Jan. 20, 2023

Is the Sheepdog reference for Police, Military and other First Responders Fair and Accurate? 2023

(Some people will object to this photo of one of our dogs, Junior. Saying that a Rottweiler is NOT a Sheepdog. Read on, you might be surprised.)

Is the Sheepdog reference for Police, Military and other First Responders Fair and Accurate?

Many people use the term "Sheepdogs" in reference to Police, Military and other First Responders. It is meant as a compliment, but I sometimes beg to differ from the popularity of this term of endearment.

Do Sheepdogs Make Great Companions? Yes, they often do and are phenomenal members of the family. Are Sheepdogs great protectors of their flocks? Yes, many are. Do all sheepdogs fit into the category of great protectors? No, in my experience they do not.

Does all of society take the time and effort required to understand the temperament and needs of Sheepdogs? Absolutely, 100% No. But we will get to that a little later on.

From Wikipedia, "A sheep dog or sheepdog is generally a dog or breed of dogs historically used in connection with the raising of sheep. These include livestock guardian dogs used to guard sheep and other livestock and herding dogs used to move, manage and control sheep and other livestock."

Some of the Sheepdog breeds across the World are divided into several groups. Separated primarily by there use.

Herding breeds Include these Breeds.

    Australian Cattle Dog
    Australian Kelpie
    Australian Shepherd
    Basque Shepherd Dog
    Belgian Shepherds (4 Varities including the Malinois)
    Bergamasco Shepherd
    Berger Blanc Suisse
    Bouvier des Flandres
    Bohemian shepherd
    Can de Chira
    Caucasian Shepherd
    Can de Palleiro
    Cão da Serra de Aires
    Carea Castellano Manchego
    Carea Leonés
    Canaan Dog
    Catahoula Leopard Dog
    Catalan Sheepdog
    Chiribaya Dog
    Collies (Made up of 6 varieties)
    Croatian Sheepdog
    Cumberland Sheepdog
    Dutch Shepherd
    English Shepherd
    Finnish Lapphund
    Garafian Shepherd
    German Shepherd
    Gaucho sheepdog
    Icelandic Sheepdog
    Lancashire Heeler
    Lapponian Herder
    Magellan sheep dog
    Miniature American Shepherd
    New Zealand Heading Dog
    Norwegian Buhund
    Old English Sheepdog
    Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai
    Picardy Shepherd
    Polish Lowland Sheepdog
    Polish Tatra Sheepdog
    Portuguese Sheepdog
    Puli dog
    Pyrenean Shepherd
    Slovak Cuvac
    Shetland Sheepdog
    Swedish Lapphund
    Swedish Vallhund
    Welsh Corgis (2 Varieties)

Livestock guardian dog breeds.

    Akbash dog
    Aksaray Malaklisi
    Armenian Gampr
    Ashayeri Dog
    Azerbaijani Shepherd Dog
    Bakharwal dog
    Bucovina Shepherd
    Buryat-Mongolian Wolfhound
    Cane di Mannara
    Cão de Castro Laboreiro
    Cão de Gado Transmontano
    Carpathian Shepherd Dog
    Caucasian Shepherd Dog
    Central Asian Shepherd Dog
    Estrela Mountain Dog
    Georgian Shepherd
    Ghadrejani dog
    Great Pyrenees
    Greek Shepherd
    Himalayan Sheepdog
    Kangal Shepherd
    Karst Shepherd
    Koyun dog
    Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog
    Mazandrani dog
    Mioritic Shepherd
    Mongolian banhar
    Persian Mastiff
    Polish Tatra Sheepdog
    Pshdar dog
    Pyrenean Mastiff
    Rafeiro do Alentejo
    Romanian Raven Shepherd Dog
    Sardinian Shepherd Dog
    Shirak Sheepdog
    Slovak Cuvac
    Spanish Mastiff
    Tibetan kyi apso
    Tibetan Mastiff
    Vikhan Sheepdog 

The American Kennel Club divides breeds of Dogs into 7 Groups. Most of the Sheepdogs are in the working group or herding group.

My main complaint about referring to our Law Enforcement Officers, Military and other First Responders is choice. You see, Sheepdogs, for example the breeds listed above, are the end result of years, and at time centuries of selective breeding. A practice where humans bred certain dogs that displayed the desired traits that the breeders wanted. Is that wrong? Do I have a problem with that? No. 

So, the Sheepdogs have no idea why they are doing what they do. They have no choice in the matter, you could say that their protective instincts are the result of years and years of selective breeding.

Our Police, Military and other First Responders had to choose to do these jobs. All of them are faced at times with situations where they must decide to put themselves in harms way to protect their flock. In other words, they are very much aware of the choices they have to make. 

And that is the primary difference. Many of our Police, Military and other First Responders, and their families pay a huge price as a result of their service. With their lives, their physical health and mental health as well.

Which brings me to my final question. If you believe that our Police, Military and other First Responders are Sheepdogs, will you take the time and effort to understand the temperament and needs of Sheepdogs? How about when they are wounded, either physically, mentally, and, or emotionally while protecting their flocks? Remember, these people had to choose to protect, unlike the Sheepdogs that had it bred into them.