Shepherd dog breeds are known for their intelligence, their teamwork and their protective tendencies. Here is a list of some of the most popular shepherd dogs!

Shepherd dog breeds make great pets. They are loyal, hardworking and are loved by many families. They are also ranked highly on Stanley Coren's dog intelligence ranking.

The Border Collie

The Border Collie originated from Northumberland, on the very border of England and Scotland, and was developed for herding livestock, especially sheep. The name “Border Collie” came from the fact that the breed was developed somewhere on the Anglo-Scottish border where the Scottish Highland "colley" sheep was prevalent. The first time the term "Border Collie" was used was in 1915 by the Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society. It was used in order to register them as a separate breed along with other Collies that were already registered.

Border Collies are known to be descendants of the Old Hemp, a tri-colour dog that was bred by a man called Adam Telfer. This dog was smart, quiet, and used by many shepherds as he was known as the best herding dog around. These beautiful dogs became popular at the end of the 19th century when they were presented at the first official sheepdog trial in Bala, Wales.

Border Collie character

Intelligent, attentive and a hard worker - what's not to love? The Border Collie is a big hit with many families. They make fantastic guard dogs and love to protect those who surround them, giving off great energy. These dogs do need exercise, so a big garden or field is perfect for them to let off some steam! They aren’t really "house-dogs" and will need a lot of space.

Border Collies should be trained very early on, while they are still puppies. In fact, it is easier to train dogs when their brain is still developing. As obedient dogs, Border Collies are very enthusiastic while working with people and are happy to learn new things.

Border Collie physical characteristics

The Border Collie is medium-sized, dog breed with an athletic appearance. Their bodies are longer than their low set tails. Some Border Collies have two different coloured eyes while their coat comes in two varieties - rough or smooth. It also comes in just about any colour and pattern, including bicolour, tricolour and merle.

This breed can stand between 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 30 to 45 pounds. They typically live from 10 to 17 years old.

The Berger Blanc Suisse

The White Swiss Shepherd Dog, also referred to as the Berger Blanc Suisse, is a popular shepherd dog that was recognised in Switzerland in 1991. They were highly sought after for their handsome looks. Over generations, White Swiss Shepherds were developed using American and Canadian White Shepherds thanks to their dark pigmentation and their white coats.

White Swiss Shepherd character

Known for its intelligence and energy, this dog is very popular. They will need at last an hour of solid exercise a day, with as much time off of the lead as possible. White Swiss Shepherds are good protectors, have a playful spirit and like to expend their energy through many different activities that you can do with them.

Like Border Collies, White Swiss Shepherds are gentle, friendly, and are known to be great family pets and companions. They can become completely devoted to their pet parents, are fast learners and love being taught new things. Training must start at an early age as this breed can be quick to pick up bad habits or behaviors.

White Swiss Shepherd physical characteristics

The breed is very muscular and robust, looking very similar to German Shepherds. Of course, the obvious difference is the Swiss Shepherd’s beautiful white coat. Like the German Shepherd, they also have pointy ears but the body structure is usually slightly smaller.

White Swiss Shepherd dogs typically weigh from 30 to 40 kilos, and live from 12 to 14 years old.

berger blanc suisse

The Beauceron

The Beauceron is a very old breed with a long history. It was developed in France, originating from "La Beauce" (the plains region surrounding Paris). It is thought that the first mention of the breed was in a passage of a manuscript written back in 1578.

Beaucerons were mainly used as sheepdogs and guard dogs, but many were also used in the French Army. They followed commands without hesitation, detected mines and supported commando activity. Even today, Beaucerons are still used as military and police dogs.

Beauceron character

In line with the above, the Beauceron is an excellent guard dog as well as a very good shepherd dog. Calm, intelligent and loyal, you will love this dog for their protective qualities and their enthusiasm for the "guardian role". Their energy, as well as their docility, will make you want to spend all of your time with them.

In general, Beaucerons get along with everyone, especially with children. Nevertheless, their imposing size and exuberant playfulness may not be best suited to smaller children as they could find themselves on the receiving end of an unintentional knock. It is, therefore, best for them to be in a family with older children.

Beauceron physical characteristics

The Beauceron has an impressive and muscular appearance. It is a large dog that can measure up to 70cm (27.5 inches). They can weigh from 70-100 pounds (30-45 kilos) and their life expectancy is usually between 10-12 years.

The Shetland Shepherd

Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, originate from the Shetland Islands in the Northern Atlantic (a series of small islands in the north-east of Scotland). This breed is very popular in Great Britain and was exported to the US in the early 1900s. They were recognised by the Scottish Shetland Sheepdog club and the Kennel Club in 1909 and were first registered as Shetland Collies, but the name changed to Shetland Sheepdog in October later that year.

Shetland Sheepdog character

Long since used as a sheepdog, the Shetland Shepherd will always protect your flock (human or livestock). Despite their smaller size, they have a strong guarding instinct as well as a high IQ. Very obedient, they are very receptive to commands. Being playful and agile, they can keep your children occupied with fun and games.

The Shetland is very attached to its pet parent and will want to develop a strong bond. They can become distressed if they are separated from their owner for too long. Gentle and affectionate, this breed is ideal for small or large families. They can adapt to all kinds of lifestyles as long as they can expend their energy with daily walks and energetic playtime.

The Shetland can prove to be reserved and timid in the face of strangers and can also be stubborn in certain situations. Just like their cousin the Border Collie, the Shetland has a huge capacity for learning and is a champion in many disciplines such as agility.

Shetland Sheepdog physical characteristics

Shetland Sheepdogs are considered as small dogs, or even a miniature breed. Unlike other miniature dogs, the Sheltie was not continually bred to produce a smaller size. Males can reach 38cm in height while females can reach 36cm. This breed can live up to 12 to 13 years old.

The Dutch Shepherd

The Dutch Shepherd is said to have descended from the same herding dogs that created the Belgian Shepherd and German Shepherd. They were originally bred in the early 1800s in the northern part of the Netherlands. They were developed to be farm dogs, guard dogs, herd dogs or even police dogs.

The number of Dutch Shepherds has actually decreased over the years. Because of modern farming in the 1940s and 1950s, the breed nearly became extinct as they were no longer needed on the farms anymore. All breeding was then stopped in the Netherlands during World War II and many dogs died from starvation or were taken into Germany to be used in the military. To save this breed, the Dutch Breed Club cross-bred the Dutch Shepherd with the Malinois. This breed is still quite rare, but it became recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1995.

Dutch Shepherd character

The Dutch Shepherd is much loved for their many qualities. Playful, sporty and hardworking, this dog is often used to guard herds, homes and are still used by the armed forces thanks to their sensory capabilities, obedience and intelligence.

Dutch Shepherd physical characteristics

Dutch Shepherds are large dogs. Their coat can come in many colours including blue, brindle, golden, gray, silver or yellow. They and can reach 21 to 24,5 inches (55 to 62cm) tall and can weigh from 50 to 70 pounds (23 to 32 kilos). This breed can live to be 12 to 15 years old.

The Scotch Collie

The Scotch Collie was developed in Scotland centuries ago to help with herding, protecting and driving flocks of sheep. In the 19th century, their popularity spread where they became more known abroad. They were sought after in England in particular for herding as well as for dog shows. By the 20th century, the Scotch Collie was popular on both sides of the Atlantic. They were seen as fashionable, and also popular with royalty.

Scotch Collie character

The Scotch Collie is known for its intelligence and loving personality. They were also known for their efficiency as a protector and have been used by the armed forces. Scotch Collies make good family companions and love to be a part of household activities. They can be clingy at times but love to play with children and to protectively watch over them.

Scottish Collies can live in pretty much any household environment, in the countryside or the city, provided that they get regular exercise. They should have easy access to a garden where they can play and expend their energy.

Scotch Collie physical characteristics

A Scotch Collie's coat can be short, long, flat or dense and can come in various different colours. These include sable, black and white, blue merle, white and tricolour varieties. Scotch Collies are medium-sized and weigh from 40 to 45lb, and can live from 12 to 14 years.

Dog Scotch Collie

The Pyrenean Shepherd

The Pyrenean Shepherd is one of the smallest French herding breeds. They originate from the French Pyrenees, hence their name. The breed was used to herd flocks of sheep and continue to do so today.

In the 19th century, Pyrenean Shepherds arrived in America with shepherds who found work herding flocks in the west of the country. During World War II, Pyrenean Shepherds were taken to aid the war effort where they were used to deliver messages, find wounded soldiers and act as guard dogs.

This breed became more known in the 1970s when dog lovers became interested in them and imported the dogs from France to begin their own breeding programs. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2009.

Pyrenean Shepherd character

Due to their intelligence, loyalty, and capacity to adapt, Pyrenean Shepherds make excellent sheepdogs and highly regarded as family pets. They will always protect their family to the best of their ability.

Pyrenean Shepherd physical characteristics

There are two types of Pyrenean Shepherd dogs: rough-faced (long or medium-length hair that’s flat or slightly wavy with a coarse texture), and smooth-faced (face covered in short, fine hairs, but with longer hair on the side of the head). Their fur can come in many colours, ranging from fawn, tan, copper, various shades of gray, blue merle and brindle, as well as including black and white markings.

Both types of Pyrenean Shepherds can be born in the same litter. Rough-faced Pyrenean Shepherds usually stand from 15,5 to 18,5 inches tall whereas the smooth-faced variety stands from 15,5 to 21 inches tall. Their typical weight range is from 25 to 30 pounds and they can live up to 15 to 17 years old.

The Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd, also called the "Aussie" is, surprisingly, not from Australia but from Europe! In fact, this dog was used by shepherds in the borderlands between France and Spain, where they used them as herding dogs. These shepherds immigrated to Australia with their dogs as it was known as a paradise for sheep herders. After building up their flocks, they then traveled with their animals to California in the United States. Californian ranchers assumed that their herding dogs were an Australian breed, and that is when the breed started to be called the “Australian Shepherd”.

Australian Shepherd character

Thanks to the Australian Shepherd's many qualities, they are highly regarded as both great sheepdogs and family pets. Blessed with intelligence, they make wonderful guide dogs, rescue dogs and detection dogs. Their protective instinct also makes them great guard dogs. This breed doesn't usually like solitude and is perfect for an active family.

Australian Shepherd physical characteristics

The Aussie's coat is particularly distinctive. They can be black, blue merle, red or red merle often combined with white and copper. In other words, Aussies can have either one coat colour or up to eight different colours!

Australian Shepherds are medium-sized dogs with a solid build. Males typically weigh between 25 and 35 kilos and can be 58 centimeters tall. Females are smaller, usually between 26 and 53 centimeters in height and weigh no more than 26 kilos. The Australian Shepherd has almond-shaped eyes that can be blue, amber or brown. Many even sport different coloured eyes. These beauties can live up to 13 to 15 years old.

Dog Australian Shepherd

Which is your favorite breed?

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