What do the Standard Schnauzer, Boerboel, Giant Schnauzer, Kerry Blue Terrier, Norwegian Elkhound, Great Swiss Mountain Dog. Bernese Mountain Dog, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Boxer, Rottweiler, and Samoyed have in common (besides the obvious: They are all purebred dogs registered with the AKC?). We’ll give you a visual hint below:
They are all breeds not found in the AKC’s Herding Group that are eligible to compete in AKC herding events and instinct trials. The presence of terriers like the Kerry Blue Terrier and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier might surprise some of you, but back in the day, both the Kerry Blue and Wheaten were used to control vermin and serve as herding dogs; in the case of the Kerry Blue, hunt and retrieve small game and birds, as well. Many of the other breeds mentioned were once all-around farm dogs, and as such, were relied upon to move stock from one place to another as part of their duties. Rottweilers were originally drovers, as were Schnauzers in Germany. Norwegian Elkhounds got their start as herding dogs in the time of Vikings, while Samoyeds herded reindeer. Digging into a breed’s history can reveal all sorts of insights into the dogs we call our companions.
For anyone curious, the breed of sheep pictured above is the “Racka,” an old breed native to Hungary and noted for its ability to survive tough winters. The horns alone should explain why Hungarian sheepdogs like the Puli, Mudi and Pumi are so wily and agile.
Image of Samoyed with reindeer comes from Pinterest and will be happily credited upon receipt of information