Pastoral dog refers to a dog originally bred to work cattle, sheep, reindeer and livestock on farms either herding or guarding. This type of dog is registered in the breed registries of The Kennel Club (UK) under the Pastoral Group category. Some kennel clubs use the term herding dog (American Kennel Club standard; Herding Group), while some dogs are classified under the Working Group.
Pastoral dogs are quite new in The Kennel Club umbrella classifications, formed in 1999. Most dogs in this group were originally from the Working Group. It was only established as a separate dog group when the Working Group has grown too big.
These dogs respond well to training, and are hardworking, highly-energetic, and brave. They tend to form strong ties with their handlers and follow commands well. However, they are intelligent dog breeds also capable of using their own judgment. Most pastoral dogs are affectionate and friendly.
The Pastoral Group is made up of three subgroups based on their functions.
Whether you're looking for a family dog, farmhand or companion, pastoral dogs are always great options. Although they often share similar traits such as energetic, smart and friendly, it is best to do your research to find specific pastoral dog breeds that fit the characteristics you're looking for.