Herding

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Gauchos herding sheep in Patagonia

Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd). It is maintaining the group and moving the group from place to place. Many thousands of years ago herding became a way of life for many nomadic people. Today it is still a necessity for farmers, ranchers and those who raise domestic animals.

Herds[change | change source]

Some animals instinctively gather together as a herd. A group of animals fleeing a predator will herd together for protection. Some predators, such as wolves and dogs, have instinctive herding abilities that come from primitive hunting instincts. But there can be a fine line between chasing and herding.[1] Dogs that show basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding and stock dog trials.[1] It's a sport that dogs and their owners can enjoy together.[1]

Herding is used in agriculture to manage domesticated animals. Herding can be performed by people or dogs trained to control the movement of livestock under the direction of a person.[2] Animals such as cattle, sheep and goats are commonly herded by humans and dogs. Also herd dogs may be used to gather and herd turkey, geese, ducks and chickens.[3]

Herd dogs[change | change source]

Originally dogs were used to both herd and guard domestic animals.[4] Over time dogs were bred to specialize in one or the other. Herd guardians or guard dogs became the 24-hour protector of the flock.[4] Herd dogs were developed to keep the herd together. Herding dogs are critical to Australian and British sheep farms.[4]

Herd dog breeds[change | change source]

Herding dog breeds are typically intelligent, all-work and full of energy.

Herding occupations[change | change source]

People who work with agricultural animals have different occupational names. This is based on the type of animal they work with or names that vary by country.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mary Ann Albright. "Herding skills unleashed." The Columbian (Vancouver, WA). McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. 2011. HighBeam Research. 10 Jan. 2015 <http://www.highbeam.com>
  2. William Haviland, et al., Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2011), pp. 166–168
  3. Mary Ann Hoffman, Herding Dogs (New York: Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2011), p. 5
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Livestock Handling and Transport, ed. Temple Grandin (Wallingford: CABI, 2007), p. 200