To understand the idea of tending sheep in Germany one needs to know the sheep farming system in this country. The flocks are large (800 to 1200 sheep) and are usually not kept in fenced pastures.

A shepherd tends the livestock in open grazes. Those pastures are often beside fields with crops. To keep the sheep in the pastures and out of the crops, dogs are used. The dogs which are preferred for this work are those that stay on the borders (the natural line of definition) between what is a field with crops and what is pasture for the sheep and that work there independently and patrol these borders.
Bavarian shepherd with two Sheep Poodles moves his flock of sheep across a harvested field to the next pasture.
Ulf Kintzel with Old German Shepherd (Black) and Old German Shepherd, type Gelbbacke (Yellow Check)

When the graze is eaten down the shepherd leads the sheep to the next pasture. This is very often done on roads and farm roads and pastures are often several miles apart. The grazes are often public areas where there is an interest to keep the landscape open and keep it from overgrowing. It is called landscape care.

Another reason for using tending dogs is the transhumance system. That means, the flocks of sheep graze in the hills during the summer and in the milder valleys in the winter. In the fall, on their way down to the valley or in the spring, going up to the mountains, harvested fields, including hay fields are used to feed the sheep. This journey is done every year by foot. The distance may range from approximately 20 miles up to 100 miles.



White Clover Sheep Farm
Ulf Kintzel
683 Bagley Road  -  Rushville, NY  -  14544  -  Phone/Fax: (585) 554-3313
Email: ulf@whitecloversheepfarm.com