Sheepdog Breeds

Excellent herders and hardworking pets, sheepdog breeds are a true workhorse anywhere they may be. They were originally bred to protect and herd livestock and they are amazing companions, too! No wonder they are among the most popular breeds on the planet.

The Border Collie is not only one of the most diligent pups but also the smartest, making training sessions a breeze. When it comes to loyalty, obedience and strength, German Shepherds won’t disappoint. And speaking of muscles and a solid build, the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog rocks these features without a doubt!

Whether you need a pooch to herd your cattle, or you simply want a pet that’s easy to train, dependable, and absolutely loyal, these sheepdog breeds will never fail to make you fall in love with them over and over.

21. Bearded Collie

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They may be a bit on the boisterous side but no one can deny the fact that Bearded Collies are drop-dead beautiful and charming. These shaggy-coated pups are all-weather canines and can easily get along with kids and adults.

Bearded Collies share some resemblance to the Old English Sheepdog, with their dense and long coats, but Beardies are more on the leaner side. If you lead an uptempo lifestyle, this active pooch is a great companion for you.

20. Beauceron

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With their imposing stature, it is easy to find the Beauceron rather intimidating. But once they have developed a strong bond with you, these pups are actually quite sweet, sensitive and highly affectionate fellows.

Beaucerons and rugged and muscular canines, yet walk in a balanced and graceful manner. These 100-pounder sheepdogs often have dark black coats with a bit of reddish accents that add elegance to these massive pups.

19. Belgian Malinois

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Confident and smart Belgian Malinois are exceptional companions to humans. They are squarely-built with an air of gracefulness in them. Their primary features include a rich fawn or mahogany short coat, as well as their upright black ears.

The Malinois is one of the most obedient sheepdog breeds there are. They do require ample physical activity and human companionship to ensure physical and mental well-being.

18. Lancashire Heeler

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Alert, high-energy, and sociable, the Lancashire Heeler may be a rather small dog but with a big personality. They are also quite sturdy and always game for playtime, adventure, or some quiet moments at home with their favorite human.

These sheepdogs have short, all-weather coats in shades of tan, liver, or black. They were originally bred as a herder, as well as chasing prey such as rodents of all kinds. But today, they are excellent companion dogs with a lot of love to give to their owners.

17. Canaan Dog

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An ancient breed hailing from Israel, the Canaan Dog is one lean, sturdy, and leggy pooch. They are obedient and docile to their family members but aloof and cautious toward strangers. Canaan Dogs are amazing at obedience training, as well as farm work and agility courses.

These adorable sheepdogs have straight and long coats, often rather harsh than smooth. They also come in different colors and a wide range of patterns. With their rugged features, they are a good fit for outdoorsy folks who love physical activities.

16. Hungarian Puli

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The unique-looking Hungarian Puli can never be mistaken for any other breed. They are famous for their profuse and thick cords that add to their extraordinary charm. These cords are dense and wooly, yet waterproof. But one word of advice – great care is required to prevent them from ending up in knots!

While these sheepdogs may be compact pups, they are actually quite strong and powerful. Pulik are also agile and can easily learn tricks to entertain the family.

15. Croatian Sheepdog

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A sweet and affectionate shepherd dog, the Croatian Sheepdog has a lot going for it. They have come a long way since 1374 and have been recognized in 1969 by the FCI. These pups are densely-coated canines, often in shades of black or gray, with a rough and wooly texture.

Croatian Sheepdogs are hardworking creatures. They can easily take on any farm work that requires herding and protecting livestock from wild anima

14. Cumberland Sheepdog

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An extinct sheepdog breed, the Cumberland Sheepdog has a rather interesting history, albeit little information about these canines. They are working dogs with some similarities with the Border Collie when it comes to build and height.

The Cumberland Sheepdog had dark coats with a white-colored tip of the tail. These pups are noted for their expressive eyes and alertness, which makes them perfect for their herding duties.

13. Icelandic Sheepdog

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A charming spitz-type dog breed, the beautiful Icelandic Sheepdog is a sight to behold. They have adorable foxy faces, bushy and curling tails, and upright ears. These are medium-sized dogs that barely stand taller than 18 inches.

Eager and active, these lovable pups are always ready to spend time with their owners. Their coats come in different colors but always in combination with white markings. If you look for a loyal, compact, spitz-type dog, this fellow is for you.

12. Carpathian Sheepdog

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The Carpathian Sheepdog has some similarities with other sheepdog breeds from Romania including the Mioritic and Bucovina breeds. They are large and strong creatures with wolf-like features.

These pooches have double coats with the outer being coarse while the inner is softer and denser. Their signature colors are similar to a wolf’s coat pattern and in shades of fawn, gray with white markings.

11. Catalan Sheepdog

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Well-balanced and sturdy, the mighty Catalan Sheepdog is noted for its rectilinear outline, short neck, and strongly-muscled body. They have dark eyes and triangular ears with rather thick moustaches and eyebrows.

Catalan Sheepdogs are often in shades of black, gray, and red, as well as white. Their coats may either be flat or wavy, yet often long and dense. These canines are alert and always ready to protect livestock from wild predators.

10. Old English Sheepdog

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Also known as Bobtail Dog, the Old English Sheepdog has its signature peek-a-boo hairstyle and shaggy coat that covers its big and powerful body. They are medium-sized canines with a big rump and stand up to 22 inches tall.

Although their movement may seem more of a shuffle than an elegant gait, they are quite nimble. These densely-coated pups are well-loved for their intelligence, courage, and lovable personality – key features of an amazing house dog.

9. Polish Lowland Sheepdog

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While the Polish Lowland Sheepdog may not be large dogs, they are muscular and sturdy. These are your confident and hardworking herder with a stubborn streak. Training may be a bit of a challenging situation, yet they are always eager to please their owners.

Their coats are long, thick, and soft, and come in a wide range of colors. Although their eyes are not quite visible because of their long fringes, their peepers often convey a penetrating and keen gaze typical among sheepdog breeds.

8. Pyrenean Shepherd

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Smart and with a hint of mischief, the Pyrenean Shepherd, fondly called the Pyr, is an ancient herding dog for flocks of sheeps. They hail from the majestic Pyrenees mountains and may either have rough or smooth coats.

They are lively and lean four-legged sheepdogs that can herd and work for hours. Their facial hair is often short to show their pointy and long muzzle. Pyrs have beautiful almond-shaped, dark-colored eyes with a familiar cunning and watchful expression.

7. Šarplaninac

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Strong and sturdy, the coarse-coated Šarplaninac is a massive, robust canine and goes by another name, the Illyrian Shepherd Dog. Their coats are profusely thick and shaggy with a rough texture. They can grow up to 24 inches tall and weigh as much as 99 lbs.

Occasionally misspelled as Šarplaninec, this sheepdog breed’s hallmark is its long body and dark overalls on the back and the head with a paler shade on the undercoat. They are solid-colored dogs typically in shades of iron gray, fawn, black, and rarely with white patches.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

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Fondly called the Sheltie, the agile and relatively small Shetland Sheepdog barely stands taller than 16 inches. They almost look like a miniature rough-coated Collie because of their wedge-shaped head, erect ears, and harsh long coats in three colors.

With their intelligence and obedience, Shelties are easy to train and excel in agility courses. They can be quite vocal, however, which are key qualities of an amazing watchdog.

5. Tornjak

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Powerful and agile, Tornjaks have well-proportioned and sturdy bodies exuding an air of confidence and grace. These are calm dogs with a serious expression in their eyes. The coat is quite dense, and they have feathered tails that appear like a waving flag as these canines walk.

Generally, these sheepdogs are parti-colored, dominated by white markings. They may also have different patches of colors all around adding to their appearance.

4. Welsh Sheepdog

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Next up in our list of Sheepdog breeds is the lovable Welsh Sheepdog. They are working dogs with a knack for herding and protecting livestock. Their coats may either be long or short and in shades of black and white, tricolor or with merle markings.

These pooches are more loosely-eyed instead of with a fixed and penetrating gaze like a Border Collie. However, they are great watchdogs and independent workers that can do the job without much human supervision.

3. Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog

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Well-known for its muscular body and dense coat, the Maremmano is a massive sheepdog that can weigh over 100 lbs. They often have a distinct thick collar of fur around the neck that complement their dense and long coats.

Excellent in herding, you can count on this dog’s ability to watch over cattle tirelessly. They can be a bit challenging to train because of their slightly stubborn nature. Thus, these dogs are better off with experienced owners.

2. German Shepherd

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An all-purpose working dog, the German Shepherd is an intelligent, fearless, and loyal pup. They have graceful and smooth curves all over instead of angular. Their trademark colors include black, red or gray.

GSDs may appear intimidating but they are indeed gentle and loving family pets. Towards strangers, however, they are cautious and wary. This is why these sheepdogs are exceptional family pets.

1. Border Collie

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Notable for its smarts and obedience, the athletic Border Collie is ready to do the job anytime. They have a “herding eye”, which basically means an intense and intelligent gaze. Their coats are in various shades and patterns.

Highly sociable to their family but aloof with strangers, you can count on a Border Collie’s impeccable ability as a herder and a watchdog. These sheepdogs do need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them in perfect shape.

What Makes A Good Sheepdog? A good sheepdog possesses alertness and a natural protective instinct. It is patient and a quick-learner that can easily be trained to perform the tasks at hand.

How Long Does It Take To Train A Sheepdog? Generally, sheepdogs are easy to train. Most trainers find it easy to train these dogs in the countryside and the training process can take up to 6 months. Others, however, may take longer to be trained.

Do Sheep Dogs Bite The Sheep? Typically, sheepdogs nip a sheep if it is being stubborn. However, it is not their typical tendency as they are more prone to protecting the sheep than hurting it. Hence, their predatory sequence does not get triggered when chasing or herding cattle.

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Pete Decker