When you think of dogs, Shepherd breeds may not be the first breed that comes to mind. But these hard-working canines have been around for centuries, and they’ve even played an important role in the history of most countries.
If you’re interested in learning about some of the world’s most intelligent and hard-working dogs, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re talking about 20 different types of Shepherd breeds you may not have heard of and that you are sure to fall in love with!
Table of Contents
What Are Shepherd Breeds? The Origin Of Shepherd Dogs
Shepherd dogs are bred working dogs often tasked with herding sheep and protecting livestock.
A shepherd dog is a type of dog bred specifically to herd or guard livestock. These types of dogs have been around for thousands of years, and because there are so many different breeds, their exact origin can be tricky to pinpoint.
However, like most dogs, the Shepherd breeds we know and love today were primarily created by crossing different types of breeds over generations to perfect dogs with specific characteristics for working purposes.
It’s believed that the first shepherds most likely came from Western Asia and eventually evolved from dogs that were bred by nomadic tribes over time. These dogs were used to help herd sheep, goats, cattle, and other livestock. Shepherds traveled with their charges across vast distances and, as a result, these dogs needed to be strong enough to protect their owners’ livestock from predators like wolves and lions.
Shepherd breeds also had to be intelligent enough to learn commands quickly so their owners could direct them easily during their travels.
Today’s shepherd breeds are also known for their intelligence and loyalty. Some may be slightly reserved with strangers but most Shepherd breeds are not known to be aggressive unless provoked or poorly socialized.
And while shepherd breeds were originally bred as livestock herders and protectors of flocks, today they play a variety of other roles. Many popular shepherd dogs serve as guard dogs and police dogs, rescue dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, and companions.
Are you curious about Shepherd breeds? Here are 20 Shepherd breeds you’re sure to fall in love with!
1. The German Shepherd
German Shepherds have consistently been ranked as one of the most popular dogs in the United States, according to the ACK.
The German Shepherd originated in Germany and was originally bred for herding and protecting sheep. This is one of our Shepherd breeds that is known for working as a modern-day police and military dog, and he is especially famous for his intelligence and devotion to his owners.
Not only is the German Shepherd one of the most popular breeds in the world, but the American Kennel Club ranks this dog as the third most popular breed in the United States.
2. The Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolian Shepherds are large dogs likely created from crossing shepherds with mastiffs.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a large-sized livestock guardian dog that originated in Turkey. The breed was developed for the purpose of protecting sheep and other livestock from predators such as bears, wolves, jackals, hyenas, and leopards.
This breed is also known as the Kangal Dog, Akbash Dog, and Turkish Kangal Dog. One of the larger Shepherd breeds on our list, the Anatolian Shepherd can weigh anywhere between 100-200 pounds when fully grown.
This dog is best suited for more experienced dog owners and requires routine training, early socialization, and proper mental stimulation in order to remain happy and well-rounded in a home.
3. The Border Collie
The Border Collie is one of the most popular and intelligent dogs in the world.
Though not always seen as a Shepherd breed, the Border Collie is indeed a herding dog that is a descendant of Shepherd breeds known for their intellect, endurance, and obedience.
Today, the Border Collie is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are intelligent, energetic, and loyal dogs who are eager to please their owners and enjoy having a job to do. They get along well with other dogs, but they do need a lot of exercise and room to run.
Border Collies were first bred by shepherds in the border region between England and Scotland. These working dogs were bred for their intense focus and stamina in order to herd sheep on very large ranches. Border Collies have been used as military dogs during both World Wars. They also work as search and rescue dogs, and as service dogs for people with disabilities.
4. The White Swiss Shepherd Dog
The White Swiss Shepherd is a beautiful herding breed that has now become a popular companion.
The White Swiss Shepherd is a medium-sized working dog that was originally bred as a herding dog but has since become increasingly popular in recent years as a companion.
The White Swiss Shepherd was developed in Switzerland in the late 19th century by crossing German Shepherds with Bernese Mountain Dogs and Rottweilers. The resulting breed was named the Berger Blanc Suisse, which translates to “white shepherd of Switzerland”. This beautiful breed is known to be intelligent and loyal to its owners. It can also make an excellent family dog when properly raised, trained, and socialized.
5. The Bohemian Shepherd
Bohemian Shepherds are considered a rare breed.
When it comes to Shepherd breeds, you may not have heard of the Bohemian Shepherd. That’s because the Bohemian Shepherd is a rare breed of dog known for being intelligent, highly active, and protective. This is one of our Shepherd breeds that requires early socialization and training to learn proper obedience and commands.
The Bohemian Shepherd was developed by crossing German Shepherds with other Shepherd breeds including Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs, German Pinschers, and Kishu Inus. This crossbreeding was intended to produce dogs with increased intelligence and trainability in order to enhance their working abilities such as tracking, search and rescue work, and guardianship.
6. The Belgian Shepherd
The Belgian Shepherd is a beautiful herding dog that comes in four variations.
The Belgian Shepherd is a muscular, medium-to-large dog with a smooth, short, and dense coat.
This is a very energetic dog that is bred for working, and as such, it needs plenty of exercise every day to maintain good health. This is also one of our Shepherd breeds that can be trained for various tasks including search and rescue operations, police work, and military duties.
The Belgian Shepherd originated from Belgium in the 19th century when it was used by farmers as a herding dog for cattle, sheep, and sometimes goats. The breed was later introduced in France where it became popular as an army dog during World War I because of its fearless nature and ability to locate wounded soldiers on battlefields.
After the war, these dogs were exported to other countries including America where they gained popularity among police departments as guard dogs due to their intelligence and agility.
7. The Shiloh Shepherd
Shiloh Shepherds are often mistaken for German Shepherds though they are larger in size.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a large-sized working dog that came about through cross breeding German Shepherds and Anatolian Shepherds.
The Shiloh Shepherd was developed in the United States by breeders who hoped to create a dog that would not only herd sheep and cattle but also serve as a guardian for their property and family.
This breed is still not recognized by most major kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), or Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). However, there are several smaller registries that do recognize it as an official breed.
8. The King Shepherd
King Shepherds are a mix between German Shepherds and other breeds.
The King Shepherd is a larger and more muscular Shepherd breed with a broad chest and powerful legs. He was developed in Russia by crossing the Caucasian Mountain Dog with the Great Pyrenees, Komondor, and other Shepherd breeds.
He was first bred to guard livestock but has since been used as a military working dog because of his strength and endurance.
His temperament varies depending on his breeding, but he can have aggressive tendencies toward strangers if not properly socialized at an early age. For this reason, this is one of our Shepherd breeds that is best suited for more experienced dog owners with plenty of time to dedicate to this intelligent dog.
9. The Bucovina Shepherd
A rare breed in the United States, Bucovina Shepherds are ancient dogs hailing from Romania.
The Bucovina Shepherd is a rare breed of dog that originates from Romania. These dogs are very popular in their native country and have been bred for centuries to be great shepherd breeds. While these dogs do make great companions, they are also commonly still used as working dogs today.
10. The Tatra Shepherd
These large white herding dogs are still commonly used as farm dogs to this day.
The Tatra Shepherd is a medium-sized Shepherd dog with a long history as a flock guardian. Today, the Tatra Shepherd is still used for herding sheep on farms. It has also been used as a military dog, police dog, and search and rescue dog.
The Tatra Shepherd was bred to guard flocks of sheep against predators such as wolves, bears, lynxes, foxes, and dogs. The breed was created as a result of crossing local shepherd breeds with German Shepherd Dogs brought to Poland by German settlers at the end of World War II.
11. The Miniature American Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd is a bred-down version of the Australian Shepherd.
The Miniature American Shepherd looks very similar to the Australian Shepherd and for good reason – this little dog is a true herding dog that was bred down from the Australian Shepherd for its agility and intelligence.
As such, the Miniature American Shepherd (or MAS) is lively, intelligent, and alert. It has a strong skill for tracking and agility work but is not competitive in show. It is sensitive to the tone of its owner’s voice so training should be done with calmness and consistency combined with praise and rewards.
The Miniature American Shepherd makes an excellent family dog due to its friendly nature with children and other pets. They are also very loyal dogs that thrive on human companionship.
12. The East-European Shepherd
Though a newer breed, these dogs are becoming quite popular.
The East-European Shepherd is a dog breed that is relatively new to the world of Shepherd breeds. It was created in Russia by crossing German Shepherds with Caucasian Ovcharka dogs, Caucasian shepherds, and Kangal dogs in 1990 by the Russian scientist Vladimir Nuzhnyi and his colleagues.
This is one of our Shepherd breeds that has been developed specifically for protection, guarding, and police work. It is an intelligent, courageous, and confident dog that requires plenty of exercise and training. They can be very protective over their family members and may be suspicious of strangers if not properly trained and socialized at an early age.
13. The English Shepherd
In spite of his name, the English Shepherd is an American dog bred by crossing Collies with a number of other herding breeds.
The English Shepherd is an American-bred, intelligent, energetic, and independent herding dog. These Shepherd breeds are very protective of their family and home and, like most herding dogs, they require plenty of exercise and socialization. They are very clever, so they also need to be mentally challenged with both training and games.
This is a medium-sized dog with a rough coat that comes in all colors except for white or black. English Shepherds are working dogs at heart that excel at herding cattle and sheep. However, they can also be good companions for families who enjoy the outdoors or live otherwise active lifestyles.
14. The Golden Shepherd
The Golden Shepherd is an intelligent and athletic mix between the German Shepherd and the GOlden Retriever.
The Golden Shepherd is a new breed of dog developed by crossing the Golden Retriever with the German Shepherd. They were bred to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, who needed a dog that could herd sheep and cattle, as well as make excellent family companions.
Due to its parent breeds, it comes as no surprise that the Golden Shepherd would make a very intelligent and trainable dog. This is also a very energetic and active dog, making it a great choice for families with children. However, these Shepherd breeds do require lots of exercise each day in order to prevent boredom from setting in.
15. The Bergamasco Shepherd
Famous for its shaggy coat that can easily become dreaded, the Bergamasco Shepherd is an intelligent and beautiful herding dog.
The Bergamasco Shepherd is a unique breed of dog hailing from Italy, named after the province of Bergamo. It is an ancient breed that may have been derived from the Roman Molossus, which is a type of mastiff. This Shepherd breed has been used for centuries as a guard dog and flock guardian, but today it is primarily kept as a companion.
The Bergamasco is a large, muscular herding dog with a shaggy coat that comes in many colors. When this coat is left to grow out, it can result in incredible dreadlocks.
This is a beautiful and intelligent breed with lots of energy and strength. It should not be left alone for long periods of time without adequate exercise or mental stimulation, and it is very protective of its family members. For these reasons, this is one of our Shepherd breeds that is best suited for more experienced dog owners.
16. The Central Asian Shepherd
These Shepherd breeds are best suited for more experienced dog owners.
The Central Asian Shepherd is a large, strong, and powerful dog that has been bred to guard flocks of sheep in the harsh conditions of Kazakhstan.
This breed is considered one of the most ancient Shepherd breeds, with a history dating back thousands of years. It was originally bred to guard livestock against wolves and bears in its native Kazakhstan, where it is still used for that purpose today.
The modern-day Central Asian Shepherd is a medium-sized, muscular dog with a thick coat that comes in a variety of colors. These Shepherd breeds are intelligent and easy to train, but they can also be stubborn and will not respond well to harsh treatment. They are loyal and protective, making them great watchdogs, as well as good companions for children.
17. The Romanian Mioritic Shepherd
These shepherd dogs make great companions for the right owner when properly trained and socialized.
The Romanian Mioritic Shepherd is a large and shaggy livestock guardian dog. Originating in Romania, this ancient breed has likely been used as a herding dog since the time of the Roman Empire.
This is a large dog with an impressive stature and powerful build. The head is wide and wedge-shaped, with a straight or slightly dished face.
Mioritic Shepherd breeds are very loyal companions who love spending time with their people, but they also require plenty of exercise so that they can stay fit and healthy. These dogs make excellent watchdogs due to their protective nature, though this also means they require plenty of training and socialization at an early age.
18. The Maremmano-Abruzzese Shepherd
Large, muscular, and brave, the Maremmano-Abruzzese Shepherd makes an ideal working dog.
The Maremmano-Abruzzese Shepherd is a medium-sized, powerful, and muscular dog. It was bred in Italy as an all-around farm dog capable of herding cattle, protecting livestock, and guarding property against predators. It was also used as a guard dog for homes and farms.
This dog has been known by many names throughout its history including Abruzzese Sheepdog, Italian Cattle Dog, and Maremma Sheepdog.
Today, this breed is still used for herding cattle but it also makes a good companion for families who want an active, intelligent dog that will protect their home from intruders while still being gentle enough to play with children.
19. The White Shepherd
The White Shepherd is a variation of the German Shepherd.
The White Shepherd may look like its very own breed, but it’s actually a variation of the standard German Shepherd. As such, this is one of our Shepherd breeds that originated in Germany.
Like its German Shepherd counterpart, the White Shepherd is a large, muscular dog with a broad head and strong jaws. The coat can be any shade of white or off-white with markings on the face, chest, and feet. These Shepherd breeds have medium coats that require regular grooming to keep them from matting or tangling.
The White Shepherd is intelligent, calm, and loyal to its family but wary of strangers. They are protective of their territory but not aggressive toward other animals unless provoked or improperly trained.
20. The Dutch Shepherd
Dutch Shepherds are known for their beautiful coat and their intelligent disposition.
The Dutch Shepherd was developed in the Netherlands as a herding dog and was used to guard livestock and drive them to market. Today’s Dutch Shepherds are still excellent herders who can do everything from rounding up sheep on the farm to competing in dog shows or agility events. They also make good family companions and enjoy being around people and other dogs.
While the Dutch Shepherd is intelligent and easy to train, it may be stubborn at times. It has a tendency to bark when bored or left alone, so training should begin early and continue consistently. The Dutch Shepherd is not recommended as a companion dog for small children due to its large size and high energy level.
Is One Of The Above Shepherd Breeds Right For You?
Shepherd breeds are some of the most intelligent breeds available.
Some dog breeds are more suited for your lifestyle than others. If you’re looking for a new dog, it can be helpful to know which Shepherd breeds are best suited to living in certain environments.
Based on what we know about Shepherd breeds, these dogs are going to require more active owners with time to commit to training, exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation.
Remember, Shepherd breeds are working dogs at heart and most were specifically bred to do the specific job of herding livestock, as well as serving as guardians for their owners and their property.
Shepherd breeds are also some of the most intelligent breeds available. This can make them a joy to train when training is done properly, as these dogs are often very eager to please their owners. However, their intelligence can also mean behavioral issues if their needs are not met, leading to destructive behaviors like chewing, barking, marking, and aggression.
With all that said, if you do have your heart set on one of our above Shepherd breeds and are committed to providing them with what they need in order to thrive, we say go for it!
So, which of the above Shepherd breeds stole your heart? Tell us in the comment section below.