(or: Let's Make Like Beardies and Get the Flock Outta Here!)
One of the most gratifying things in the world to watch is a dog doing the job for which its breed was intended. This is certainly true of herding; many Beardie owners speak of tears starting in their eyes as they watch their Beardies turn on to sheep for the first time.
As with agility, you can compete in a number of "leagues" in herding, including AKC, AHBA, and ASCA. Once you get truly hooked on herding, you'll want to keep informed about herding events in all three "leagues". Here in the Northeast, the Northeast Herding Info Web site contains lots of resources to help you find herding events, clinics, and instructors.
For a very long time, it was nearly impossible to find places to herd anywhere near Maine. Duncan and I made many, many, many 7-hour drives to Raspberry Ridge Sheep Farm in PA to train with Carolyn Wilki. Good news, herding hopefuls: There are now places in New England where you can go herding with your Beardies! Here are a few:
- Little Dove Farm, Appleton, ME
- American K9 Country, Amherst, NH
- Sheepdog Junction, Middleboro, MA
- Diane Menard, Black Birch Farm, Sturbridge, MA
- The Northeast Herding Info Web site lists other trainers in the region
Some Herding Links You Can Use
Here's a list of links to some herding resources, both on my site and elsewhere:
- Northeast Herding Info — Events, trainers, stock, and plenty of other resources for herding in the Northeast (New England, NY, NJ, PA).
- Herding Canada — The Canadian stockdog portal, including articles and resources.
- Working Aussie Source Stockdog Library — Kay Spencer's compendium of herding-related information. Much is (of course) Aussie-oriented, but there's a huge amount of information on general stockdog work here.
- Herding Terms — with thanks to the Collie Club of America. Talk shop with all your friends who do herding!
- Diane Blackman's Herding Training Page
- The AHBA (American Herding Breeds Association) Home Page
- A list of reference resources, including books, videotapes, and a source for shepherd's crooks and whistles. Reprinted with permission from the author.
- The Herders-L mailing list at Yahoo! Groups
- Linda Rorem's Herding on the Web site with some excellent instructions on how to get started in herding.
- The Stockdog Server
- Shepherds With Beardies — Judi Max's great labor of love chronicling the history of Beardies as stockdogs.
- WayToMe Acres' Creative Crooks — Jody Workman makes hand-crafted wooden crooks in a variety of woods and styles.
- Sheep Herding Links
- Little Hats — Border Collie-oriented, but lots of herding info for newbies — and a hilarious read as well!
- Patrick Shannahan also keeps a number of interesting articles on his Red Top Border Collies Web site.
- "Is My Pup Ready?" by Lynn Leach. Lynn's Web site also includes information about her herding training videos, the Downriver Farm training facility, and her other articles on herding.
- Herding terms from the Herding GSD Web site
- Beret Farms' Herding Glossary. This one includes some bibliographical references for some of the terms used, including Vergil Holland and Ann Witte.
- Adventures in Herding, including another version of Vergil Holland's herding glossary. This site chronicles the trials (herding, that is) and tribulations of two people and three dogs learning to herd. It's comforting to know we aren't the only ones!
- Another set of herding terms from Mikatura Australian Shepherds' herding site. Caution: Hit the Mute key if you don't want to experience the music! (sorry, guys.)
- Still another herding glossary from The Stockdog Ranch in southern California. Beautiful opening page.
- Stockdog Trainers in North America
- Herding Titles Explained
Snail Mail Links
The Australian Shepherd Club of America allows other herding breeds to enter its performance events, including herding. Write to:
Australian Shepherd Club of America
6091 E SH 21
Bryan, TX 77803
AKC allows registered dogs from the Herding Group, certain breeds from the Working Group, or dogs with an ILP from any of these breeds, to compete in AKC events. The dogs must be 9 months of age or older to enter. Write to:
The American Kennel Club
Att: Special Performance Events
5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27606-3390
AKC also publishes information that you can order from the above address, including a geographical list of AKC herding clubs and the AKC Regulations for Herding Tests and Trials. The regulations are also available at the AKC Web site at http://www.akc.org.
The American Herding Breeds Association publishes a bimonthly events bulletin for its members. Membership is $15/year. Write to the membership chair:
AHBA Membership Coordinator
Want to Talk About It?
There are a number of email forums where Beardie lovers from around the world can trade stories, brags, information, help, and all sorts of other herding-related stuff. Two of these are beardieherd-l and herdingbeardies, both on Yahoo Groups.
To join each list, visit http://groups.yahoo.com and search for the list name. Click on the link, and then click on the big "Join This Group" button that appears at the top of the page.
Voila! You're ready to join in the fun!
The Great Plains Bearded Collie Club offers herding DVDs, including a combination DVD of their classic videos "Getting to Know Ewe II" and "Dancing Sheep to Sheep." These DVDs are great resources for anyone who wants to start herding with a Beardie. Visit the GPBCC's Shopping page for more information.