Introducing the Pastoral Breed Group
Posted on: April 05 2016
Associated with herding sheep, cattle or working with all manner of livestock, the breeds within the Pastoral group were all originally bred for herding, droving or guarding animals. Still widely used today for these very purposes, the Pastoral breed group consists of 33 different breeds with a fair few different types of Sheepdog represented as well as the popular Collie, the German Shepherd, choice of police and fire and rescue teams across the globe and the Queen’s favourite, the Welsh Corgi.
Recognise any familiar breeds amongst the Pastoral group?
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Australian Cattle Dog
Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)
Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois)
Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)
Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervueren)
Estrela Mountain Dog
German Shepherd Dog
Old English Sheepdog
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Pyrenean Sheepdog (Long Haired)
Turkish Kangal Dog
Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)
Welsh Corgi (Pembroke)
These dogs are never better than when they are busy doing a job and they love being in the company of their owners. Their natural guarding and herding instincts can lead them to become rather fixated on toys and owners but these traits can be harnessed with plenty of socialisation, handling and training. A Collie that isn’t occupied can tend to be rather badly behaved - that’s why these dogs make such great competitors when it comes to obedience training, agility, field trials or heelwork.
Always eager to play and with bags of energy, the Pastoral breeds are real people pleasers and suit families who love the great outdoors who are able to keep them active and engage their intelligent natures. These breeds need between 1 and 2 hours of exercise per day in order to keep mentally and physically stimulated. If you think about the life of a working sheepdog for example, they are out all day with the farmer, performing different tasks and constantly walking or running about so with this lifestyle in mind, it is important to focus on keeping these dogs busy to help them use up all their natural energy. In terms of feeding, a high performance food that is designed to release energy slowly is great for these active breeds who have plenty of stamina. Typically though, you might expect to have average food bills of up to £10 per week depending on the type of food and brand you buy. As always, it is best to consult your vet or breeder when it comes to choosing the best quality nutrition for your dog.
Varying in size, dogs in the Pastoral group come in small, medium and large with a maximum weight usually of anywhere up to 40kg for the male dogs of breeds such as German Shepherds and Old English Sheepdogs. Grooming needs are also very different within the group, from the almost dreadlock curls of the Hungarian Puli to the double-coated Border Collie but weekly grooming is generally advised in order to keep their coats in tip top shape. Their average lifespan is generally between 8-12 years with some of these breeds living up to 15 years so you can expect your companion to enjoy a long life with you.
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