Herding & Farm Dog
The Collie breed began as a working dog, herding sheep and assisting farmers in whatever task was needed. Able to adapt and learn, Collies were valuable because of their versatility in herding various types of livestock whether in the field, or on the road driving animals to market. Life on a farm also meant protecting the stock and the Collie’s family.
As the popularity of Collies increased in the early 1900’s, they became a family dog in urban areas, due in large part to the Collie’s heritage of loyalty, sound body, and intelligence. While most Collies no longer live on a farm, their instincts for herding are still strong.
One of many modern canine sports, herding tests and trials allow Collies and their handlers to participate in the Collie’s heritage. Herding challenges the dog to be guided by the handler while also using his own judgment in maneuvering the animals being herded.
Organizations that offer herding programs, have both tests and trials. While the herding instinct is part of the Collie breed, the instinct is stronger in some more than others. Exposure to livestock for the first time in a controlled testing situation demonstrates the individual dog’s instinctive herding skills.
Herding trials are competitive events which test the dog’s control and movement of livestock in specific situations. It is also a test of the teamwork between the handler and the dog.
Don’t want to try herding, but would like to see how your Collie reacts to farm life – sign up for the AKC Farm Dog Certified test! The test involves a series of 12 exercises which put the dog in typical farm situations. Proximity to livestock, jumping on hay/straw bales, uneven terrain, and jumping over logs are some of the exercises which test the dog’s self control, confidence and relationship with his handler.
For more information:
Herding – American Kennel Club
Hooked on Herding – American Kennel Club (video)
Herding – Collie Club of America
Herding with Rough Collies – Dogumentary TV (video)
Farm Dog Certified Test – American Kennel Club
About the Farm Dog Certified Test – American Kennel Club (video)