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Herding types for stock types

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I don't know anything about stock. So I was wondering about different strengths needed (by bc's) for different stock work. Such as are dairy cattle different than range/beef cattle? Sheep? Goats? Ducks?

I ask only because I thought i've heard that dairy are more docile/easy to herd, so am wondering if the dogs that work them are more similar to sheep herding dogs????

The dam/sire of a litter I am interested in work on a diary farm moving the cows. :rolleyes: Just trying to get a feel for what that MEANS in terms of ability!


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Typically, yes, dairy cattle are more compliant than are range/beef cattle. But this is not inherently so--it is generally more a function of the amount of *handling* the dairy cattle get. They are brought in for milking, so know the routine, and are usually glad to go to be milked. Range/beef cattle are most often not handled nearly as much, as as such, are less used to being moved (by humans or dogs). This makes them less likely to *want* to be handled. So, the first issue in your question is what the stock are used to and how much handling they routinely get. This will be true for whatever stock you are dealing with.


However, certain types of stock are more compliant by nature. Generally, sheep are more likely to move off of a dog than are most cattle. It is not necessarily the size of the stock, but the size of their attitude. Cattle just need more *convincing* to move for a little 40 pound dog, so, in general, need a "stronger" dog. They do not "flock" as well as most sheep, and will string way out and spread way out, so need more convincing to stay together as a group, as well. Goats tend to fall somewhere between sheep and cattle in the "recalcitrant" department. They need a fairly strong dog, as well. Ducks I know nothing about, as I have never seriously tried to work them (nor do I care to--the few times we tried it for fun as a "jackpot" (for laughs) at a cattle trial, my dogs refused to see them as livestock).


While there are some dogs that are being bred particularly for working cattle (and hence, are more likely to have the "power" necessary for that job (actually, in a young pup, it seems to be more the willingness to go in there and give dealing with stock that have such an attitude a try)), the strength or power of any particular dog is an individual thing. Absolutely breeding will play a role, as it will in many (most?) aspects of any dog's working style and temperament, but training will also factor in. If the pup is routinely encouraged to find its power/strength as it is being trained (and, no, I don't mean gripping--I mean finding its power/strength so that it can walk calmly up to the face of any stubborn stock, and then only grip if absolutely necessary in a business-like fashion), then it should have no problem working whatever stock it is presented with. If the dog learns to read and feel its stock properly, it should adjust accordingly to any stock.


So, if you are interested in a particular line, I would watch the dam and sire work, as well as any previous offspring or family members. Find out what you can about the lines in general, as well as the dam and sire. But, remember, everyone looks good at home. The dogs know the routine and the stock, and the stock know the routine and the dogs. The real test would be to see these dogs work different stock in a different setting, if at all possible.



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