Kiera is 100% Australian Shepherd. She’s a herding dog through and through. All of her instincts are to stay close to her flock and protect, while looking for guidance and direction from her team-mate (me). I got Graidy from a Border Collie Rescue group. They thought he was a BC mix. He sure has the breed’s extremely high energy. But the only thing he herds are birds. Oh, and planes. And helicopters. In other words, anything moving up in the sky. So I’m thinking he’s got some kind of field dog/spaniel in him. And Wink, our Cavalier Spaniel’s instincts are also to run off through the fields.
You can see that Kiera starts to run off with Graidy and Wink (both of whom never look back), but then her instincts kick in and she wants to check in with me to see where I am. If the outside gate was open, I wouldn’t see Wink or Graidy until the cows came home. Or until Kiera caught up to them and got them herded back home.
Another big difference between herding dogs and field dogs is that herding dogs are a snap to train. Field dogs take a bit more work. Where as it only took me a couple of days to teach Kiera a rock-solid “Come,” it took me a month to teach Graidy. Wink…? He’s still learning. : )
I use this little example to illustrate the value in really understanding what each dog is bred to do. Because there are very distinct differences. So please don’t just get caught up with how a dog looks. Please do your research to make sure the breed of dog you get is something that fits your lifestyle. Both your happiness and your dog’s happiness depend on it!
If you’re in the market for a dog, there are a couple of great books to help you decide on the perfect breed. Just click on any cover to go to Amazon.