The New Zealand Heading Dog or New Zealand Eye Dog is a working and herding dog that uses its visual prowess and quick movement to control sheep. Bred from Border Collies, Heading Dogs are a sturdy, long-legged and even-haired breed. They are generally black and white in color, but may also be tan.
The New Zealand Heading Dog is descended from the Border Collie, a breed of dog originally from the Scottish border. Early settlers brought these dogs to New Zealand to herd sheep, then went on to breed more specified dogs. Due to the Border Collie's long hair, they were bred with shorter haired dogs to create a breed that was better suited to the local environment.
The New Zealand Heading Dog has since been an integral part of sheepdog trials, which began in New Zealand as early as 1867 in Wanaka. The competitive dog sport involves herding sheep around a field and into enclosures.
New Zealand Heading Dogs are very aware of their surroundings and are able to adapt to quick movements that are in their line of sight, suiting their shepherding requirements. These types of dogs are specifically bred and trained to work in farms to circle sheep. They are classified as medium to large dogs with long, smooth, straight hair. Purebred New Zealand Heading Dogs are usually black and white, but some may be tan or other colors. The breed requires an agrarian environment and are generally not intended to be kept as house pets. New Zealand Heading Dogs are extremely intelligent, active dogs with instinct to herd animals; if left alone for too long, they may try to escape and or herd small animals or children.