Common Stock Dog Breeds – Like fish darting through shallow water, Sadie and Sue silently zigzag through the green pasture grass, staying low and moving in different directions to keep a set of yearling calves headed to the pens. The two black-and-white Border Collie females study every twitch and ear flick of the cattle, ready to redirect any yearling that tries to step out of line.
Horseman Matt Koch watches from the saddle and closes the gate once the cattle filter into his
large roundpen. The Elizabeth, Colorado, trainer Judi Slot then puts the first of several reined cow horse futurity prospects to work, sharpening its cutting skills. He separates one yearling from the herd, and the horse moves left and then right, stopping hard each time and staying between the herd and the heifer.
In cutting competition and in the training pen, turnback riders keep the separated heifer moving and pointed toward the horse. But Koch assigns the job to his capable, cow-smart dogs.
“I’ve got two guys working for me, and they stay busy saddling and warming up horses,” he says. “I don’t have to waste a guy by having him turn back for me. I just use those two dogs, and we roll through [the horses in training] a lot faster.”
Like many horsemen, cowboys and ranchers, Koch appreciates a well-trained cow dog. Border Collies have been his breed of choice for many years.
Border Collie’s are a common stock dog used today.
Common Stock Dog Breeds
History: During the Roman occupation of Britain and its subsequent dissolution, large, heavy-boned herding dogs were crossed with smaller, Spitz-type dogs to create what would eventually be refined and become known as the Border Collie.
“They’ve got a lot of eye appeal and style [in how they work cattle],” he says. “Sue has a lot of presence to her, so those cattle will react to her without her having to bite them. She can just creep around and turn them each way, and she is big and strong enough that if she has to get after one, she will. It’s pretty cool. I’ve got two dogs that fit me really well. They’re just part of the program here. They’re turned loose all the time and then they come work.”
Whether it’s Border Collies, Australian Kelpies, Catahoulas, Curs, Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Shepherds, or canines of mixed breeding, working Slot Deposit Pulsa Tanpa Potongan stock dogs serve a vital role in handling cattle. How these intelligent dogs get the job done varies widely, depending on the type of cattle, climate, cowboys and their own genetic makeup.
Black, red, merle, brindle, short-haired or thick-coated, working cow dogs are growing in popularity. Today, a top stock dog can sell for $10,000 or more (two Border Collies sold for a record $30,000 each last year during the Red Bluff Stock Dog Sale in Red Bluff, California). In addition, an increasing number of cattlemen are open to letting dogs work their herds, according to Jerry Howard, a working cowboy and a breeder and trainer of Australian Kelpies.
History: Sheepherders in New South Wales and Victoria in Australia needed a dog that could handle sheep in large, open areas, and deal with the weather and terrain. Its breed predecessors are uncertain, but believed to be Collie-type dogs.
“I’ve done every kind of cowboy job over the last 25 years, and I can do every one of them with the Kelpies,” Howard says. “I’ve caught wild cattle with them, worked gentle mama cows on the Padlock Ranch in Wyoming, and now take care of yearlings on wheat pasture. They’re just really versatile and can adapt to any of those situations. They were developed in a very harsh desert environment in Australia.”
Howard likes that his dogs work with grit and tenacity. Would he describe them as high-strung?
“You betcha,” he says. “That’s what they are. They have so much energy and drive in them.”
Like Howard, Travis Ericsson also prefers a dog with plenty of determination and stamina. The Arizona cowboy catches wild cattle in rocky, steep and dry country, and he relies on dogs with Catahoula and Black-Mouth Cur breeding. Catahoulas and Curs work more like hounds, relying on a keen sense of smell to find cattle, and then holding them in place and baying at them once they find them.
History: Catahoulas, named the State Dog of Louisiana in 1979, are believed to have originated as a cross of Bloodhounds, Mastiffs and Greyhounds brought by Spanish explorers to what is now the southeastern United States. Breed information sources: American Kennel Club, Australian National Kennel Council, dogtime.com
Down in the marshes and thickets of the Deep South, baying dogs serve a crucial role as well, even on cow-calf operations such as the Gray Ranch in southern Louisiana.
“We’ve had all kinds, but the Cur dog is the best,” says Gray Ranch cowboy Donnie Moore. “Instead of chasing cattle, they just hold them and bay them up. We’ve had Border Collies, but they don’t bark enough. And heelers go in there and chase cattle. But Cur dogs will bay at them, bunch them up and hold them until we get there.”