Welcome to All About SheepDogs
This website replaces the first All About Sheepdogs that appeared in 2007. As with all things, changes have happened since that time and, apart from modern technology moving so fast, the site was beginning to look tired and did not properly reflect on what is happening in the current sheepdog world. We hope the site is fresher and that you can still find what you are looking for.
Among these pages you can discover the following:
- How to find the puppy or dog you need for your enterprise.
- What training can be made available to you in your location.
- How to obtain the ‘free of charge’ Training Booklet.
- What sheepdog clubs there are in your area.
- How to start sheepdog trialling and receive the ‘Information for Spectators’ leaflet
- And much more…
It really goes without saying that a well-trained working sheepdog is the shepherd’s best friend. An obvious statement, I guess to most folk, because if a working sheepdog is properly trained it will cut the shepherd’s workload and save time and, as a result, save money too. Herding sheep is not work to shepherding dogs – more of a joyful expression of what they do best.
They thrive on approval from & ‘the Boss’. This in turn enables the shepherd to carry out his work with confidence with a dog he can trust. In the world of shepherding a good working sheepdog can think for itself by sizing up a situation and acting upon it… Sometimes before the shepherd has even become aware of a problem. Harnessing its natural hunting skill in order to please & ‘Boss’ is their aim.
So it follows that the bond between shepherd, dog and sheep is a deeply special one, with the dog central to the relationship and with Sheep welfare of the highest importance. Most sheepdogs have a natural instinct to herd – to a greater or lesser degree – and it is usually the handler that requires the training! It is also essential that the trainer understands how sheep operate! ‘Sheep-sense’ as we say in the trade.
Each breed of sheep has its own peculiarities and the various ages of sheep is also a contributing factor. When choosing a small flock upon which you are introducing your new young dog, please be aware that a group of lambs or a bunch of rams is not the way forward. It is also generally accepted that the Rare breeds of sheep are not particularly suitable. Manx Longthans can leap out of any field! But Herdwicks are good if you want Trialling sheep. They are testing and can be bolshie but a dog that can work them is doing well. An ideal breed to stretch the in-training dog.
As we have in the UK the largest national flock in Europe, the traditional sight of a shepherd and his dog is almost as much a part of the countryside scene as it was 50 years ago. However, the rise of the Quad Bike has – to a large extent – taken the place of some dogs but when the Quad can catch a lamb or find a ewe in a thicket then it will have ‘arrived’!
The aim of this website is to help and inform all those who would like to work with sheepdogs. There is always room for improvement and remember – no two dogs are the same. Also, no two flocks of sheep are the same either. What may have worked for your first dog may fall apart with your second and subsequent dogs. So, on this site you will find advice and guidance on every aspect of owning and handling a working collie. From time to time we also post news of interesting events and articles of interest about sheepdog people. There is also information about other organisations.
Although most of the site is aimed at the Border collie handler, just for good measure we include other well known breeds of working sheepdog – Kelpie, Huntaway and the Bearded Collie. Occasionally we know of litters from these breeds.
“There’s no good flock without a good shepherd and there’s no good shepherd without a good dog.”