German Shepherds on Sheep

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Dizzy, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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  2. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    GSDs are herders, so yah, I've heard it before quite a bit
     
  3. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    They are herding dogs. Though he's never been tested, AJ appears to have herding instinct if his reaction to the chickens is any indication. His breeder does herding instinct tests on most of her dogs, and most if not all of them have turned out to have herding instinct.
     
  4. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    I am aware they are herders - the name is a bit of a give away :p

    How many are used for purpose though??? Similar to the corgi question.
     
  5. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    Not many because not many have sheep. The type of herding they do is different from the type of herding most offered as something to do.
     
  6. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    We have a few locally that work sheep.

    I doubt they're used a lot for "real, can't get by without you" work but I have seen them used for fun a fair amount at HICs and out on my coworkers field. I'll check her FB for photos.

    I've found it's harder to find someone who'll allow malinois on stock than gsds.
     
  7. OutlineACDs

    OutlineACDs Crazy Dog!

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    My understanding was the GSD was developed as a herder, but for the most part was more of a "moving fence" if you will. The supposed reasoning behind the big stride in the GSD is that they were expected to move back and forth around the perimeter of the herd to keep them contained.
     
  8. Keechak

    Keechak Aussie Obssessed

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    There is a woman at our local ASCA trials that trials her GSD's on sheep
     
  9. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    not the question you asked, but the ONLY truly ranch GSD i have ever seen was owned by a great uncle and it worked cattle along w/ a BC. all others i've ever heard of were trial dogs.
     
  10. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    The type of herding GSDs were bred for is not at all being a "ranch dog". There's very few opportunities to work GSDs the way they are really supposed to be worked, let alone opportunities for them to be "real working dogs". Most herding trials are pretty far removed from what GSDs were developed for as well and tend to be more modeled after BC style herding, except for the HGH which is recognized as a working title for breeding purposes by the SV.

    AFAIK this is the only place in the US that offers HGH herding trials and that does the style of herding GSDs were bred for: http://www.whitecloversheepfarm.com/sh-kennel.htm

    From the above website:


    "To understand the idea of tending sheep in Germany one needs to know the sheep farming system in this country. The flocks are large (800 to 1200 sheep) and are usually not kept in fenced pastures.

    A shepherd tends the livestock in open grazes. Those pastures are often beside fields with crops. To keep the sheep in the pastures and out of the crops, dogs are used. The dogs which are preferred for this work are those that stay on the borders (the natural line of definition) between what is a field with crops and what is pasture for the sheep and that work there independently and patrol these borders.

    When the graze is eaten down the shepherd leads the sheep to the next pasture. This is very often done on roads and farm roads and pastures are often several miles apart. The grazes are often public areas where there is an interest to keep the landscape open and keep it from overgrowing. It is called landscape care.

    Another reason for using tending dogs is the transhumance system. That means, the flocks of sheep graze in the hills during the summer and in the milder valleys in the winter. In the fall, on their way down to the valley or in the spring, going up to the mountains, harvested fields, including hay fields are used to feed the sheep. This journey is done every year by foot. The distance may range from approximately 20 miles up to 100 miles."


    And this is a really interesting article about what GSDs are supposed to be in terms of a herding dog:

    http://www.german-shepherdherding.com/german-shepherd-herding/
     
  11. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    sheep were not the only stock GSDs were used on. in fact as late as the 1930s GSDs used for hogs had their tails docked. so i'm not sure how the dog worked cattle as compared to how germans used them to work cattle. but he did a fine job filling in the cur dog role.
     
  12. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    This has always been my understanding as well, from talking with GSD owners who also participated in the same herding circles I ran in. They are definitely neat dogs to watch work!
     
  13. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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  14. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    Judge is hard on sheep but amazing on cattle. I work him on cattle when I can and it is so much fun!
     
  15. cliffdog

    cliffdog New Member

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    I commented how GSDs are not used as shepherd dogs anymore on another thread and a few people told me I was wrong. So I did some googling and I found this article really interesting:
    http://www.german-shepherdherding.com/from-hgh-to-schutzhund/

    Apparently there are still GSDs who herd and apparently Schutzhund does help preserve, to some extent, that instinct.

    (That's why I love being wrong sometimes- always an opportunity to learn something. :))
     
  16. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    Judge's nephew is a working Ranch Dog. He lives on a lot of acerage and helps his owners move their cattle ..mainly the bulls from what I understand from emails. Very neat tto watch him. He is really amazing to watch as he herds all their stock,alpacas,ducks,sheep,llamas etc. I'd definitely say that his instinct was nurtured from a puppy and thus he is far better at it than the other GSDs I have seen try it.
     
  17. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I haven't researched GSD herding style because they're not my breed, but knowing they're a "moving fence" makes a TON of sense. When he's out with the chickens, AJ will NOT allow them near the fence and his style is totally different from Logan's style. Unless he's actually IN with the chickens working, Logan will stand nose-to-beak with the chickens right at the fence. When he's in the chicken run he's definitely in to move them around. AJ never even cares to enter the chicken run, he's content to stay outside and make sure they don't pop out through the gate (and he's good at it).
     
  18. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    GSDs have certainly been a multi-purpose dog throughout history. So yes, you will find that they've been used on cattle. Also a good number of people have hunted with the breed and I'm sure some still do. But the job they were created for was tending huge flocks of sheep and protection.
     
  19. monkeys23

    monkeys23 New Member

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    Lily is only half, but her herding drive sure as hell didn't come from the Sibe half of her LOL. It was pretty apparent when she circled up the dry ewes and was like okay, now what?

    I don't herd with her because 1. the way my stepdad runs stuff is always a fubar and I don't want my dog ruined because of what other people are doing when we're moving animals, and 2. I couldn't afford to keep doing herding lessons after I took Scout in.

    It would be so fun to herd cows with a GSD!
     
  20. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Bimmer was great working the cattle on the farm, especially when it came to moving them into the barn. He did everything calmly and quietly, no fuss, no bother, very businesslike.

    I didn't even have to go with him a lot of the time, I could just tell him to go check and see if there were any cows in the barn (when there was hay stored in there) or out of the pasture. He'd go take care of it. He'd even go to check during the day without me asking.

    The Filas picked up that habit from him.

    They have their own herding style though, lol. NOT easy going.
     

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