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Top 10 Best Farm Dogs for Herding Cattle

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Handling cattle can be challenging and thus requires the tenacity, speed, and loyalty of a herding dog. Not just any herding dog but ones that are bred to handle cattle. Some herding dogs are good at controlling sheep while others are good at controlling cows and bulls. Cattle dogs perform any number of vital tasks daily, from moving, holding, to rounding up cattle. If you own a herd of cattle, here are some of the best shepherd dog breeds that can help you handle them.

1. Australian Shepherd

Two Australian Shepherds herding cows

The Australian Shepherd, otherwise known as the Aussie, is a tough ranch dog described by the AKC, as "the picture of rugged and agile movers of stock." Aussies are workers with a keen, penetrating gaze in the eye, and as cute as they may appear to be, they’re known as "the cowboy's herding dog of choice" for a reason. 

Aussies are loved by U.S. ranchers for their exceptional herding abilities. In fact, Aussies rose to fame in the mid-20th century after they were frequently seen herding bulls and performing tricks at rodeos across the western states. According to the breed's Working Description, the Aussie is one of the Loose-Eyed breeds of shepherd dogs that excels at controlling large and slow-moving herds of cattle.

2. Australian Cattle Dog

An Australian Cattle Dog herding a cow

Otherwise known as the Red or Blue Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog was developed to drove cattle over long distances across rough terrain. Droving is a type of herding that involves walking livestock over long distances. The AKC describes Cattle Dogs as "sturdy, hard-muscled herders of strength and agility." They possess immense work drive and excel at controlling and moving cattle. Australian Cattle Dogs are also known for forming strong attachments to their humans and being protective of them.

3. Border Collie

The Border Collie is considered to be the most intelligent of all dogs. It is the most widely employed shepherd dog in the world. Originally bred to herd sheep, Border Collies are the best herding dogs for any livestock including cattle, goats, and even chickens. Border Collies work silently, often using "eye" and display a very stalking, slinking posture. The video below says it all.


4. Welsh Corgis

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi working cattle

Built low and long, Welsh Corgis are surprisingly agile and quick. Both the Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis are listed among the world's most popular herding dog breeds. The Cardigan is naturally attuned to herding many different animals, including cattle, sheep, and poultry. On the other hand, the Pembroke is a cattle-herding dog that expertly nips at the heals of cattle to move them forward. Welsh Corgis' low height combined with their innate agility allow them to avoid the hooves of cattle.

5. Australian Kelpie

Tow Australian Kelpies herding cattle

The Australian Kelpie is described as an active dog with unlimited energy and capable of untiring work. Originating from Collies, the Kelpie was created to withstand the harsh heat and dry conditions of the vast open spaces of Australia. It possesses a natural instinct and aptitude for mustering and droving cattle, with little or no guidance. There are two types of Kelpie: the Working Kelpie and the Show Kelpie. The Working Kelpie is bred for work, whereas the Show Kelpie is bred to compete in conformation dog shows. Show Kelpies are selected for appearance rather than working instinct.

6. English Shepherd

Two English Shepherds herding cattle

The English Shepherd, aka Farm Collie, is a breed of herding dog created in the United States. They descend from collies of various types, thus sharing ancestry with the modern Australian Shepherd. The English Shepherd was selectively bred to be a multi-stock working breed. They are known for handling whatever kind of livestock their owners have. That includes cattle, goats, sheep, and poultry. Although the AKC does not recognize the English Shepherd as a standard breed, the UKC has been registering the dogs since 1927.

7. Mudi

A Mudi herding a cow

The Mudi is a versatile farm dog that shines when herding both cattle and sheep. They act as capable herders and guardians of stocks. The breed has a very different herding style also. Unlike other herding dogs, Mudis use their bark and wits to move cattle or sheep. Mudis perform multiple tasks such as finding and moving individual cows from the bushes. They are also able to move grazing cattle from one area to another. Mudis can keep cattle out of a particular area as well. Besides herding, Mudis excel at various dog sports and have found fame as search and rescue dogs in the U.S.

8. Bergamasco Shepherd

A black Bergamasco shepherd herding cattle

The Bergamasco Shepherd is an Italian breed of herding dog used for herding both sheep and cattle. It is a robust and rustic dog known for keeping large herds of cattle together, guiding them through hazards. In addition, Bergamascos are also known for protecting their stock during the night from predators.

9. Bouvier des Flandres


The Bouvier des Flandres is a steady all-purpose worker used for general farm work including cattle droving and sheep herding. The breed is described in terms of temperament as intelligent, loyal, protective, gentle, rational, and familial. The Bouvier des Flandres can do anything that needs doing in a barnyard or pasture except milk the cows, says the American Kennel Club. Bouvier des Flandres is a French name, which roughly translates as 'cow herder from Flanders.' In its formative years, the breed was called 'Vlaamse Koehond' ('cow dog').

10. Blue Lacy
A Blue Lacy dog herding cattle

The Blue Lacy Dog is one of the herding dog breeds that originated in the United States. It is described as a smart, alert, devoted, bold, active, and intense dog. Work they excel at includes herding cattle and hunting wild hogs.

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