8 Small Herding Dog Breeds

When we think of herding dogs, images of robust, energetic breeds like the Border Collie often come to mind. But did you know that the herding group also includes some smaller, equally capable breeds? These pint-sized powerhouses are not just adorable; they’re also fiercely intelligent and surprisingly adept at managing livestock. Let’s explore eight small herding dog breeds that pack a big punch in their compact frames.

The Role of Herding Dogs

Before we dive in, let’s chat about what makes herding dogs special. Herding dogs are bred to help control and move livestock. They are known for their intelligence, agility, and the ability to work tirelessly. While they vary in size and appearance, their drive to herd is a unifying trait.

1. Shetland Sheepdog: The Miniature Collie

Characteristics of the Sheltie

  • Appearance: Resembles a smaller Collie with a long, lush coat.
  • Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, and eager to please.

Shelties in Action

Shelties are brilliant and trainable, making them excellent for herding and companion roles.

2. Pembroke Welsh Corgi: The Royal Favorite

Pembroke Corgi at a Glance

  • Appearance: Short legs, long body, and expressive faces.
  • Personality: Affectionate, smart, and surprisingly athletic.

Corgis in the Field

Don’t let their short stature fool you; Corgis are agile and have a natural herding instinct.

3. Australian Terrier: The Down-Under Dog

Exploring the Aussie Terrier

  • Looks: A small, sturdy frame with a rough coat.
  • Traits: Fearless, energetic, and intelligent.

The Aussie Terrier’s Herding Skills

Originally bred for hunting, their tenacity translates well to herding tasks.

4. Miniature American Shepherd: The Compact American

The Mini American Shepherd

  • Appearance: Similar to the Australian Shepherd but smaller.
  • Disposition: Loyal, good-natured, and highly trainable.

Their Role in Herding

They’re excellent at herding smaller livestock and are great at agility courses.

5. Norwegian Buhund: The Viking’s Companion

Meet the Buhund

  • Look: A spitz-type breed with a thick coat.
  • Personality: Energetic, alert, and friendly.

Buhunds in Herding

Their Viking heritage means they’re no strangers to hard work and adapt well to herding.

6. Icelandic Sheepdog: The Arctic Herder

Understanding the Icelandic Sheepdog

  • Appearance: Fluffy coat and curled tail.
  • Nature: Playful, affectionate, and hardworking.

Their Herding Prowess

Despite their fluffy appearance, they’re tough and agile, perfect for herding in rough terrains.

7. Swedish Vallhund: The Viking Dog

Characteristics of the Vallhund

  • Looks: A sturdy body, wolf-like features.
  • Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, and watchful.

Vallhunds at Work

Their strong herding instincts make them excellent farm dogs, even in modern settings.

8. Cardigan Welsh Corgi: The Ancient Herder

The Cardigan Corgi

  • Appearance: Similar to the Pembroke but with a tail.
  • Personality: Affectionate, loyal, and protective.

Cardigan Corgis in Herding

They are versatile workers, adept at herding and also make great family pets.

Conclusion: Celebrating the Diversity in Small Herding Breeds

These eight small herding dog breeds remind us that size isn’t everything. Each breed brings its unique blend of charm, intelligence, and work ethic. Whether you’re looking for a working dog or a loyal companion, these small herders offer the best of both worlds.


Q1: Are small herding dogs suitable for apartment living?

A: Yes, with proper exercise and mental stimulation, many small herding breeds can adapt well to apartment living.

Q2: How much exercise do small herding dogs need?

A: They typically need a moderate to high amount of exercise due to their high energy levels.

Q3: Are these breeds good with children?

A: Generally, yes. However, it’s important to supervise interactions and teach both the dog and children how to interact safely.

Q4: Do small herding dogs require special training?

A: While they are intelligent and learn quickly, consistent training and socialization are essential for a well-behaved pet.

Q5: Can these breeds participate in dog sports?

A: Absolutely! Many excel in agility, obedience, and other dog sports, thanks to their intelligence and agility.

Victorine Jardine, a M.Sc. Part 1 student with 3 years of content writing experience, is a specialist in Health (Weight Loss, Fat Burn Food etc.), Astrology and pets topics. With a deep love for animals, Jardine also provides informative content on pet care, behavior, and the bond between humans and their furry companions. Know the enchanting worlds of zodiac signs and pets through Victorine Jardine's engaging writing.

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