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Sheepdogs: Three breeds to (re)discover

Herding dogs are largely ancestral breeds, some of which have been selected since prehistoric times with specific criteria linked to their activity. These dogs especially defended the herds against predators and therefore had to be born guardians, robust and not particularly afraid. They have a gift for gathering and driving livestock, especially during transhumance, or even dividing it into small units; they are also excellent trackers, able to search for lost animals to bring them back to the herd.

The Australian shepherd, intelligent and very energetic

Extremely popular in France for a few years, this breed can be recognized by its thick coat and its beautiful eyes, which can be amber, brown or blue. The Australian Shepherd is not native to Australia, despite its name; the breed was developed in the United States in the early 20th century and may have Basque origins. Highly intelligent and versatile, this dog has proven itself on American ranches, but is nevertheless an excellent companion for a family. Filled with energy, he is facetious and curious, agile and not particularly fragile; he needs a firm education without brutality and good socialization so that his strong character does not make him unmanageable. He needs a lot of activity and is absolutely not made to live in an apartment.

The German Shepherd, a sporty and loving dog

Descended from different types of German Shepherds, the breed was first defined in 1899 and has enjoyed worldwide success ever since; it is also one of the favorite dogs of the French for more than 10 years. Sporty and elegant, agile and versatile, the German Shepherd is a medium-sized dog, muscular and built for physical exertion. He is also very playful and needs space: he can stay outside regardless of the weather and enjoys country life, but does not tolerate solitude well. Affectionate and very attached to his masters and his territory, he is a good guard dog because he is naturally alert; it is therefore important to accustom him to strangers. If well trained, he is extremely obedient and loves to please those he loves.

The German Shepherd has been one of the favorite dogs of the French for over 10 years.
The German Shepherd has been one of the favorite dogs of the French for over 10 years. – Anna Aybetova/Shutterstock

The Belgian shepherd, a born protector

There are four varieties of the same breed, the hardiest and most common of which is the Belgian Shepherd Malinois. He is somewhat reminiscent of the German Shepherd in his appearance, his often light colored short hair marked with gray or black and his silhouette. However, he wears a distinctive black mask. The Tervueren variety is very similar to it, but with a long coat that forms an impressive collar and jabot. The Belgian shepherd Groenendael also has long and smooth hair, but always black zain; finally, the Laekenois, the rarest of the four, is recognizable by its rough and tough fawn coat and bears little resemblance to other Belgian shepherds. Lively, intelligent, flexible, agile and very attached to their adopted family, these dogs endowed with an extraordinary flair excel in many sports and working disciplines. Brave and very protective, Belgian shepherds make good watchdogs, but they need a master who is completely devoted to their training and does not like solitude or small spaces.

Belgian shepherds are good guard dogs.
Belgian shepherds are good guard dogs. – Ria Putzker Photography / Shutterstock

Find the magazine “Le Monde des Animaux” in newsstands and at (paper and digital versions and subscriptions).

The World of Animals & Nature is a quarterly magazine.
The World of Animals & Nature is a quarterly magazine. – The world of animals no. 43

The world of animals and nature is a magazine dedicated to wildlife from around the world. Through captivating stories and sublime photographs, the magazine offers a true visual safari in the heart of nature.



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