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Working sheepdogs in Spain

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A friend was telling me today about the working border collies she saw when she was walking the Camino in Spain. She said that she often saw a team of dogs, 3 or 4, working a large herd of sheep. One dog would go out in front of the sheep, and criss-cross the field ahead of them, sniffing the ground, looking all around. She said it seemed that the dog in front was checking the area for any dangers.

I am not familiar with this, and wonder if anyone here can shed light on this for me. Does that out-in-front dog have a specific position name in the group of dogs in that situation, and is this something common only in Spain or is it seem in other parts of the world? What is the job of that front ranging dog?


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