Back in the good old times, dogs weren’t only our pets. They were working parts of the family that cared for livestock, protected their owner’s property, and farms were never without their sheep dog. But we have come so far since the Old English Sheepdogs. There are so many other dog breeds now available, and choosing one can be so overwhelming.
We suppose you already decided you want a Shepherd dog, but you just don’t know which one to get. Should you go for the good old German Shepherd, or maybe the rare Briard? The truth is that only you know the answer to that question. However, we will try to make it easier for you by going over the characteristics of the most popular Shepherd dog breeds.
Let’s start with the king of all sheep dogs: The German Shepherd. All of us have heard of him, and we all know that these dogs are highly intelligent, loyal, and obedient. But there is so much more that makes the GSD as special as he is.
These dogs are much more than pets, they have taken the role of heroes and unbeatable police dogs. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, German Shepherds served as the search and rescue dogs, prowling through the rubble of the World Trade Center in search of survivors and sobbing with rescuers’ families.
The temperament of a German Shepherd is distant but not typically hostile. They are reticent dogs who take time to form relationships, but once they do, they are fiercely devoted. They are laid-back and personable around their family but may become fierce and protective when they feel threatened, making them excellent watchdogs.
German Shepherds make excellent companions for children if they are well-trained and have spent a lot of time with kids, especially as puppies. Some even compare them to a cross between a babysitter and a police officer since they are both kind to and protective of the kids in their household.
However, because of its size, this dog could accidentally knock a toddler or young child. Due to their reserved character, they don’t immediately become friendly with children they don’t know, but they are normally trustworthy.
If you spend a lot of time away from home, especially for extended periods of time, the German Shepherd is not the breed for you. They may get bored or anxious when left alone, and they may exhibit their boredom or anxiety in ways you don’t enjoy, such barking, gnawing, or digging.
The next sheep dog we want to talk about is often confused with the classic GSD. A Belgian Malinois and a German shepherd look very similar to the inexperienced eye. Both dogs are purebred, recognized by the American Kennel Club and almost identical in size and weight.
These dogs make intense, sharp-witted, and athletic friends when handled by an expert dog person. They would not do as well in apartments or limited living spaces, though, given their high activity and exercise requirements. A first-time dog owner is unlikely to tolerate this breed. But with strict, persistent training and lots of mental and physical exercise, these puppies will be devoted and affectionate for the rest of their lives.
Malinois are sometimes mistaken for German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) by those who are unfamiliar with them, yet the two breeds differ greatly in terms of temperament and physical type. Malinois are smaller dogs with lighter bones. They have a square body profile because they stand with their weight firmly planted on their toes.
Due of their high level of energy and intelligence, Mals need a lot of daily mental and physical stimulation. If not appropriately channeled, their desire and limitless energy might become a problem. For many years, Malinois have been a great choice for bomb and narcotics detection, tracking, and search and rescue dogs.
The Belgian Malinois breed is a favorite among working dogs for a reason. There isn’t much this dog can’t achieve with his lean, powerful body and self-assured attitude. He is an intense dog, while being lovely, sensitive, and utterly devoted, and will function best in a home with an experienced dog owner.
Initially thought to as a little Collie, the Sheltie was first documented in England and Scotland in the early 1800s. In order to market their miniature Shelties to tourists, farmers on the Shetland Islands started breeding them in order to make them even smaller and fluffier. Many Pomeranian dogs that visitors abandoned on the island as well as a Prince Charles Spaniel have been implicated in the crossbreeding.
Shelties appreciate their owners and should be kept indoors with them as family members despite the fact that they were bred to withstand harsh weather.
Even though they are somewhat sedentary inside, Shelties were designed to be working farm dogs and need a lot of exercise. They enjoy playing catch with the kids, going for walks, and galloping around the dining room table. After that, they will help you secure the sofa.
Shelties can live in apartments due to their small size provided their owners are committed to taking them on daily walks and engaging in play with them as well as teaching them to stop barking too much.
Shelties are a great choice for a working person because, as long as they receive their fair share of care while their owners are there, they can contentedly be at home alone.
The Sheltie’s long coat will need proper grooming. They are not a low-maintenance breed, so be prepared for a lot of shedding. But the good thing is that they come in many different breed colors, and all of them have their signature white markings. They look like true showdogs, with their fluffy tails and vibrant eyes. Yet they are still working dogs that people can rely on.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a historic breed that was created by shepherds as a herding and security dog. The intelligent breed is today regarded as a sociable and amiable companion and show dog. They are most known for their distinctive matted, mop-like hair.
This friendly breed enjoys forming strong relationships with large groups of people, which makes it an excellent choice for households with many members. The Bergamasco Sheepdog may survive in almost any environment as long as they have an engaged companion. And despite how it appears, the Bergamasco’s renowned coat requires little maintenance.
Many people like Bergamasco Sheepdogs because of their calm, gentle, and frequently intuitive attitudes in addition to their distinctive matted coats. Bergamaschi were wonderful companions because they were shepherds in the Alps and knew when to follow their humans and when to act independently.
Bergamascho Sheepdogs today live more tamed lives and are excellent family pets for kids because of their intelligence and instincts for herding. Due to their temperament, Bergamasco Sheepdogs are wonderful therapy dogs for both children and adults.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog flourishes in a setting where they have room to go around, such a house with a yard, because they are herding dogs. They don’t have as much energy as other herding dogs, though, and with the right amount of exercise and stimulation, they’ll thrive in an apartment too.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog has a touch of a rebellious spirit and likes to do things their own way, despite how anxious they are to please their owner. Training that is consistent and strict will assist control any undesirable behaviors.
Belgian Sheepdogs are attentive, loyal, and guardians. They can be wonderful family companions because they are also quite affectionate and sensitive. However, they do require a lot of physical activity and mental challenge to remain content. A dog that is bored out of its mind might become destructive very quickly.
As these puppies have an inclination to pursue just about anything that moves, whether it’s a passing cyclist or a stray squirrel, they require space to run around and a yard that is securely fenced. You’ll be rewarded with a devoted, furry family member if you have the stamina to keep up with this pup.
The Belgian Sheepdog is a working breed that need a job to do; he is not a breed that enjoys lounging about the home. Herding dogs, like the Belgian Sheepdog, are programmed to follow a flock of sheep around all day. Simply because they now reside in a family environment, that instinct does not vanish. He will require at least an hour of daily activity.
Because of its high intelligence and craving for variety, the Belgian Sheepdog never gets bored. He’s not a wise choice if you work long hours and can’t take your dog for a walk throughout the day. If he’s left to his own devices, he’s likely to develop separation anxiety or come up with his own entertainment, which is usually something you won’t enjoy and will cost money to fix.
Homes with fenced yards are better for them. Belgian Sheepdogs are chasers because of their herding ancestry; if they are not contained by a fence, they will go after automobiles, bicycles, and joggers.
Briard Dog Breed
If you’re searching for a loving but not overly dependent dog, the Briard is a great option. He is a member of the herding group and weighs around 75 pounds. As long as he is with his family and receives enough exercise, he can live happily in either the city or the country.
Briards are intelligent dogs that pick up training quickly, but they can also be headstrong and difficult. Dogs will likely try to take over if owners are not prepared to establish pack leadership from a young age.
The Briard makes an excellent guard dog because of his distrust of strangers, and he is constantly prepared to defend his family and area if danger arises. However, with the correct instruction and socialization, you may teach him to be more hospitable to strangers. A Briard puppy should be introduced to a range of new people, locations, and circumstances during his first year of life.
It’s doubtful that you’ve ever encountered a Briard in your neighborhood dog park because they are a rare breed in America. This breed originated in northern France and is related to the region that produces the delightfully creamy Brie cheese.
Briards are renowned for their courage, fidelity, and wit. He is kind and affectionate around his family and takes pleasure in doing things with them. He is essentially a housedog despite his massive size.
Not exactly a breed that requires little upkeep. Daily grooming is required for the Briard. His coat is considered to be low- to non-shedding, yet it readily tangles and mats. If you don’t have the time or patience for grooming, think about a different breed.
White Swiss Shepherd Dog
The White Shepherd is a young dog breed developed from the German Shepherd. It is also known as the White Swiss Shepherd dog or Berger Blanc Suisse. It shares the same fantastic traits as the German Shepherd, with the exception of the white hue.
He is family-friendly, smart, and athletic. He is a true workaholic who enjoys the outdoors and running, as befits a true German Shepherd.
Due to its origin, there are obvious similarities between the appearance, particularly the body form, and the German Shepherd. The Berger Blanc Suisse is a medium-sized to large dog with white fur. There are both varieties with long and stick-like hair. It has a powerful build.
The White Shepherd is a representation of the ideal human friend and companion. He can win points with his outstanding performance and excellent work ethic, much like the German Shepherd can. It is ideal for difficult exercises or team sports given the dog’s remarkable intellect.
He would make a great family dog. This dog cherishes the safety of his family and his fellow humans. He consistently exhibits great social graces in both public and private settings when taught correctly.
The Alabai dog may be better known as the Central Asian Shepherd dog. Considering its size and body, a Central Asian Shepherd is spectacular. The dogs are from Central Asia and were housed as working animals. The vast distribution area accounts for the dogs’ frequent differences in the look. The nature of the various categories can change as well.
In comparison to those from mountainous areas, the CAS from desert areas is lighter. He has a longer, leaner frame. Its body form is also primarily rectangular. Dogs from mountainous areas, on the other hand, tend to be quite large, with a broad physique and a compact body form. The changes between the various categories, however, happen naturally.
Only very skilled dog owners should manage the Central Asian Ovcharka. The training of the occasionally difficult dog takes time, and it must be done consistently. The dogs are stronger than most people because of their strength. Due to dogs’ frequently skeptical and occasionally violent reactions, this might become troublesome.
The dogs are incredibly brave because they were bred to defend against powerful beasts. Even dogs who appear to have been abandoned will charge at a threat without much notice. A loving consequence and a strong sense of self-worth are necessary while dealing with the Central Asian Ovcharka.
This breed was developed in America, despite its name. Australian Shepherds were first bred to herd livestock for ranchers and farmers in the western United States, and some of them still do so today.
The Aussie is a no-nonsense dog who thrives in a home where his intelligence and energy are put to good use. He is intelligent, hardworking, and versatile. Although it doesn’t hurt, you don’t have to raise a flock of sheep if you live with an Aussie, but you do need to keep him occupied. He’s an energetic dog who doesn’t understand the term “couch potato” and wouldn’t like it if he did.
He needs a lot of exercise because he has the energy to burn; a stroll around the neighborhood won’t do, and he needs at least a small yard to help him work off his ya-yas. He is bored, naughty, and loud since he has no work to do. He might even create his own work, such as chasing automobiles or other animals, herding children—yours or the neighbors’—chasing children, or tearing your house up. The Aussie is not the breed for you if you don’t have the time or energy to teach and exercise him every day.
His background as a working dog makes him a devoted friend who can be guarding of his house and family while remaining distant with outsiders. He gets along with children, though until you teach him otherwise, he’ll probably try to “herd” them.
Life is an adventure with the Aussie. He will labor and play from dawn till dusk and win your heart with his devoted and compassionate nature. This adaptable breed is a great family pet and working dog, but only if the household is as active as he is.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Originally from Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a strong, huge dog that is incredibly sturdy. These canines can herd animals, drive carts, and keep them safe from harm. Berners are very kind and loving.
Berners are gentle giants among canines. They are kind, understanding, collected, and smart. The typical Bernese Mountain Dog is aggressively protective. Around strangers, other dogs, and animals in general, Berners can be timid and reticent. Because of this, it’s crucial to work on early socialization and expose your puppy to new dogs, people, and animals.
The Berner is a quiet but social breed that can occasionally act silly when playing with family. They get along well with both kids and adults of all ages, but they aren’t a good fit for individuals who live in apartments or don’t have a big, fenced-in yard for them to play in. Instead of being confined to an outdoor kennel, the Berner deserves to live with its family. When they can take part in all family activities, they are happy.
Although this breed will demonstrate unwavering love and commitment to a knowledgeable pet owner who can match the Bernese’s activity, give free space, maintain up with grooming, and devote time and effort to training. A well-behaved Bernese is a wonderful pet and will adore the entire family. They enjoy spending time with children and, if given enough socialization practice, will even welcome guests into the home.
Which sheep dog breed is the right fit for me?
Now, this is a question that only you know the answer to. We have introduced you to the most popular sheep dog breeds and their main characteristics. However, it’s up to you to decide which breed of dog will become your next furry companion.
You can get additional information on the National Breed Club of these purebred dogs. You will also be able to find the contact info of reputable breeders. No matter which Sheepdog you choose, make sure that you are ready to give them the required commitment. Livestock guardian dogs are not for inexperienced dog owners, and all of them need regular exercise and a lot of training.
These dogs have a low tendency to enjoy relaxing on the couch for the whole weekend, and you really have to enjoy physical activity to thrive with one of these agile dogs. While these dog breeds are different in many ways, all of them need an owner who knows how to be a pack leader. They have a strong herding instinct and sometimes enjoy their owner’s dismay, and you have to know how to deal with it.
It’s easy to see why someone would be interested in adopting a Shepherd dog. These pups are wildly intelligent, make amazing workout buddies and are loyal to their family members. However, there are also many possible downsides and problems that could come your way.
These dogs are prone to many different conditions and health issues such as hip dysplasia, skin problems or bloat. That’s why you should take an important look at the breeder you are buying from. The best thing would be to make sure he can give you the important genetic information about the health conditions your pup may suffer from. Were his parents healthy? Did he get all of the necessary health screenings? Get all the info you need before buying.
They thrive on hard work, and all of them need a lot of exercise, no matter what their weight range may be. You have to be ready to meet your dog’s activity requirements, and give them the additional training they need. When buying, you will also notice differences in the dogs from South America and from parts of Europe.
American dogs are bred to win in show conditions. They have a fluffy coat and modern appearance. When it comes to their European counterparts, dog shows have very little influence. They are just like their great ancestors, who were bred to work for hours under all kinds of weather conditions.