their master. The combination of their intelligence and their instinctual willingness to learn and obey makes them one of the most loyal dog breeds in the world as well as one of our favourite working dog breeds. When trained and socialised properly, their stable obedient temperament allows them to bond with all family members as they consider them to be part of their pack. This dog breed is one of the best guarding breeds and they will do anything, even put their lives at risk, to protect their pack. This makes the German Shepherd one of the best dog breeds for protection.
Due to their origins, they need to be kept occupied both mentally and physically therefore they require at least 1-2 hours of exercise per day to ensure they aren’t bored. German Shepherds have a lot of energy and require large amounts of movement everyday to burn their energy!
German Shepherds are double-coated dogs therefore they require regular grooming to keep their coats nice and healthy. Their coat should be brushed regularly as this can alert you to health and skin problems such as hot spots, hair loss or dry skin.
The German Shepherd are also one of our favorite large dog breeds.
Old English Sheepdog
Temperament: Hardworking, Powerful and Sturdy
The Old English Sheepdog are a fun loving and energetic dog breed that is always up for any adventure. They are known for their amazing temperament. The Old English Sheepdog is a very sturdy, hardworking and powerful dog breed, which were some of the reasons they were amazing as drovers, helping farmers drive their cattle and sheep to the market.
The Old English Sheepdog is a very adaptable and versatile dog breed which can thrive in a number of households. Contrary to what you may think, their shaggy coats do not actually shed as much as other dog breeds.
Australian Shepherd Dog
Temperament: Energetic, Intelligent and Hard Working
The Australian Shepherd dog is a strong willed dog breed, that will easily take up the dominate role in the home unless you give them confident leadership. Originally bred as a herding dog they are a loyal companion who will be protective of home and family and weary of strangers. They are known to sound a warning barn if they see or hear anything suspicious. The Australian Shepherd dog is one of our favorite medium dog breeds as well as one of our favorite dog breeds for protection.
They are great around children but beware, due to their origins as a herding dog, they may try and herd the children! Please ensure early you take your Australian Shepherd Dog to training in their youth to avoid this from happening! The Australian Shepherd Dog is one of our favorite herding dog breeds.
Due to their high intelligence and energy, they can be very loud and destructive if they are not getting the mental stimulation and exercise that they crave. The Australian Shepherd Dog needs at least half an hour to an hour of exercise a day, which should be high-energy activities. They will not do well in a small apartments as they need large space to roam around.
Australian Cattle Dog
Temperament: Brave, Obedient and Protective.
Australian Cattle Dogs are a hard working dog breed and they are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They were originally bred by Australian settlers to handle herds of cattle on vast ranches and they are still used to this day. The Australian Cattle dog is known as a “shadow dog” as they show deep loyalty to their owners. The Australian Cattle dog is an extremely protective breed and will go above and beyond for their family. The Australian Cattle dog will run around for hours without tiring, making them one of the most energetic dog breeds in the world.
The Australian Cattle dog are one of the most energetic dog breeds so they can get easily bored if they are not given ample exercise combined with mental stimulation. After all, they are one of the best herding dogs in the world. The Australian Cattle dog needs a regular job or activity to keep them busy and out of trouble! They excel at most dog sports and have a tendency to enjoy learning different tricks and solving puzzles!
The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the longest living dog breeds. They have bags of energy to burn and they will be running around in your lives for up to to 16 years!
Temperament: Affectionate, Alert and Responsive
Originating in the Shetland Islands off the coats of Scotland, the Shetland Sheep dog use to stand guard for farmers, keep out hungry birds and heard sheep out of the farmer’s lands, once the farmers saw how effective the Shetland Sheep Dog was at their jobs they couldn’t help but fall in love with this intelligent dog breed.
Shetland Sheepdogs are loving companions for all members of the family, including the kids, however, they can be reserved around strangers. Their protective nature means they are quick to bark if something is not quite right in their territory.
Shetland Sheepdogs are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and have a strong willingness to please. These traits combined with their outstanding athletic ability mean that the Shetland Sheepdog excels at performance events.
Due to their intelligence, they can quickly become bored if they do not have a job that needs to be done. They thrive on mental stimulation. This level of intelligence, is just one reason as to why they feature on our top herding dog breeds list!
Temperament: Alert, Devoted and Protective
The Belgian Malinois is one of the most active dog breeds. Their origins were to herd sheep, however, their versatile nature means they are often police or protection dogs now. They are a great working dog who is confident and protective in any situation and make excellent watch dogs. They are one of our favorite dogs for protection.
The Belgian Malinois is one of the most energetic dog breeds and is therefore built for action and a leisurely walk will not suffice. They need exercise several times a day, long brisk walks and jogging are the best for the Belgian Malinois. They are an intelligent breed who thrives with some kind of job to do and regular exercise. The Belgian Malinois enjoy regular participation in dog sports. They also require lots of mental stimulation, like tracking and nose work, as they were originally bred to be a herding dog.
Temperament: Affectionate, Fearless and Strong Willed
The Great Pyrenees is very protective of its family and can in some cases be territorial. They will place their pack above everything else, which makes them one of the most loyal dog breeds ever. Sometimes they are reserved with strangers and can be aggressive to animals that do not belong to their pack. The Great Pyrenees can make great family companions due to their loving nature whilst also being gentle and patient with children.
Originally bred to be used as a livestock guardian, they need lots of space to run. Their size alone means they are harder to keep in shape than other dogs. They are one of our favourite working dog breeds as well as one of our favorite herding dog breeds. We recommend at least a good long walk daily to keep them in shape as well as a healthy balanced diet.
Grooming a Great Pyrenees can be a lot of work due to their size and their thick coats. The coats need to be maintained regularly.
Is your dog breed featured in our “Top 10 Herding Dog Breeds for Active Families” list? Let us know in the comment section below.
Many of these dogs also feature in our other posts so why not read them below!