Herding is one of the most ancient dog/human working bonds. It taps into the dogs natural instinct for cooperative hunting. Domestic livestock, of course, is much slower-moving and easier to manipulate than wild herds of animals. In sport and hobby herding, the livestock is typically cattle, sheep, and ducks. Each of these species requires a different mindset and approach for balanced control. In competition, a dog that can handle all three types of livestock is prized. However, dogs are usually "naturally" better-suited for a particular species. Very confident dogs, for instance, are better able to handle cattle than a gentler dog, but their strength may put too much pressure on sheep.
Dogs bred to be skilled at herding are typically very biddable and sensitive to their handlers. They are naturally interested in the movements of other animals and may like to "boss around" other animals. Border collies, Australian Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs (Queensland Heelers), Kelpies, McNabbs, Corgis, and many others are often excellent herders. Many breeds not usually associated with herding are also successful-- labs, Rottweilers, poodles, and more!
Shasta Dogs holds occasional sheepherding events. Email for more info.
The Western Cattledog Association holds events in Modoc, Butte, Tehama, and Siskiyou counties.