Promoting responsible German Shepherd Dog ownership
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If I had space to work them- I'd want them too! They've just joined the list.
I've never heard of German Shepherds being used to herd cattle. Was that their original function?
Yes, they are a herding breed. That is their original purpose. Sheep and cattle.
Are they still used for that in Germany or anywhere else, or did their guarding function take precedence?
They are used for both, but much less for herding since there aren’t as many small sheep farms or cattle ranches. A herding dog must gather and drive animals. Those are two different skills. This article explains herding better than I can.
They don’t gather anymore. This Leerburg is even better.
Thanks. That was very informative. I'll add it to my German Shepherd Factbook!
I had an idaho shag pup very temporarily. Wasn't super impressed personally, he was cute enough but nothing I'd want unless I was out on a ranch needing a herding dog. The people told me he'd be good for what I wanted but was very obvious pretty quick he wasn't going to fit at all. I've heard some good things about them but think like some other breeds they'd do better to stay as a ranch dog that herds. With some of those dog breeds depending on the breeding they just aren't really satisfied with town living even when doing agility and such. Of course individual mileage may vary but out here there are a lot of puppies sold to working homes only for very good reason, and working homes do not include agility and sports. One of my friends she has done a ton with her heeler and thankfully he's old enough now he's starting to mellow a little. But she really wished she was able to work him in herding because he just wasn't satisfied with everything she did with him. (She grew up on a ranch but had to move to live into town for college and got the breeds she was used owing. Her female does well but she did feel like she let the heeler down.)
Also Sol, not sure if you're joking but depending on the person/area you get the heeler from they aren't just a GSD in a smaller dapple coat. They may share some traits but a lot of them have a straight mean streak and not just like the aggression that people say should be in shepherds. I do know of one person that his dogs, well ranchers don't buy from him but people all over the country wanting a pet heeler do. They like them well enough and from what I've heard his dogs are pretty mellow and seem to have a lot of what I associate with heelers bred out of them. They might be a bit closer to GSDs. Have you looked at or heard of english shepherds at all? From what I've heard of them they seem a lot more similar to GSDs traitwise. I was really looking into them and found two breeders that had what I wanted. But neither would work out for getting a puppy when I had time to get one.
It’s a designer dog and there are always unwanted side effects. Labradoodles are Labs mixed with Poodle and they are wild. I don’t know anyone who got one who was prepared for their high energy levels.