Shepherd dog breeds are one of the oldest category of working dogs. They were developed to help shepherds with their flock. As a result of the type of job they were meant to do, shepherd dogs were bred to be highly intelligent, and physically capable. These traits make them some of the most popular breeds around the world.
Shepherd dogs, also known as sheep dogs, come in two distinct varieties: herding dogs, and livestock guardian dogs. Herding dogs are used to help herd livestock, while guardians are meant to protect the herd from predators such as wolves and coyotes. The two major kennel clubs in the world, the British Kennel Club and American Kennel Club categorize the breeds somewhat differently. The British Kennel Club categorizes both the herding and guardian breeds under the Pastoral Group, while the American Kennel Club has the Herding Group for herding dogs, and the Working Group for livestock guardians.
German Shepherd: One of the most well-known, and popular dog breeds anywhere in the world, the German Shepherd is a highly prized guardian dog, for both the field and property. They also make great family pets as long as they get plenty of exercise.
Belgian Malinois: Originally developed as a guardian dog, the Malinois is today mostly used as a guardian, as well as explosive and narcotic detection, and police work. They are highly trainable, and often compete in agility competitions.
Belgian Tervuren: Named after a village in Belgium, the Tervuren is a medium-sized dog with lots of energy and require to be kept busy to satisfy their need to expend the great amount of energy that they possess.
Bohemian Shepherd: Also known as the Chodenhun, the Bohemian Shepherd is currently not recognized by any major international club.
Dutch Shepherd: Hailing from the Netherlands, the Dutch Shepherd is a versatile farm dog that is highly reliable, active, intelligent, and also independent, so it can be difficult to train and requires an experienced owner.
Caucasian Shepherd: Also known as the Caucasian Ovcharka, the breed originates from the Caucuses, and is known for its large size, loyalty, and bravery. They require an extremely capable trainer, and are not recommended for casual owners who would simply like a companion dog.
Border Collie: Another well-known breed of dog is the Border Collie which can often be seen appearing and almost just as often winning agility competitions. They are very intelligent and can learn quickly, and follow verbal directions and physical signals extremely well.
Australian Shepherd: A medium-sized dog, the Australian Shepherd (despite its name) hails from the United States, and was seen as early as the 19th century. They are very intelligent, and another big contender in agility competitions.
Shetland Sheepdog: Lovingly called the Sheltie (pictured), hailing from Scotland, the Shetland Sheepdog is a intelligent, vocal, and fully of energy, and requires activities to keep it busy. It is one of the most intelligent dog breeds, and studies have shown that it can learn a command in five repetitions.