Jump to content
BC Boards
rushdoggie

question re: tending

Recommended Posts

So I have a friend with a tending breed. She's had some bad experiences with "BC people" calling it "not real herding" and "made up." She says she has been to places that offer trials and herding instruction who refuse to consider having tending on their livestock. This surprised me, as said facilities offer AKC and AHBA events for many breeds and types including arena trials.

 

I know diddly squat about tending, and I know she as had other bad experiences with people in other herding cultures so she can be sensitive to perceived criticism, but I wondered if this perception is true? Is it "made up" herding fr dogs with no real herding ability?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen some videos of dogs in the USA "tending" at trials. What I saw were dogs running back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and occasionally diving at the stock before being corrected by their handlers. It looked like BS herding to me, BUT... so do many of the runs at those smaller hobby type trials on a Border Collie style course.

 

I've also seen videos of real tending dogs from central Europe. These were not breeds we know here, but landrace dogs (the foundation stock for breeds like the GSD). They had stock sense, feel, brains and very real talent. You could see them making judgement calls and adjusting themselves on their own. Their movement was purposeful, focused and targeted at wayward stock. They were doing a fine job and clearly were an asset to their shepherds.

 

I suspect a lot was lost in translation between the real deal in Europe and the hobby style tending you see in the USA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^I had to look it up, as it wasn't a term I was familiar with either.

 

Found a pretty sussinct overview of various herding breeds on this site: http://www.gopetsamerica.com/dog_breeds/herding_dogs.aspx.

 

It's a good basic description of the different types. The only thing I could really wish for such a basic overview is that they'd made a bit more distinction between "sheepdog trial" and "competitive herding events" in the final section so it was clear to the uninitiated that they're not the same thing.

 

Tending Breeds

These breeds were developed in Europe to help in the grazing of sheep in areas around crops. Dogs of this type customarily took their sheep out to graze each day and then patrolled along the grazing area to keep the sheep restricted to the unfenced space that they were supposed to graze. Tending breeds include Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Bouvier des Flandres, Briards, German Shepherds, Beaceron, Pyrenean Shepherds and Pulis.

From what I know of the tending breeds mentioned here, I sincerely doubt the description that Liz gave of their work at the so-called trials would be of much use in practical farmwork, and I'd think that such demonstrations would indeed be "made up" for the ACK-type crowd.

 

ETA: There is also an American Tending Breeds Association. It appears to be an ACK focused group from my brief perusal. http://atba-herding.org/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also found a FB page Tending Dogs, and though it's description states it's about "Tending is the large-flock grazing type of herding historically done by German Shepherd Dogs, Belgians & Briards" I've scrolled back several months and don't see much about dogs.

 

There are loads of fabulous photos of sheep, though, and artwork of sheep and some cartoons. Here and there some with dogs in them, one a photo of a boy with a flock of sheep and what looks like it could be a border collie and a lovely painting by Julien Dupre with what may be a mainland European tending breed (below), but mostly sheep.

 

It's worth looking at just for the sheep. B)

 

15078594_10157578540435411_5644946433628

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

White Clover sheep farm in New York uses tending dogs (GSD's). I've seen Youtube videos of his dogs working. Here is a piece on the farm (with a quotation from it):

 

"One unique aspect of Kintzel’s operation is the use of German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) — the breed he worked with in Germany — for herding. “It’s a tending breed,” said Kintzel, explaining the role of the GSD. “These dogs are not used to fetch and gather sheep in a fenced pasture. They aren’t good at doing an outrun. They are used to tend sheep in fields that are open or next to fields with crops. They patrol a straight line rather than going in an arc-shaped pattern around them.” Kintzel trains GSDs for herding work, and holds an annual herding trial at his farm in October. “It reflects Shepherd’s Day in miniature in old-world Germany,” he said"

 

http://countryfolks.com/selecting-traits-that-work-at-white-clover-sheep-farm/

 

 

ETA: Of course, it doesn't compare to the work of a Border Collie IMO--nothing does--but apparently it works for what this particular shepherd needs, and I think that's great. It sure beats running in circles at Madison Square Garden like the latest BIS winner, also a GSD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Interesting. I did realize many sheepherding breeds worked in a completely different manner, not fetching the sheep, but I didn't know it had a name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect a lot was lost in translation between the real deal in Europe and the hobby style tending you see in the USA.

 

I think that hits the nail on the head. I've seen some GSDs do training for tending and it was generally very artificial. The dogs were trained to go back and forth on the far side of a line and not forge forward. I have seen a couple GSDs who did show some genuine feel for the sheep, responding directly to the sheep's movement and keeping them in their area. But mainly it was pretty mechanical and I always thought the dogs would have been just as happy to leap in and scatter some sheep for fun.

 

It's a shame the lady has met with unkindness but sadly there is some truth to the criticism. Some tending dogs have real work in them, but many do not.

 

~ Gloria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think criticism is a bad thing. The actual information offered by those with experience is neutral, even if the delivery might be harsh--even then, it is not always meant to be rude. It might seem obvious to an experienced sheepdog person, but to someone like myself who doesn't have the experience, I think the point Liz and Gloria made about a dog having a natural feel for the sheep is helpful. That isn't something I would necessarily think to look for in a tending dog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Trainers,

 

According to Kate Broadbent - by any criteria an experienced professional shepherd - Rolf Kintzel is the real goods. At one time I wanted to enter his tending trial and asked for the rules which were, too often for my taste - style judgements.

 

I believe there is a use for "tending dogs" provided they can act as a mobile protective fence without the shepherd's presence. If the shepherd has to be there too it'd be cheaper to issue him a slingshot.

 

Donald McCaig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"who needs a bc, when you can buy a quad".

;)

A farmer with a bunch of unruly, bleeping roaches, mistakenly called "lambs" ;)

 

The Old German Shepherd (similar to the Czech chodsky pes, and unlike the regular GSD) is an awesome tending dog. The German organization of its breeders has successfully resisted its inclusion in the KC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A farmer with a bunch of unruly, bleeping roaches, mistakenly called "lambs" ;)

 

The Old German Shepherd (similar to the Czech chodsky pes, and unlike the regular GSD) is an awesome tending dog. The German organization of its breeders has successfully resisted its inclusion in the KC.

 

What about breeds like Briards and Bouviers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did brush control in some pretty weird areas. With a lot- and I mean- A lot of goats. These areas were sensitive to having goats get out- such as military bases and freeway embankments. My best use of my dogs was loading, gathering and

unloading. I used an e-net to fence- i got miles of the stuff. just a note- it works very well.

 

no quad for me ever- horse.....only

 

now i do not do brush control work, only work in the mts with pretty tough cattle and the range sheep.

 

the goat work paid very well but it was the hardest work i have ever done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've often wonder about using sheep/goats for grazing ski slopes in the summer

I'm sure it's common in Europe but I've wondered how common in North America

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no quad for me ever- horse.....only

Me neither, for a myriad of reasons.

But I assumed you read the "using this logic" at the beginning of my remark, and understood what I meant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see the use of goats (and sheep) for pasture and rough ground cleanup around here - goats would selectively graze invasive briers and brambles, poison ivy, woody plants, and so on. I walk some places where I think a managed flock of goats would do a world of good. The key is "managed".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smalahunder- Yeah, I am just sayin' not really in reply to you. :)

 

Sue, managed, yep.....:)

 

Bill, I have done pretty much everything else, or my boss had, but not ski slopes. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about breeds like Briards and Bouviers?

 

In Continental Europe, to my best knowledge, the Alte deutsche schäferhund and the pyrenean shepherds have been truly used for livestock work with enough of working dogs in the breed to matter. There are many breeds that do fine sheep herding but their talents scattered across the population, you never know what you will get.

 

My wife doesn't allow me to have goats.

She is the voice of reason on our farm.

 

Goats are wonderful. They quickly led us to border collies and to sheep :D .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i prefer corriente cattle here where i am. I had a big herd of spanish goats. Their maaing brought every predator. Range ewes have done well, but corriente are the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had to google "corriente cattle" they look quite beautiful.

Living in Iceland one does not have a whole range of breeds to choose from, when it comes to stock ( I'd really like to have Scottish highland cattle...)

Luckily the rules on importing dogs are not that prohibitive, or we would not have had bordercollies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you, we like them. they will ring up and fight predators and are well armed

 

the below is trout with one of the young bulls

post-8684-0-17334400-1488649800_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...