With their excellent perception, sense of smell and hearing, dogs are still indispensable helpers in many job segments. They not only support the humans as herding or rescue dogs in their daily work, but also help impaired or needy persons to achieve more quality of life.

German shepherds are distinguished for their great learning facility, their grand ability to handle stress in physical or mental stress situations, their endurance, speed and reliability. Therefore, the German Shepherd is predestined for working as a working dog and is worldwide the number one in the service and rescue dog segment.

The German Shepherd Association, in collaboration with the responsible authorities, has already awarded many thousands of German Shepherds with the “badge for successful deployment” (see below).

This success is contributed not least to the breeding of Shepherds (as service dog breeding), which puts a big emphasis on the maintenance of service performance and the special capabilities of the German Shepherd.

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.