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Old 11-20-2012, 10:53 AM
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meepitsmeagan meepitsmeagan is offline
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Default Working Styles in Herding Breeds.

I find that one thing that is really beginning to sway my decision in my next breed is working style.

I really prefer a dog who is "hands off" until they need to get involved, not nit-picking and riling a herd up more than it needs to to find "perfection". I also prefer a low working dog. This is one of the things I LOVE about ACD's. I love watching them work cattle. I could watch all day.

BC's I find are a little too obsessed with the "perfection" for me. I also don't care for their softer personality.

Koolies. How do they work?! I've read they are a more upward worker. Are they barking constantly at the stock? If anyone knows, please enlighten me. SaraB... is Zinga still going to lessons? If so, how is her working style, if you don't mind me asking?

Then there are the "All Arounders". Aussies and ES. I've honestly not looked much into their working style. Are they typically low workers as well? For those of you who work them, do you find that they work better, the same, worse as those who are bred to just work stock? Loudness?
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:54 PM
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An English Shepherd should be a quiet, upright worker with a loose eye. They are meant to be able to work in close contact with stock, sometimes in an enclosed area, without making them panic-y or flighty. Because of their bit of guardian instinct they shouldn't WANT to get in there and rile up a herd they've been raised with.

Now, that doesn't mean they should be able to get gritty with a cow, as they're the kind of dog that should be able to work different stock and adjust their technique accordingly. Here is the same dog on cattle and on ducks.



You will find some variety in the breed, though. Quinn has a VERY high herding drive and becomes a very hard dog (I don't think I could shut her down if I tried) with sheep in front of her. She is absolutely silent (typical of her) when she works. She's a very fast dog so the sheep usually respond well enough to that, but she will nip sometimes so I think that would be her first resort if she were to encounter a tougher crowd (rather than bark). Our trainer really likes her and thinks she has a lot of potential and could move up the levels - but it will be a process! The other ES we herd with is much softer, gentler, and will bark a bit. She's probably more typical. She is also more advanced - we do think that Quinn's speed is largely insecurity as at times she feels she can't control the sheep (and she is a control freak).

There are some videos on youtube. You'll find some dogs who trial and work at home, and some dogs who are more chore dogs and most of their education is through instinct and learning the desired routine. The dog I posted above is Peaslee's Honey, who has a few videos of her working cattle and sheep.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:10 PM
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What great photos!

Despite the overwhelming popularity of BCs where I live, I mesh much better working with shepherdy type dogs and they are definitely a very different type of herding drive. Erm we knew Lily had herding drive when she cirled up the dry ewes and went, "Now what?" LOL

I know someone who has a Kelpie and a McNab (and two spayed working mix girls from her old McNab boy and Jazzy the Kelpie). I really have enjoyed watching their dogs work cattle. They run about 120 head of cattle and raise working QH's, so the dogs do work around home as well as helping when they ride range when the cows are out grazing the forest in the summer. They have dang nice dogs. Also would like to add that all the other pups from the two litters Jaz had went to working ranch homes.

Anywho those are really the only herders I've had experience with outside BC's, ACD's, Aussies, and mixes therof.

I'd very much like to do herding with my next dog.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:19 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "low" working dog do you mean a dog that will go to heel?
An Aussie is a loose eye, close contact herding dog. They like ES, they need to have the versatility to grip a fussy steer or walk calmly and silently next to a flock of ducks.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:54 PM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meepitsmeagan View Post
Koolies. How do they work?! I've read they are a more upward worker. Are they barking constantly at the stock? If anyone knows, please enlighten me. SaraB... is Zinga still going to lessons? If so, how is her working style, if you don't mind me asking?
Koolies bark. All the time. So yes, I can imagine they are a barky worker.

Zinga is on a break from lessons until she grows a brain, but she was very pushy, very in their face when she was engaged. And barky.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
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Zinga is on a break from lessons until she grows a brain, but she was very pushy, very in their face when she was engaged. And barky.
She sounds like Rory when he was younger

Rory definitely is not a soft dog, nor is he obsessed with perfection. He is stalky and stares, though
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:26 PM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Originally Posted by ~Jessie~ View Post
She sounds like Rory when he was younger

Rory definitely is not a soft dog, nor is he obsessed with perfection. He is stalky and stares, though
I refuse to believe that he doesn't bark.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:29 PM
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I refuse to believe that he doesn't bark.
Oh god. His bark. He loves to hear himself.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:39 PM
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Not much to really add on other breeds, but Ma'ii, my ACD, use to work cattle back in his previous home. His old owner had sent me a video of Ma'ii in his younger years up on their ranch with the cattle, and it was AWESOME! Love watching ACDs herd <3
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:51 PM
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Just on a side note...I was unsuccessful in finding a trainer that would work with an ACD on sheep. I'm a little uncomfortable with cattle, and don't just want to turn him out with them without knowing what he will be like. The herding people here think ACDs will tear up sheep/ducks...
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