The History of Herding
Herding has been around for a very long time! At first, man learned that he could form a friendship with the dog’s ancestor and teach it to hunt for him. As time went by the dog’s natural hunting instinct was continuously molded and developed through selective breeding to create the perfect working dog that could be used by managing stock rather than hunting it. The breeds were developed for specific farm work, terrains, trainability, stamina, strength, etc. based off of the geographic location and physical needs of the farmers. This explains why you can find a wide variety of herding breeds worldwide. Herding dogs are known for helping its master fetch or move (drive) a massive group of stock (sheep, cattle, fowl, etc.) from one grazing area to another. Alternatively, the dogs would also move around the perimeter of a grazing area with the animals in the center like a living fence…all day long.
As herding breeds became more popular, humans started taking interest in the capabilities of their dogs and competing to see which was the best. Farmers started getting together every year to see whose dog could do the farm chores the best. Whoever had the best trained dog that year won bragging rights and their dog became the upcoming sire/bitch that everyone wanted. These meet ups were what paved the way for future herding competitions and so much more! Better dogs were being produced, the farming life became so much easier with a well-trained dog and the farmer gained a four-legged friend that would be forever loyal to them.
Herding is still very much alive and has continued to grow throughout the years, grabbing the interests of people who have dog-less farms that wish to have loyal and reliable help. Dog owners seeking to provide mental and physical enrichment to owned dogs that were originally bred to work livestock all day. Then of course, holding the attention of the many competitive sport people who still wish to see who has the best chore dog!