Sunday, February 14, 2010


I get emails and requests from people to "instinct" test their...insert herding breed. Because their herding breed dog rocks at "herding" their cat....they are sure it will rock at "herding" livestock. I don't mind talking to these is all about education......there IS a difference between "herding" and "prey drive". I recently read a blog post that really sums up prey drive vs "herding"....check it out

Another fine example of beautiful "moves" but NOT herding can be found here: If you view this will see the Ethiopian wolf busting some serious moves, with style and eye....gasp......hunting! Yes, using prey drive to bring home dinner! Mind you, I have seen some nice border collies and kelpies use some similar moves on sheep!

I have watched a few youtube videos...that say "corgie puppies herding cat" or the likes. Sorry folks, but those corgie puppies are actually practicing their prey drive....on the family cat. Might be cute to some....but not to be sold as "herding".

Recently, I have sold a few border collie pups and kept one for myself. As much as I wish with all my heart that my best plans of coupling two really nice working sheepdogs will produce a World Champion......when my little Gyp busts her moves, I know she is not "herding". I also know, I won't know what she has until we get there....on stock....seeing what she has in the way of natural "herding" talent. And only time will tell what she has and if she will make it as a good working sheepdog and open trial dog.

This is my pondering as I wait, impatiently, for my ewes to give up their tiny bundles of lamby races and fun. Off to check..........

Seize the day!


  1. Lora, thank you thank you thank you! Excellent post. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Ethiopian Wolves. What a cool animal!

  2. Thank you for pointing this out. Emma (our BC/Aussie) has had one official lesson on sheep, although she has been "tested" twice. She has never tried to grip even though she has had plenty of opportunity. I think that is a good sign. But she has no idea what to do yet, that comes with the training I hope! The joy in her face is amazing when she's flying around that pen with "her" sheep.

    My husband and I have also had "our" first lesson because we know less than Emma does. (We loved it.)

  3. Ok so the Ethiopian wolf video is phenomenal. I love the part with the giant mole rat where every time the rat pops up, the wolf freezes, and every time the rat disappears the wolf RACES closer. LOVE IT. Can you say ultimate reward for the stop? :)

  4. Very well written Lora and the video of the wolves was awesome!

  5. I really like this post you put a ton of thought into it and did a sweet job of differentiating between herding and prey drive.


  6. Lora, great post and I heartily agree. I too get people who want to get their dog instinct tested because it stalks another (insert animal here)and constantly have to tell them that this is not herding instinct. Just because someone has a herding breed dog, does not make it a herding dog until it is tested, trained and proofed.
    I'm sending you prunes for the ewes. I'm loving the sunshine, so I'm NOT thinking storms. ;-)

  7. GREAT post Lora!! :-) Completely agree!