Welsh Sheepdog is a herding dog from Wales. At one time there existed many sheep-herding dogs peculiar to Wales; during the 18th century Welsh drovers taking sheep for sale took with them five or six Welsh Sheepdogs as herders on the narrow roads, guards against highwaymen, and providers of game on the route.
A good Welsh Sheepdog weighing in at about 20kg can easily turn a 750kg cow
As British Agriculture evolved, farmers would send their stock from the mountains to be sold at the markets in England. Cattle, sheep, pigs and even geese were driven, on foot, for hundreds of miles – often over wild, open country – with their destination the fattening grounds and meat markets in the Home Counties. Just a few men and their dogs could take 300 or more cattle at a time. It was paramount to keep the herds safe and calm as their welfare was essential to the livelihood of both the drover and to the owners of the cattle back in Wales. Drovers’ dogs were fundamental in this task, and had to be hardworking and resourceful, preventing stock from their mob escaping but not collecting extras from the surrounding countryside and guarding the herds at night. Some of the predominant working traits of the modern breed, such as strong guarding instincts and the inbred instinct to circle a large mob of livestock, bear witness to their ancestry.
In appearance, the Welsh dog is middle sized and well proportioned. They can be rough or smooth coated and can be of most colours including black, black-and-tan, red, blue merle or roan, with or without white markings. The ears may be pricked or folded forward. They have an alert expression, an active disposition and are highly intelligent. They are good guard dogs, barking at intruders, but are normally gentle and good with children.
Welsh Sheepdogs are very adaptable in their work. They have a natural instinct for stock work and are capable of using their own initiative aswell as being directed, which makes them very useful when working big groups of sheep in open country. They will spring to flush sheep from rocks or undergrowth and have tremendous agility and stamina. Equally at home in enclosed land or in the handling pens, they will bark strongly if necessary and some will run across the backs of sheep if they become jammed. A strong dog can catch and hold a hill ewe at command, most will catch a lamb for treatment.
They have immense courage – a good Welsh dog weighing in at about 20kg can easily turn a 750kg cow. Their will to work is in-bred and they need an active lifestyle. Over many decades the Welsh Sheepdog has been widely replaced in Wales for working sheep by the Border Collie, but in more recent years efforts have been made to maintain the indigenous Welsh Sheepdog as a distinct type.
Welsh Sheepdogs can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, Rally obedience, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Welsh Sheepdogs that exhibit basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in stock dog trials.
Welsh Sheepdog Videos