The cattle industry in the past as well as today would be nothing without the help of man's best friend. Herding dogs are the best known working dogs. These unique dogs have an instinct to herd and with the right training will help a farmer or rancher move his herd without any trouble, as long as the dog is responsive to the ranchers hand signals and whistles. The best way to train a dog is to have it work along side an already experienced dog. They are keen, alert, responsive, and extremely intelligent. Numerous dogs have evolved into just show dogs or pets, but there are a few that are still used on farms and ranches.
Herding dogs go back as far as Bible times. These early dogs were used to keep livestock from wandering away or for guarding the flock from wolves if the rancher had sheep. These dogs grew up with the herd or flock and treated these animals as though they were a part of the pack.
The most notable herding dog is the Collie. These dogs date back to the 19th century, but recent research shows that they were a part of the Roman Invasion. There are numerous names for the Collie such as Coll, Colley, Coally, and Coaly. Don't confuse the working Collie with the exhibition Collie. They are entirely different dogs. These dogs were originally bred to herd and guard the cattle and were first a destroyer not a preserver. These dogs bark and snap but will never bite. They can herd by themselves and where once put out with the herd for months at a time where the rancher left some food, but basically left the dog to fend for himself. If necessary the dog would even fight wild animals. These dogs would bring the herd back to the ranch during the spring months. They are gentle and fearless ...
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...wonder these dogs are recognized as the best known working dogs in the world. The numerous kinds of herding dogs are all hard working and responsive. In present and past lifestyles herding dogs are essential to a successful farm or ranch because they helped the farmer or rancher move the herd or flock with little or no effort on the rancher's part.
Brown, Beth. Dogs. New York: The Lion Press, 1968.
Palmer, Joan. Dog Facts. New York: Dorset Press, 1991.
Poortvliet, Rein. Dogs. New York: Harrry N. Abrams, 1983.
Singer, Marilyn. A Dogs gotta do what a Dogs gotta do. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000.
Smith, Guy N. Sporting and Working Dogs. Surrey, England: Spur Publications, 1979.
The Complete Dog Book. New York: Howell Book House Inc., 1980.
Wilcox, Charlotte. The Collie. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press, 1999.
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