Top 10 Unique Shepherd Dog Breeds

A Shepherd dog, also known as herding, working, or a stock dog is used for herding purposes mostly in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. There are over 50 dog breeds that are used for herding purposes, their herding ways are different though.

The Shepherd dogs or herding dogs usually move animals around different places such as fields and gates. These dogs are trained from their puppyhood for this job. Some of their basic dog commands for herding purposes are Keep awayFindBark, Hold, and Walk on.

Interestingly, many Shepherd breeds have now been kept as house pets and because they are highly intelligent, they can easily adapt to different lifestyles, they have some tough requirements though, such as high exercise needs and a big house where they could roam easily.

So, today we are going to list the top 10 Shepherd breeds that you should consider if you are looking for a dog breed that could help you herd the livestock. And the first one on the list is the world’s most intelligent dog; the Border Collie.

Top 10 Shepherd Dog Breeds in the World

Border Collie

border collie top shepherd breeds

Image: corinne_benavides via Flickr

General Features:

-> Easily trainable
-> Highly-intelligent
-> Hot and cold weather tolerant
-> High activity needs
-> Loyal, friendly, sensitive, and accompanying

Developed somewhere in the Hilly mountains between England and Scotland the Border Collie were originally herding dogs. Today, they are regarded as one of the most intelligent house pets. Known for their intense stare, curled, thick double coats, and agility, the Border Collies are found in several gorgeous colors such as red merle and chocolate.

The Border Collies can be as tall as 22 inches and can weigh as much as 20 kg. The Border Collie isn’t your average cuddle dog as it is the dog with a purpose. Just give this lad a job and watch him excel at it.

These fur babies have great energy and stamina and require loads of physical and mental exercises to keep them entertained. They are extremely sensitive creatures that are very responsive to changes in their environment and surroundings. But don’t let them get bored or else they can become destructive and noisy.

The Border Collie dogs are a perfect example of a dog with beauty and brains and have been in many feature films and tv shows. It is undoubtedly the most intelligent and the best Shepherd breed in the world.

Interestingly, the world’s most intelligent dog was a Border Collie named Chaser who could recognize more than 1000 words.

German Shepherd

shepherd dog breeds german shepherd

Image: dbryon via Flickr

General Features:

-> Easily trainable
-> Adapts to apartment life
-> Tolerates cold weather
-> Loyal and friendly
-> Ideal working dog

German Shepherds are also known as the GSDs. They are 25 inches and 45 kg of absolute goofballs. Descendants of large working dogs, these fur babies are usually found in a combination of black and cream color with dense double coats and big sharp canines.

Owing to their acute sniffing, hearing abilities as well as their oozing intelligence the GSDs make great therapy, and service dogs, even used in the military, police, and immigration departments.

Beware not be fooled by their cuteness alone for the GSD are hyper dogs, full of energy that require a lot of everyday exercise and training. Making them less than ideal pets for dog owners that cannot keep up with their needs and cannot give them enough time. At the same time, the German Shepherd dogs are also very independent and self-sufficient creatures with fierce and courageous personalities.

While they may be complete havoc around other animals, especially cats, they are nothing but delightful around their humans. Did you know that a famous GSD named Tin Tin worked in over 20 Hollywood films?

And if you don’t already know, the German Shepherd dog is the second-most popular dog breed in the US after the Labrador Retriever.

Belgian Malinois

herding dog breeds belgian malinois

Image: Karsun Designs Photography via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> Easily trainable
-> Territorial and dominant
-> Hot and cold weather tolerant
-> Loyal and friendly
-> Needs plenty of exercise and stimulation daily

Also known as Mal, the Belgian Malinois is one of the four distinct varieties of working dogs commonly known as Belgian Shepherd, first discovered and bred In Belgium in the 1800s. The other varieties include the Tervuren, the Laekenois, and the Groenendael dogs each with a slightly different appearance but overall similar temperaments and needs.

The Belgian Malinois dogs are found in varying shades of fawn color but the first has a short dense coat. By nature, not only the Malinois but all varieties of Belgian Shepherds are shy but loving creatures that are great with children and adults alike.

They need about 30 minutes of daily exercise and are very fond of chasing moving objects such as cars so dog owners should keep a close eye on them when outdoors. Overall they are very intelligent dogs that make wonderful companions.

At the moment, they are the most preferred dogs to be used in police, military, airports, narcotics, and other related departments.

Bohemian Shepherd

top shepherd breeds bohemian shepherd

Image: cgerull via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> Highly intelligent
-> Easily trainable
-> Ideal for search and rescue jobs
-> Excellent family dog
-> Tolerates cold weather

The Bohemian Shepherd is also known as Chodský pes and it was hailed from the Czech lands. They are said to have existed in the 14th century as guard and herding dogs but today they are mostly kept as house pets. They are about 22 inches tall and generally weigh between 30 to 60 pounds making them medium-sized pups.

In appearance, they look very much like the German Shepherd dog but have long, thick furs and a dense undercoat. They are very elegant and sophisticated pups that rarely ever bark and are generally very well-behaved. Like most medium-sized dogs, they have moderate exercise and training needs.

Owing to their acute sense of smell they are often used as scent tracking dogs making them very useful for search and rescue operations.  The Bohemian Shepherd was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2019 and has since grown in popularity.

Dutch Shepherd

dutch shepherd dog breed

Image: Mark Vitullo via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> Easily trainable
-> Dominant and territorial
-> Loyal and friendly
-> Excellent guard and family dog
-> Intelligence overloaded

Strong, Agile, and intelligent are just some of the words that can be used to describe the magnificent Dutch Shepherd. Originating from the Netherlands this dog breed is called the Jack of all trades. This beautiful brindle dog breed is known for its unparallel obedience that makes it very easy to train. This is why the Dutch shepherds are readily trained as police dogs and guide dogs for the visually impaired.

They grow up to be approximately 24 inches tall while a healthy Dutch Shep can easily weigh up to 30 kg. With proper training and socialization, these dogs grow up to be great companion dogs that get along well with children as well as other animals.

Since these are very active dogs, lack of mental and physical stimulation can turn them moody and aggressive. This is why they should be given proper training and loads of love.

It is one of the rarest breeds at the moment, and interestingly, it almost went extinct in the 1940s and 1950s, especially in the World War II-era but after the war, they were able to make it again.

Shiloh Shepherd

shiloh shepherd dog breed

Image: aleahey via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> Intelligent and super smart
-> Excellent service and therapy dog
-> Affectionate and loving
-> Ideal for search and rescue work
-> Tolerates hot and cold weather

The Shiloh Shepherd breed is a mixture of several breeds including the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd. In appearance, these pooches are large, masculine pups that can be as tall as 30 inches easily weighing up to 60 kg. They have very strong features, with well-defined cheeks, dome-like heads, and dense overcoats. But don’t be intimidated by their looks alone because they are very gentle and sweet dogs known for their soft nature.

They enjoy a variety of activities from swimming to hiking and are quite athletic. At home, however, they love to cuddle and will get along with their humans, as well as, the other animals very well. They need about an hour of daily exercise to remain fit and healthy and loads of affection.

If left alone for too long these pooches can easily get depressed and frustrated causing them to become destructive. Overall they are faithful and devoted dogs ready to do anything for their humans. The Shiloh Shepherd is an ideal dog for any family but make sure you have enough jobs for them to do.

Romanian Shepherd

romanian shepherd carpathian shepherd

Image: th3sly via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> Excellent watchdog by nature
-> Not suited for apartment life
-> High energy dog
-> Calm and well-balanced
-> Brave enough to tackle any predator

The Romanian Shepherd dogs come from the Carpathian Mountains which is why they are also known as the Carpathian Shepherd or Carpathian Sheepdog. For centuries, these dogs were used as livestock guardians in Romania where they are still considered a symbol of the country’s history and culture.

In appearance, these dogs are like wolves, with broad foreheads and rectangular-shaped bodies covered in long, thick fur. They can grow up to be as tall as 29 inches and can weigh as much as 45 kg. Owing to their strong, independent personalities they make good guard dogs whereas their sweet and loving nature makes them equally good house pets.

With proper training and socialization, the Romanian Shepherds become very well-behaved dogs. Since they are large dogs, they require several hours of exercise each day to remain fit and healthy, which means they are not an ideal dog for busy families.

Overall they are very obedient dogs that are easy to train and are no trouble to have around.

Bearded Collie

bearded collie dog

Image: gorbould via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> All-rounder dog (Family, Show, and work)
-> Obedient and friendly
-> High exercise needs
-> Affectionate and friendly
-> Excellent with children and other dogs

Fondly called Beardie, the Bearded Collie is a breed of herding dogs from Scotland that first appeared in the 1600s. They have strong and shaggy outer coats and soft undercoats. Mostly found in brown, black, and fawn colors, their coat lightens as they grow older.

Generally, they grow as tall as 22 inches and can weigh as much as 30 kg. The Bearded Collies are also known as the clowns of dogs for their goofy antics and loveable nature that makes them excellent companions. They enjoy playing outdoors and exercising for a few hours each day. They are obedient, smart, and playful pups that get along with children quite well.

Their coats require to be brushed at least once a week but besides that, they are low maintenance dogs that do not require a lot of attention. Overall they are sweet-natured, easy to please dogs that suit most dog owners well.

The fact behind they are called Bearded Collie is that they have hair hanging down from their chin which looks exactly like a beard.

Old English Sheepdog

old english sheepdog

Image: DavidMartynHunt via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> Smart and gentle
-> Obedient and agile
-> Loyal and protective
-> High energy level and exercise needs
-> Excellent sense of humor

The Old English Sheepdog’s origin is a bit of mystery but it is widely believed that they originated in England as early as the 1800s. Formerly used to herd cattle, these dogs have evolved into popular house pets. They are famous for their shaggy appearance, peek-a-boo hairstyle, and laid-back personalities the OES make fun housemates.

Although they are large dogs that can be as tall as 21 inches, the Oldies are well suited to apartment lives. Their double coats found in black and white makes them one of the cutest animals. Since they are large dogs they require daily exercise and physical stimulation. They are most happy when they are given a task to complete as they are very goal-oriented pups.

Owing to their beautiful fur they need 4 to 5 hours of grooming attention per week. With proper socialization, they can act as good guard dogs that can scare away strangers with their strong bark.

The Old English Sheepdogs are nicknamed ‘Bobtail‘ because of their docked tails.

Shetland Sheepdog

shetland sheepdog

Image: marcia-oc via Flickr

General Characteristics:

-> Champion sports dog
-> Easily trainable
-> Sensitive and protective
-> Friendly with kids and dogs
-> Intelligence overloaded

Small, energetic, and competitive! The Shetland Sheepdogs hail from the Shetland Island of the United Kingdom. Fondly called the Sheltie, these former herding dogs have long hair and rough coats.

They are found in several gorgeous shades, mostly tri-colored such as black, white, and tan. Normally, they weigh no more than 10 kg and are 12- 14 inches tall. However, despite their small stature, they are strong dogs praised for their agility.

Their sharp, piercing barks make them excellent watchdogs. With early socialization, they grow up to be loyal, sweet, and playful pups that get along with everyone. With daily exercise and walks, their physical needs may be easily met.

Because of their affectionate behavior and attachment to their owner, they are often called ‘Shadows‘.

Wrapping it up:

So, these were the top 10 Shepherd dog breeds that are found in different parts of the world. Overall, the Border Collie is the most intelligent and the ideal dog breed that can be used for herding purposes while the German Shepherd is the one in this list that has outclassed all the other breeds in terms of popularity.

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