Is it possible that the fluffy little Pomeranian is or was a herding dog?
Pomeranians are known as companions or “lapdogs” but, not that long ago they were much larger in size and were working dogs. They helped their owners with pulling sleds, hunting, protection, and herding livestock. Do Pomeranians still have herding instincts?
In this article, I provide all of the answers about Pomeranians’ herding history and behaviors. I also provide information about herding dogs and what you can do to help your dog exercise that herding instinct.
- What Are Herding Dogs
- What Traits Do Herding Dogs Have
- Is A Pomeranian A Herding Dog
- Are Spitz Dogs Herding Dogs
- Why Do Some Dogs Herd Kids
- How To Prevent Herding Behaviors From Becoming A Problem
- Do Herding Dogs Make Good Family Dogs
- Do Herding Dogs Have Other Jobs Beside Herding Farm Animals
- List Of Herding Dogs
- Final Thoughts
- Other Articles You May Enjoy
What Are Herding Dogs
Herding dogs are a classification of dogs the have been born and bred to round up farm animals like sheep, cattle, and goats.
These dogs have been a vital part of livestock farming. The dogs assist with keeping the group of livestock together so they move as one fluid group and help keep predators away from the farm animals.
AKC Classification Of Herding Dogs
Up until 1983 the dogs in the herding group belonged to the working group.
Herding dogs have a close relationship with their handlers. Their intelligence and responsiveness make them very easy to train.
What Traits Do Herding Dogs Have
Herding dogs tend to be agile, loyal and fast. They are also very smart, athletic, agile, happy and energetic.
The temperment of herding dogs vary from breed to breed within the herding group.
Some common traits of herding dogs include.
- High Energy
Pomeranians do have some of the characteristics that herding dogs have. I have observed my Pomeranians as being Intelligent, protective, and loyal. Overall, they are not high energy, anxious and active but, they have shown signs that they could be athletic with further training.
Is A Pomeranian A Herding Dog
Pomeranians were originally much larger in size until Queen Victoria decided she wanted her Pomeranians to be smaller and become more of a lap dog. Many of her dogs won awards and drew attention to the smaller size which, naturally gained in popularity.
Before Pomeranains became the small lap dogs they are today, they were once working dogs that pulled sleds, hunted, protected their owners, and assisted with herding livestock.
I have never seen my Pomeranians show any signs of being herding dogs. They do follow me around the house where ever I go but, that is more out of companionship than herding behavior.
Are Spitz Dogs Herding Dogs
Spitz breeds originated in cold climates and were bred to work. Many Spitz dogs hauled sleds, assisted with hunting, and were herding dogs.
Some Spitz breeds may show more signs of a herding desire than others. It will depend on the traits of the specific dog breed.
I had a Norweigan Elkhound who is a member of the Spitz catagory. They can be known as herding dogs but, my beloved Chewbacca never showed signs of herding tendancies, he did love running through the snow.
Why Do Some Dogs Herd Kids
Dogs that have a strong herding drive are known to herd children.
Many herding breeds still have a strong instinct to search, stalk, and chase. These behaviors are the first steps in a set of behaviors that have been hardwired into some dogs and date back to the ancestors of dogs.
Depending on the dog breed’s original purpose a dog may have a much stronger prey drive and herding instinct compared to others. Border Collies for example were bred to herd sheep. These amazing dogs have the ability to manipulate their herds with a glaring stare.
A Border Collie will have a much stronger prey drive and herding instincts in comparison to breeds like the Shih Tzu who were bred solely as companions. They were even given as gifts to the Emperors Of China.
When we were kids our family had Shelties. They would sometimes nip at our ankles in an effort to herd us. This behavior happened most often when we were playing and running outside. Their herding instincts took over and they would try to keep up from wandering too far away.
Is It A Problem That My Dog Herds My Kids
Herding dogs are known for being very intelligent and quick on their feet.
If your dog is herding your kids or other people it can become very irritating. A slight irritation can escalate into nipping, tearing at clothing, and biting people.
The best way to deal with a dog that has been showing signs of herding people is to correct the behavior through training.
If your dog is a puppy the process of training should be fairly easy a good obedience class and outlets for their herding energy should eliminate the negative behavior of herding people.
If your dog is older it may take longer to train in order to correct the behavior but, it is possible. If needed seek out the help of a professional dog trainer.
How To Prevent Herding Behaviors From Becoming A Problem
If you have a dog that has a strong herding instinct it’s best not to fight it and find an outlet for their energy.
Herding dogs can easily get bored, they need ways to exercise and have mental stimulation, or else their pent-up energy can develop bad habits like barking, chewing, and digging.
What Mental Simulation Is Best For Dogs
Dogs need and enjoy mental stimualtion. Some ideas to challenge your dogs brain are.
- Playing games like hide and seek
- Playing fetch
- Going for hikes and walks
- Advanced training
What Are AKC Herding Tests And Trails
The AKC conducts herding tests and trials. Herding tests and trails are a test of the dog’s herding abilities. They can be fully competitive or as a pass/fail test.
The initial tests don’t require any training. They are set up as an evaluation of the dog’s natural abilities. The one requirement is that they have had exposure to livestock before entering the test.
Not all breeds are eligible to compete in AKC herding tests and trails. Please see the list of eligible breeds on the AKC website.
What Is Treibball
Treibball (pronounced Tribe-Ball) is a simple game where your dog learns to target balls and maneuver them towards you on a playing field. The game is played with one dog and one handler at a time and is timed. This ables dogs and handlers of all abilities to play.
What Is Flyball
Flyball is a wonderful sport for dogs that are obsessed with tennis balls. Flyball is a race where each dog dashes across a set of hurdles, when they reach the end they need to release a tennis ball into the air by pushing a spring-loaded pad with their paws. The dogs catch the tennis ball and retreat back over the hurdles to their owners.
Is Agility Training Good For Herding Dogs
Agility is great for herding dogs. Getting your dog involved in agility is a great way for them to get exercise, have mental stimulation, and burn that natural herding instinct. It’s also a wonderful way to bond with your dog.
Even if you don’t have access to a real course, you can enjoy creating one in your yard.
Do Herding Dogs Make Good Family Dogs
Herding dogs are a great choice for family that is active and has plenty of time to exercise their fluffy friend.
A dog that has been bred for herding has a lot of energy that needs to be burned. A home that has a large backyard for running and playing or access to a park is perfect for a herding dog.
Do Herding Dogs Have Other Jobs Beside Herding Farm Animals
Many breeds that belong to the herding group are used in the police force and as guard dogs like the German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.
The traits that these dogs are born with make them great herding dogs help them excel in this line of work.
List Of Herding Dogs
The herding dog group includes the following dogs.
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Australian Shepherd
- Bearded Collie
- Belgian Laekenois
- Belgian Malinois
- Belgian Sheep Dog
- Belgian Tervuren
- Bergamasco Sheepdog
- Berger Picard
- Border Collie
- Bouvier des Flanders
- Caanan Dog
- Entlebucher Mountain Dog
- Finnish Lapphund
- German Shepherd
- Icelandic Sheep Dog
- Miniature American Shepherd
- Norweign Buhound
- Old English Sheep Dog
- Polish Lowland Sheep Dog
- Pyernana Shepherd
- Sheltie (Shetland Sheep Dog)
- Spanish Water Dog
- Swedish Vallhound
For more information on these herding breeds you can visit the AKC for a description of each breed.
Although Pomeranians were once working dogs that assisted with herding livestock, they are now little companions that bring us so much joy.
I can imagine the amount of love and companionship that these dogs provided to their owner’s hundreds of years ago even though they were needed to work.
Herding dogs can be wonderful companions as well as long as you have outlets for them to burn off their natural energy, and stimulate the minds to avoid boredom and negative behaviors like herding your children and guests.