Working dogs, and in this respect herding dogs are of significant value to a livestock producer. Their value cannot be underestimated.
Kelpies, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Huntaways are all working hard for a pat and a bowl of food, day in day out. The value these dogs can add to a farming operation is tenfold of what they cost to purchase and feed.
Now not all dogs are equal, and like purchasing anything research is required. Just like humans some have strengths and others have weaknesses. The success in having a good working dog is finding one who has the strengths you need. This is why buying from a reputable breeder/trainer, who understands what is really required in a great farm dog and produces dogs accordingly is important.
The type of jobs these dogs can assist with vary greatly. From rounding up a flock of 300 sheep in a hundred acre field, to pushing recalcitrant cattle onto a truck. There is a dog out there who can assist you with almost any job – although maybe not putting a ring on a ram lamb, but the dog can sure help bring them in, draft them off, and push them up the race, all while you prepare the gear for lamb marking.
The common traits in all good working dogs are intelligence, inherited talent and biddability (how easy they are to work with). No point having a dog which runs off and wont listen, or a dog slow to learn. There is something very special about watching a pup display ‘all the moves’ naturally.
Border Collies and Kelpies are the masters of rounding up animals with style and finesse. The Australian Cattle Dogs and Huntaways are the masters of pushing stock forward and handling pushy animals. The ACDs with their teeth and the Huntaways with their big, booming bark.
Once you have had a great working dog you will never head out to do farm chores without one ever again.