A long tradition: herder, herd and dogs
The herding dog is a herder’s loyal companion, guardian and helper: He wrangles the herd from its pen, keeps it on its course and accompanies it to its pasture. There, he protects the animals from larger predators such as foxes or wolves. Through its speed, endurance and joy for running, the herding dog is right on the spot for runaways and can prevent field damage by the herd, but also separate individual animals from the herd. In the evening, he brings the sheep securely back to their pen.
Training as herding working dog
Nowadays, herding dogs – or also herding working dogs (technical term) – are rarely seen. The number of sheep herds and the need for herding dogs have decreased greatly over the past decades. It is therefore even more important to preserve this valuable feature of the dogs so it does disappear from their genes during breeding.
The German Shepherd Association consciously promotes training for herding dogs, or rather as herding working dogs. The Association’s first big events began as competitions in performance herding, where our members – at that time many herders – could compete together with their dogs. The Association currently continues to organise annual competitions at the federal group level and the federal performance herding (‘Bundesleistungshüten’) to elect the best herding working dog.
Accuracy at herding and penning sheep, the independence operation of the herding dog and the guidance by the herder are graded here.