Meet The Breeds

While Carolina Hearts specializes in rescuing Aussies, we also extend our resources to help other herding dogs in need. These breeds can include, but are not limited to, Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Kelpies, Border Collies, English Shepherds, Collies, Corgis, and Shelties. Carolina Hearts will not take in the police-dog type “working” shepherds – German Shepherds and their close counterparts. Also, while Catahoula Leopard Dogs were bred to be herders, it is our experience that they have evolved into more of a hunting breed, and therefore we will not include them in our adoption program.

Here’s a quick look at some of the herders (and heelers) you may find in our rescue program:

Australian Shepherds

Animated, adaptable and agile, the Australian Shepherd lives for his job, which still involves herding livestock and working as an all-purpose farm and ranch dog. He needs a lot of activity and a sense of purpose to be truly content. Today, due to the breed’s intelligence and versatility, “Aussies” also excel in AKC events such as agility, obedience and herding. Their coats can be black, blue merle, red merle and red with or without white markings.

An energetic breed with strong herding and guarding instincts, the Aussie requires daily vigorous exercise. Although sometimes reserved with strangers, they are “people” dogs that want to always be near their families. Their thick coats require weekly brushing.

Bucks Bald 10-09_0530

Rugby is a red tricolor Australian Shepherd


Australian Cattle Dogs

Without peer as a cattle herder, the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) is ready and willing to work all day. Their agility, strength and courageousness allow them to easily control and move cattle in both open and confined spaces. Stubborn cows don’t discourage this dog – they just become more determined to get the job done! The breed can be blue or red (can be in mottled or speckled pattern), with or without black, blue or tan markings.

Happiest in wide open spaces, ACDs are very high-energy dogs and extremely intelligent, so they need a job – such as herding, obedience or agility – to keep them happy. While wary of strangers, the breed bonds closely to its family, though the owner must establish themselves as the pack leader. Their smooth, short coat requires only occasional baths and brushing.


Opal is a beautiful blue heeler (Australian Cattle Dog)


Border Collies

The workaholic of the dog world, the Border Collie is the world’s premier sheep herder, prized for its intelligence, extraordinary instinct and working ability. Medium-sized and athletic, the breed controls stock with stalking movement and an intense gaze known as “eye.” The Border Collie coat can be rough or smooth and includes any color in bi-color, tri-color, merle, sable, or solid patterns.

This high-drive breed is extremely energetic and requires exercise beyond just a walk around the block or a romp in the yard. They thrive when they have a job to do and space to run. Due to their tendency to herd objects and people, they do best with mature, well-behaved children. They love their families, but may be somewhat reserved with strangers. They are seasonal shedders, and require regular brushing.


A border collie doing what they do best – herd sheep!


English Shepherds

The English Shepherd is energetic, intelligent, very active, agile, courageous and gritty. Fearless for its purpose. Acting immediately when commanded; very responsive to the master’s voice. Adapting themselves almost at once to working commands around farm stock. Working characteristics include: strictly low heeling; and very free with the use of their teeth. Also very watchful as guards of the home. Companionable to their master. Primarily a stock dog, the English Shepherd has also traditionally been used for hunting and as a watchdog in addition to being the family pet.

Recently there has been a growing interest in the English Shepherd as an athlete for competitive events such as agility, Flyball and Frisbee. Some individuals may excel in all of these activities, but most will have strengths and weaknesses for one or another purpose. Wonderful with children and not generally dog aggressive with other dogs, they are good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood. Generally friendly dogs, however they can be reserved with strangers. They make wonderful watchdogs, alerting the owner of approaching strangers. The English Shepherd needs a firm, but calm, confident, consistent owner, as do most herding breeds.

This black and tan English Shepherd is named Tess.

This black and tan English Shepherd is named Tess. 

Breed descriptions borrowed from the American Kennel Club and the English Shepherd Club.