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I've heard this is the latest and greatest thing to hit the homestead/hobby farm scene, going down the same road as emu and alpaca and eucalyptus farming. From what I've seen they are largely pets and tourist attractions. I saw a report on agritourism where one Christmas tree farmer did a corn maze and his wife did the Santa's reindeer petting zoo and souvenier Shoppe where she sold Christmas crafts.


Here's one farm in Alaska. Pricey beasts! http://www.reindeerfarm.com/sale.htm


In their native land they are used for pretty much everything by the Sami peoples - meat, milk, hides, transportation, horn to carve, etc. They are managed in large herds and although it's called "herding" management is more passive, with the Sami reindeer keepers following the natural migratory patterns of the animals. The use of dogs seems to be uncommon. There's a great description here: http://www.inarinpaliskunnat.org/rhyear.html

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When I visited my daughter in Finland, we drove throughout Lapland, home of the Sami and reindeer. It was fascinating because the herds go WHEREVER they want to...and I do mean wherever! We often had to stop on the road as a herd meandered along. Since there was no fencing, the various herds are identifed by distinctive ear markings. As well, along the side of the road, we would see a pole marked with coloured ribbons which also identified the various Sami family groups and by default, their reindeer herd.

I was there in early June, so it was light almost 24 hours. My greatest experience was starting a hike at 10 pm. and having reindeer following us as we hiked the hills.

Since reindeer are similar to the caribou, I doubt they would take to 'herding' very well. I would think they would view the dogs as predators.

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Weren't Samoyeds once used to herd reindeer?
It's possible that a few ancestors of today's Samoyeds may have been used in some stock-related capacity.


(You should see me trying to hold my tongue when the neighbor brings his new pup to visit and says, "You know, bouviers are herding dogs, too." No wonder my friends think I'm such a working border collie snob :cool: )



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The reindeer herds have been domesticated for a long time, unlike the caribou in North America who were never domesticated. The Reindeer were also used to pull sleds, etc. My understanding is that Samoyeds were originally a multi-purpose breed - used for herding- how I don't know, I would imagine keeping the herd together - more of a tending style of work?, pulling sleds, packdogs, guarding tents etc.


The Bouviers were also used as herding/guarding dogs, but I don't know how they were supposed to work - as a driving or tending breed? In Europe, most "herding" breeds were also developed to be multi-purpose, so not only used for herding in whatever kind of capacity but to guard, cart, ratters, etc. As one person that I know has pointed out with respect to some of the European breeds:


"Some breeds were bred for versatility, like Giant Schnauzers. They had a

modicum of talent for pretty much any task they were set to, willingness

to work with people necessary to most jobs and sports, and the

intelligence to add learning to their talent. . When a Giant Schnauzer works sheep,

we're assessing the ability of the handler to train and refine that

little bit of talent that the dog brought to the task. Sometimes I think

that when a good BC works sheep, we're assessing the ability of the

handler to get the hell out of the dog's way and let him do his job."

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Bouviers are herding dogs not guard dogs. I have some friends who herd with some nice ones. They are very fun to watch. Sheep learn quick not to mess with the big black dogs. They do it all a relaxed pace.


Reindeer are herded with dogs but they are more gatherer type dogs. They are from the spitz family. In Norway it's called a Nowegian Buhund.They have other names in Sweden and Finland


FYI Norwegian Elkhounds are actually moose herding dogs. Their name is really Elghund. Elg is moose in norwegian. They track, gather and hold the moose for the hunters.


All the spitz breeds that herd do it with a lot of barking. Not silent like the border collie.


The border collie's style of herding is really pretty unique.

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Here ya go, Luisa. http://photobucket.com/albums/v296/brookco...%20Trial/Wendy/




Apparetnly they are still used on some farms in France. The Border collie has nearly replaced many native stockdog breeds in Europe, however - just as it replaced almost every regional stockdog strain in Europe. For good reason! :rolleyes:

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Wendy is one of the bouvs I was speaking of. I've watched Karen come along way with her.


I think the border collie way of herding has become the expected norm esp in the "show world".

In the practical world of everyday getting it done I think many of these other breeds are still useful and perfered by their original owners.

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