Shepherd dogs draw their name from their livestock-guarding and herding work. They were and continue to be a popular choice for ranchers and farmers with large flocks of sheep or herds of cattle. Shepherd dogs are also commonly referred to as sheepdogs thanks to their natural inclination to work with flocks.
That said, there are over 30 different types of shepherd dogs in the world. They have similar characteristics, with some exhibiting more than others. Across the board, they are known to be excitable and energetic. They are also excellent guard dogs, very strong, and exhibit high intelligence and a strong work ethic. No wonder they make such great pets.
Of the 30 different types of shepherd dogs, we’ll review the five most common. These dogs come in all sizes and shapes and can be found in many households and farms in America today.
1. German Shepherd Dog
The iconic German Shepherd is one of the most well-known breeds in this category. They are excellent watchdogs and highly intelligent. While they make good family dogs, they are known for their legendary work ethic in the armed forces.
German Shepherd dogs are innately gentle and patient but do not take quickly to a new person. They may not attack without provocation but are slow to make connections with strangers. German shepherds also shed massive amounts of fur all year long.
2. Bearded Collie
The bearded collie originates from Britain and is one of the oldest breeds of shepherd dogs. It draws its name from its long fur, which tumbles down its body in locks. The fur is beautiful when well maintained but sheds pretty heavily year long. This type of shepherd dog is very lively and has lots of energy. Bearded collies make great family pets thanks to their lively nature. Long walks give your bearded collie the regular exercise it needs.
3. Australian Kelpie
An intelligent, loyal and hyperactive dog, the Australian Kelpie is a natural herder. The breed has boundless energy which needs to be exhausted. Otherwise, this breed lends itself to destructive behavior. The Australian Kelpie may not be the best breed of dog for first-time dog owners since it requires lots of socialization to acclimate to new surroundings.
You may find that the Australian Kelpie is very agile and obedient. It performs well in competitive dog sports as it responds well to learned instructions.
4. Belgian Shepherd Dog
The Belgian shepherd dog descends from a breed typically found in most parts of Western Europe. They are agile and athletic and need lots of stimulation to keep them away from destructive tendencies.
Thanks to their agility and athletic nature, this breed will do well in any dog sport. They are also quite attentive and respond well to learned instructions. Their prey instinct is quite high, and they will easily chase something if encouraged to do so.
5. Icelandic Shepherd Dog
You may probably have already heard about this dog, thanks to its popularity among families in America. The Icelandic shepherd dog is a small-sized dog under this category of larger dogs. It has pointy ears that give it a fox-like appearance and a heavy coat that sheds quite a bit.
These dogs make great family pets thanks to their sunny disposition and high energy. They need lots of exercise to stimulate them, so a home with a yard will work great for them.
Energy Meets Cuteness
The fact is this: shepherds are active, energetic, and oh, so cute—in a big, athletic dog way. Honorable mentions include the Welsh Corgi, the Australian Shepherd, and the Australian Cattle dog.