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Around the world, herding dogs have proven themselves to be essential in improving man’s ability to control and move stock. Many herding dogs have working styles very different to the modern sheep dogs we see in Australia today. These different herding styles developed in response to local situations and needs.


As the breeding, pedigree recording, and exhibition of these dogs progressed, many have been accepted as pure breeds. Herding instinct is a precious part of a herding breed’s heritage. It is also a vital component that can be easily lost when breeding for exhibition in the show ring.

The ANKC Herding program is designed to preserve the traditional style and herding instinct of these many breeds. Herding tests and trials provide a standardised gauge by which a dog’s basic instinct and ability can be measured, and allow dogs to demonstrate the useful functions for which they were originally developed.

Breeds Eligible

The breeds eligible to participate in ANKC Herding Tests and Trials are those breeds which have a natural instinct to herd. Generally these breeds have been used in their country of origin for many centuries for this purpose and the instinct and ability to herd was a selection in the breeding program. 

Working Dog Group                             

Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Kelpie
Australian Shepherd
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Bearded Collie
Belgian Shepherd (All varieties)
Border Collie
Bouvier Des Flandres
Collie (Rough & Smooth)
German Shepherd Dog
Finnish Lapphund
Norwegian Buhund
Old English Sheepdog
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdog
Swedish vallhund
Welsh Corgi Cardigan
Welsh Corgi Pembroke

Other Herding Breeds
Bernese Mountian Dog
Canaan Dog
Kerry Blue Terrier
Norwegian Elkhound
Soft Coat Wheaten Terrier
Tibetan Terrier
Standard Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzer

Mixed Breeds

Mixed breeds may be accepted provided they are a mix or apparent mix of herding breeds. These must be Associate Registered Dogs

Working Dogs

Dogs registered with an ANKC recognized working dog association or kindred body are able to compete in Herding Trials organized under the auspices of an ANKC Body. Such dogs must be registered with the ANKC, and the owner and handlers be members of a Member Body.

Such dogs are to be allowed to compete without prejudice to sexual status in that they are not required to be neutered and may be bred as acceptable by the working registry they are registered with.

Herding Tests and Trials

If you believe your dog has the natural ability to herd and would like to become involved with SACA Herding Tests and Trials, both you and your dog will need to be registered with Dogs SA. The owner of the dog must apply for membership and the dog must be registered either on the main, limited or associate register.

The Herding Tests start with a basic Instinct Test to determine if the dog has any natural ability to herd. Basic control is required and the dog must on a long line sit, stay and recall to the handler in the presence of the stock. The usual stock used may be sheep, ducks or cattle. Geese and goats are also used.

Once the dogs has passed an instinct test, the classes progressively require a dog to understand and obey commands from the handler at a distance. Titles are awarded to dogs who successfully pass the different levels of Herding Test, Pre-Trial Test, Herding Started, Herding Intermediate and Herding Advanced.

Contact the Dogs SA Herding Advisory Committee

If you are interested in becoming involved or would just like to come and see a Herding Test and Trial, you are welcome to contact Melissa Lloyd on 8524 2218 or email vondoussa.gsd@bigpond.com for further information and advice.

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