AKC Breed Groups: Herding Group

The American Kennel Club categorizes their 190 breeds into 8 different groups. As part of our ongoing breed series (Getting to Know Your…), we wanted to take a global look at these classifications and what characteristics separate the dogs into these different groups.

The AKC breed groups are:

  • Herding Group
  • Sporting Group
  • Toy Group
  • Working Group
  • Hound Group
  • Non-Working Group
  • Terrier Group
  • Miscellaneous Group

Today, we look at the Herding group.

The Herding Group is comprised of 41 different breeds all possessing the same natural drive to control the movement of other animals – to herd them. That works out great when they work on a farm and need to control the sheep or cattle, but less so when they are herding school children getting on a bus.

Herding dogs once belonged to the Sporting Group of the AKC and broke off to their own category just recently in 1983. As you can see from the full list below, they range in size and specialty with Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs specializing in herding sheep and others such as the Australian Cattle Dog specializing in cattle.

They are all tireless workers with a natural instinct to round things up. They do this by circling the herd and nipping at their heels to move them as a group. The Herding group is also home to some of the most intelligent breeds such as the Border Collie.

Most of the herding group are thoughtful dogs, taking their responsibilities seriously. These dogs can be a training challenge. They respond well to positive training methods and are easy to train because of their smarts. They make great family pets and watch dogs. But, if they don’t get proper exercise and enough mental stimulation, their herding instinct takes over and they begin herding things you don’t want herded, like children or guests.

Most of these Herders will never see a herd of sheep or cattle, but their instincts can be fostered in other ways. They excel at obedience training and agility where speed and smarts are key to success.  The Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd Dog are widely used for search and rescue and police work.

Herders can be challenging family pets, but if you take the proper time to train them and give them a job to do that keeps them mentally engaged, they can make a wonderful addition to your family.

Complete list of Herding Group:

  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bearded Collie
  • Beauceron
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Bergamasco
  • Berger Picard
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Boerboel
  • Border Collie
  • Bouviers des Flandres
  • Boxers
  • Briard
  • Canaan Dog
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Collie
  • Entlebucher Mountain Dog
  • Finnish Lapphund
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Great Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Icelandic Sheepdog
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • Norwegian Buhund
  • Norwegian Elkhound (April 1, 2017)
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Puli
  • Pumi
  • Pyrenean Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Samoyed
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Swedish Vallhund




Personalize your pet’s daily meals.

Feed the right amount each day with the SmartFeeder and SmartDelivery.