The herding group dogs include some of the most intelligent, highly regarded breeds in the world. Developed to keep foraging livestock from wandering off or being eaten by opportunistic predators, these dogs are more than just watch dogs. They literally possess an instinct to help their humans round up their charges and move them to the desired location.

They also seem to possess an exceptional level of intelligence that allows them to benefit from advanced training or to respond correctly to complicated situations. There's a reason that they cast a Border Collie in the starring role of Lassie, the classic TV series about a dog who is forever saving the day. In any top ten list of most intelligent dog varieties, you're going to find several members of the herding group-- including the widely admired German Shepherd, often the first choice for a police officer's canine partner or a disabled person's service dog.

Because many of these breeds are beloved household pets, they don't get the opportunity to herd that their instincts sometimes demand. Fortunately, their flexible intelligence means that you can train them to play herding games or to learn other tricks to show off their mental as well as their physical agility.