Thousands of dogs travel to New York City each year to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, presented by Purina® PRO PLAN®.
Each American Kennel Club (AKC)-recognized dog breed falls into one of seven Groups. The Herding Group is the fourth Group to take the ring, competing on the first night of the two-day dog show.
History of the Herding Group
The AKC created its newest classification, the Herding Group, in 1983. Before 1983, herding dogs competed in the Working Group. Today, the Herding Group includes 30 breeds. They range in size from the small Corgi to the large German Shepherd Dog.
Herding Dog Breeds
All herding dog breeds in this Group share the innate skill of guiding and controlling other animals’ movements. As household pets, however, the vast majority of these dogs never cross paths with a farm animal.
Still, pure instinct urges them to herd their humans, especially children. These dogs are smart and especially responsive to training, though. Plus, they’re loving, loyal companions. The Herding Group includes all the following breeds and more.
- Australian Shepherd: Nicknamed the “Aussie,” this breed is a cowboy’s first choice when it comes to herding. They’re intelligent, energetic and hard-working.
- Border Collie: This herding dog is an energetic and bright workaholic. They’re happiest when they have a job to do, whether it’s herding, agility or some other skill.
- German Shepherd Dog: First bred as a sheep herder, the GSD is now one of the most popular breeds. They’re often used by military and police, but also make great service dogs.
- Polish Lowland Sheepdog: Bred to herd and guard sheep, this herding dog sports a muscular build covered in a long, shaggy double coat.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi: This low-set breed stands about 30cm tall and is a surprising—yet impressive—herding dog. Corgis can drive a herd of cows many times their size to pasture by leaping and nipping at their heels.
Fun Facts About the Herding Group
- The German Shepherd Dog is the winningest breed in the AKC Herding Group with 10 Group wins, most recently in 2016.
- The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has the most consecutive wins with 3 between the years 2000 and 2002.
- Since 1983, only two Best In Show winners have come from the Herding Group. Both were German Shepherd Dogs.
- The Pumi is the newest breed in the Herding Group, making its first WKC appearance in 2016.
- In 2019, the Bouvier Des Flandres won the Group competition.