I chose this particular canine as I love New Zealand and when we went to a sheep station on one of our visits to that country and were intrigued by the prowess of their farm dogs.
The New Zealand Heading Dog or New Zealand Eye Dog is a farm heading dog that uses its eyes and quick movements to control sheep. It was predominantly bred from the Border Collie, and there is generally black and white, although sometimes tan in colour.
The Border Collie was a common farm dog around the Scottish border in the U.K. and early British settlers to New Zealand brought these dogs with them. The Border Collie is long haired and has a tendency to lie down, and this trait was not desirable in the new country. To counter the warmer environment, shorter haired dogs were bred. They could be spotted by the farmer from a further distance since they no longer had the tendency to lie down. (NOTE: They didn't explain why they no longer laid down. Was this because of the shorter hair? Surely not.)
The New Zealand Heading Dog has been integral to sheepdog trials which likely began in New Zealand as early as 1867 in Wanaka. The competitive dog sport involves herding sheep around a field and into enclosures. The sport became popular on television in the 1980s when "A Dog's Show" was broadcast to New Zealand audiences.
This dog has been bred with natural abilities of being aware of its surroundings, and adapt to quick movements in its line of sight. They are classified as medium to large lass dogs with long, smooth and straight hair. These types of dogs are specially bred and trained for work in farms to circle sheep. It needs a large quantity of space like farms, therefore not intended to be kept as house pets. They are extremely intelligent and should not be left alone for a long duration of time; they are capable of herding animals as a natural ability and, if left along for too long, they will try to escape or try to herd small animals or children.
The New Zealand Heading dog is at all times, other than when asleep or tired, extremely active and therefore leaving them indoors or chained to backyards is inappropriate. If they are left indoors, destruction of furniture and other household products will be guaranteed.
The most famous shepherd from the settlements of New Zealand was a man known as James Lillico. Both New Zealand heading dogs and border collies are known for their ability to take commands from the shepherd to lie down and stay still and to circle sheep as they are are commanded. Heading dogs would herd sheep packs together by running in circles and stopping to watch sheep close enough to stop one or more sheep from running away from the direction they do not want them to go. If heading dogs were to be in the wilderness, the step after heading the sheep or other animals would be to pursue and hunt them down for the kill. The traditional trait of any heading dog would be the keen eye contacts it uses to notify the sheep that it is not supposed to run for its freedom and with the stare from its eye, the sheep will stop its movement and hurry back to the pack. The "eyeing" of heading dogs comes from the skills of its natural "heading" ability which is commonly known as a trait in heading dogs.