Herding is fun and a great way to meet new people. It will help you bond with your dog and it will get great rewards from doing work that it was bred to do. Read on for some FAQs about Herding.
Why should breeders be interested in herding?
Participating in herding helps you keep perspective between the breed’s original functionality - and the modern aesthetic requirements of the conformation ring. It confirms a breed’s correct temperament, soundness, endurance, trainability, pad, and foot and coat quality to mention a few.
What is the ANKC Herding program?
The ANKC program aims to preserve the working instinct and ability of all breeds with herding origin. This can be easily lost when breeding for exhibition in the show ring. Many of these breeds have working styles that differ greatly from the modern sheepdogs we see in Australia today. Like all herding dogs they developed as a response to local conditions and needs in the breed’s country of origin. Many of these through pedigree recording and exhibition went on to be recognized as pure breeds.
The ANKC Herding Program is designed to preserve the traditional working styles and herding instinct in all breeds with herding origin and recognise these by way of instinct certificates and herding titles.
What dogs are eligible for ANKC titles?
All breeds of herding origin are welcome:
- ANKC group 5 breeds.
- Other ANKC recognized herding breeds: Bernese Mountain dogs, Norwegian Elkhound, Samoyed, Keeshond, Kerry Blue, Tibetan and Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Standard and Giant Schnauzers.
- Dogs that are registered on the Associate Register and are clearly a mix of herding breeds.
- Dogs which are registered on the Sporting Register.
Where can I go to watch a herding trial?
ANKC Herding trials are held one weekend a month at Dogs NSW Complex at Erskine Park from March to October.
Sheepdog trials are held nearly every weekend from March to October all over Australia- trial calendars are easily found on the internet.
What titles can I earn?
ANKC titles can be earned on sheep, cattle and ducks. They progress through the non competitive tests- herding test (HT) and Pre-trial test (PT). Then you move to trial level- where handlers & dogs can compete on three different courses at three levels- Herding Started, Herding Intermediate and Herding Advanced. A Herding Champion is a dog that has its Advanced title on two different types of stock and has earned 15 championship points on each of those stock- with a minimum of a first place in each. Very difficult!
Where can I go to train?
Regular training is held on Dogs NSW Complex at Erskine Park virtually every weekend from March to November.
Several affiliates provide training opportunities at Erskine Park- Bearded Collie Club, Border Collie Club, German Shepherd Dog League and the Australian Stock Dog Club. Hawkesbury Sheepdog Trialling Club is another affiliate that operates regular training at Richmond showgrounds. Contact the Dogs NSW office for contact details for club secretaries who can provide training dates and times.
What age can I start my puppy?
It is recommended that dogs needs to be around 6 months of age – though some trainers like to start them earlier.
Ground rules at Erskine Park require puppies to be a minimum of 3 months of age. Care needs to be taken introducing puppies to stock as one bad experience as a sensitive puppy cannot always be undone. You also have to balance the physical and mental demands of herding with the relative maturity of your puppy - some can start earlier than others. Your puppy must be at least 6 months of age before it can enter an ANKC Herding Instinct Test.
What do I wear?
Safe attire for a handler is protective - a hat, a comfortable shirt, long pants and tough covered shoes. You need practical clothing that won’t get caught but allows you to move around - think farmer! Your dog needs to wear a flat buckle or snap collar that cannot be pulled over the head. A long leash ( 6ft ) is essential.
Your dog needs to know its name and come when it’s called as a minimum. All other commands can be trained on stock. Herding dogs need to work away from the handler - so very highly trained obedience dogs may take a little longer to free themselves up and start working.
How do I find an instructor and know if an instructor is qualified?
All instructors training on the grounds at Erskine Park have been approved by the Sporting Committee, and the Board of Directors. This ensures they have met a minimum standard of accomplishment in training their own dogs - and more importantly have demonstrated both a willingness and aptitude to pass on knowledge to others, while ensuring the safe handling of stock.
For more information or to get involved on ANKC herding
Sue Fedoryschyn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Moy: email@example.com