Pastoral dogs

There are two types of pastoral dog; those that were bred to herd or round up flocks of sheep or cattle, and those that were bred to protect and guard them. Herding dogs were bred to be responsive and sensitive to commands while guarding dogs were bred to be strong and powerful as well as highly protective.

Please note, guarding breeds are less energetic than the herding breeds in the pastoral group. They are also less responsive to commands and have thicker, heavier coats.  A strong guarding instinct means that dogs in this group are naturally highly protective and need to be socialised from an early age and throughout life, in order to prevent over protectiveness and even aggression. Built to fight off predators and threats to sheep and cattle, they are strong and powerful. If you would like a pastoral breed, make sure you understand the differences between the guarding and herding breeds and choose the right one for you.

Pastoral dogs are hardworking and obedient as well as incredibly responsive to commands making them very easy to train. They are highly alert so make wonderful watchdogs. Pastoral dogs are also excellent companion animals, they bond closely with their owners and enjoy plenty of fuss and attention as well as a lot of play, particularly when it involves toys.

There are some cons to owning a pastoral dog however. Their excellent hearing means they can be very sensitive to noise, and may become distressed by loud surroundings or sudden noises. Due to their sensitive nature, pastoral dogs can become nervous and skittish, particularly if they are not well socialised as puppies. Some breeds of pastoral dog may only form a bond with one member of the household. In addition, these dogs needs huge amounts of exercise and physical and mental stimulation, which some people may find draining or too tiring.


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