Life with a Herding Dog? (for goats) - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 07-29-2014, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Life with a Herding Dog? (for goats)

Our goat herd is growing, and soon we want to move to a significantly larger property.
Right now we're on 6 acres, but we're looking for something more along the lines of 20 acres.

In a space that large, with more and more goats to manage, we're starting to look into the best herding breed for us.
To that end, are herders meant to live indoors or outdoors?
With the herd or separate?

Some of the breeds we're considering are:
Corgi, German Shepherd, Border Collie and Shetland Sheepdog
Thoughts?

As guardians, we currently have a Great Pyrenees that lives with the does/kids, and a mini jack that lives with the bucks.
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-29-2014, 12:38 AM
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Most herding breeds are very people-oriented, not like livestock guardians (like the pyrenees).

Personally, for goats, I would think a border collie or a sheltie would be the best bet, as they were bred to herd sheep/goats.

Corgis are great little dogs, but tend to herd by nipping, which is fine with cattle, but with sheep/goats, might be a bit excessive.

I think a GSD would be a bit overkill. Plus, finding one bred for herding in the US might be a bit of a challenge. The majority of GSDs now are bred for protection/guarding work, not herding.

This is based on personal opinion, having worked with and around all four breeds.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-29-2014, 12:43 AM
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I would suggest a border collie or cross with mcnab or Kelpie. Our herding dogs were kept outside in kennels or by our side, never left alone to roam. On 20 acres you might want to invest in livestock guardian dog as well. Our Pyrenees were fierce protectors, not people friendly and lived 24/7 with the herd.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-29-2014, 11:01 AM
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All the places I've been with herding dogs have owned border collies. They seem to be a very popular herding dog, and they're good family dogs as well.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-31-2014, 11:49 PM
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I've never heard of people herding goats..they are rather independent and don't have a huge flocking instinct.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-31-2014, 11:54 PM
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Goats will make a dog work Lol. A lady that trained dogs in our area would ask if she could work our goats every now and again just to make the dogs really think and work. They were just penning the goats, the goats would stick in pairs and scatter.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-31-2014, 11:55 PM
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^^ good point from Yogiwick. I was just about to agree with the Border collie vote when I saw that.

The only large herd of goats I have known (they were Pygmy goats) came as a herd for feed, for water, for routine. But herdable?... I don't know!


Ooh, now I have just remembered my childhood watching of the series Heidi (badly dubbed into English if I recall). I seem to recall the children spending their days guarding/herding the small flock of goats on the idyllic mountainside. Maybe you need to find an orphaned Austrian child instead?

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post #8 of 16 Old 07-31-2014, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shropshirerosie View Post
Ooh, now I have just remembered my childhood watching of the series Heidi (badly dubbed into English if I recall). I seem to recall the children spending their days guarding/herding the small flock of goats on the idyllic mountainside. Maybe you need to find an orphaned Austrian child instead?
Thank you. That seriously just made me snort out kiwi strawberry Snapple from my nose.
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-01-2014, 12:08 AM
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lol!

I have Shetland sheep and as a primitive breed they are known to be ...difficult to herd. They will challenge the dog, run in opposite directions, know exactly where they are supposed to go and make a point of not going there, etc... I'd imagine goats would be even worse.
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-10-2014, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
I've never heard of people herding goats..they are rather independent and don't have a huge flocking instinct.
On the Downlands, which are all hills, there was a lot of undergrowth so the National Trust have turned goats out on two sondes of the land. These are now totally feral but once a year they bring them in for worming, neutering the kids and culling.

Out walking it was nothing for my Border Collie and GSD to find some of these goats and herd them back to me! One of the wardens saw this happening and called me over. I thought he was going to give me a rollicking but instead he asked for my phone number so he could call me to use the dogs to bring the goats in!
My BC has gone over the bridge but the GSD will work on her own.

GSDs work in a totally different way to BCs they were originally bred to be walking fences. Once trained you could walk them around an area and leave them to keep the sheep within that area and to be a protector to the flock from predators. They are bolder than BCs and will stand up more strongly to a rampant ram or ewe with young lambs, they will jump forward barking whereas a BC will use strong eye and a nip.

So, goats are herdable, personally and because I have used then as working dogs for years, I would go for the BC.
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