Heelers, Headers And Hypnotists



There are dozens of herding breeds, but this article focuses on those herding breeds that we frequently see at the Payson Humane Society.

When adopting a dog, it is important to understand breed characteristics and make a sound judgment as to whether a particular breed of dog will fit into your lifestyle. It's easy to research dog breeds using the computer or local library.

Herding dogs are also known as the pastoral breed because they were developed for herding animals including cattle, sheep and even poultry. Dogs that move livestock have characteristics that help them do their job: intelligence, speed and endurance. These dogs helped make the British and Australian wool industry and livestock farming possible.

All herding behavior is modified predatory behavior. Each herding breed has its own style of moving livestock. The Border Collie gets in front of sheep (header) and uses the hypnotic eye to stare the animal down, along with carefully controlled prey drive pressure. The Australian Shepherd, which is the only American breed in this group, uses a similar style, but is not as intense as the Border Collie. The legendary Aussie eye may move you, too! The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Queensland Heeler, typically crouches down and nips at the heels of livestock to get them moving in the right direction. Sometimes this nipping is misplaced onto humans and must be discouraged. The noble German Shepherd was originally a farm dog with strong herding instincts, and now frequently serves with the military, police, search and rescue, as well as being a guide, guard or therapy dog.

So how do dogs with such strong work ethics and stamina levels fit into the lives of everyday families? The key is a human mindset that recognizes the needs of an active, intelligent dog. Prospective adopters need to be prepared to give a young, energetic dog the body and mind exercise he needs or the relationship will fail. Asking a working dog to sit or lie down all day is like asking a star athlete to live in a straight jacket. Asking an intelligent dog not to use its mind is like asking a scholar never to read a book or come up with a cognizant thought.

Not only herding dogs, but all dogs, are happier and healthier with EXERCISE. Walk, run, play, fetch, learn new tricks, learn obedience, take classes, go new places, ride in the car, swim in a lake, do the dog park -- just have fun with your dog, and you will have a well balanced, devoted companion that is easy to live with. If you have children, tap into their abundant energy, and let them take some responsibility for exercising the family dog on a regular schedule.

Let us introduce some of our great herding dogs:


Bluebell is a petite 1-year-old spayed female Blue Heeler.

Because she is rather small for her breed, she looks to people for protection. She likes to stay close, even stand between your legs or curl up beside you in a Bambi position.

Bluebell loves mental stimulation and physical activity. She can jump up to kiss your lips and may nip your sleeve for attention.

She will do well with an owner who will work with her to teach her that nipping is not for humans, just cows and sheep.

She would like a little more leash training so she can walk in an urban environment.

Bluebell is a Velcro pup and will be happiest being in close proximity to her family.


Rustler is a happy 2-year-old neutered male Red Heeler. He's a good-looking canine cowboy with his dappled red and white coat, long tail and bright eyes.

Rustler is a friendly, tail-wagging pup that loves getting out for some good exercise.

If you don't have a flock of sheep for him to work, you will need to give him some outlets for his energy.

A female dog would probably suit him well.

He'd like to go along with you for walks and hikes or ride with you shotgun in your truck.

At the end of the day, Rustler will be content to have dinner with you and then curl up at your feet for a long snooze.


Smiley is a lively 2-year-old neutered male Australian Shepherd mix. His glossy black coat is wavy/curly on his back and there are copper highlights on his legs, face and chest.

Smiley's long legs yearn for exercise. He would love to accompany you on hikes or follow you on your ATV through the woods. He would not be content to be tied or kenneled for long periods.

He likes being with his people and participating in their activities.

He plays well with other dogs and walks nicely on leash, especially on a 15' training lead so he can explore a bit.

He has some basic training because he will sit on command, but not for long.

We think you will be proud to be seen with this good-looking pup!


Whitey is a darling 2-year-old spayed female Heeler.he is mostly white and has kaleidoscope eyes with twinkles of blue and brown in them.

Whitey had a hard life with an irresponsible owner that let her have several litters of puppies under the porch.hen she came to our shelter, she was shy, but soon realized she was in a much better place.taff has put extra effort into her well-being and she is now a friendly greeter dog in the front office.

She loves kids and is loyal and obedient.he likes to follow you around and hates being left alone.

Whitey will stand by the door to let you know she needs out.

She is a very dear pup that is certain to bring joy to your family.


Jake is the sweetest 2-year-old neutered male Queensland Heeler. He has a splendid thick blue merle coat and a long tail.

He is used to children and is a great family dog.

He walks beautifully on leash and loves getting out for a good walk.

Jake is housebroken and rides like a gentleman in the car.

He will try to herd up wildlife, so he needs a securely fenced yard.

Jake may prefer to be the only dog on your ranch.

To learn more about these and other adoptable pets, visit the shelter at 812 S. McLane Road, call 474-5590 or online visit paysonhumanesociety.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.