Guild of Shepherds & Collies

The Most Energetic & Intelligent Herding Breeds

energetic & intelligent - featured image once published two articles that included the top five most energetic dogs and the top five most intelligent dogs, as voted by 122 veterinary experts. You may, or may not, be surprised to know that three herding breeds made the list in each category, making herding breeds among the most energetic & intelligent dog breeds. 

For the most energetic breeds, the list included the Australian Cattle Dog at number five, the Australian Shepherd at number three, and the Border Collie at number two.

For the most intelligent breeds, the list included the Australian Shepherd at number four, the German Shepherd at number two, and the Border Collie as number one.

Although there are only a few specific breeds mentioned in these lists, the combination of energy and intelligence is true for almost all herding breeds. Which means that if you are considering bringing a herding breed into your home, there are some things you should consider first.


  1. Energy Level

Why all the energy? Please remember that for centuries, herding breeds were bred for the sole purpose of spending the entirety of each day working tirelessly to herd cattle and sheep. Although we have since transitioned our energetic working breeds to be companions, rather than workers, it doesn’t mean that the energy is gone. Thankfully, the rise of dog sports like agility, flyball, and competitive herding has replaced the long workdays as an outlet for these high-energy breeds.

That being said, if you are considering a herding breed, you need to provide them with a proper outlet for their energy, or you may be asking for trouble. When it comes to herding breeds, well-behaved dogs are tired dogs. You don’t have to have them involved in a competition, however, you have to make a commitment to provide them with enough activities and exercise.

  1. Brain Games

As made clear by the lists above, not only do herding breeds need appropriate exercise, but they also need mental activity. Once again, dog sports provide a great outlet. However, if you and your family cannot commit to participating in a dog sport, make sure you work on basic daily training and provide your future dog with the appropriate mental challenges.

  1. Space

Since the herding group comprises very intelligent and energetic dogs, it is ideal for them to have their own space to run around. I am a prime example of someone who owns a small herding breed (Corgi) with a small home and a small yard. However, I make the commitment to get Rooney his proper exercise that includes a combination of running, walking and hiking almost every day.


If you and your family are ready to commit to providing your future dog with the training, activity, and exercise required to make a herding breed happy, then I recommend that you continue browsing this site for information on specific breeds as well as tips for care and training.



Article By:
Rachel Sheppard
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