The farm shepherd is an all purpose dog. One reason that they are so scarce anymore is that you only need one dog, as opposed to breeds that were bred for one function only, or those which are often hunted in packs. When you depend on your neighbors to breed your dogs and your neigh bors get a border collie and three or four hounds to replace their "old shep", you are out of luck!
This dog is very interested in what you are doing. He wants to help. He stands back and notices cause and effect. When we were fencing, Traveler, my seven month old pup began dragging up branches and fenceposts. He has been accompanying us on trips to the woodshed and bringing back a stick on his own since he was five months old.
The cows started to investigate the fence building operation, and he stopped them. When they turned away he left them alone. He is very into routine, and does not like a break from the normal.
Traveler has decided that a large part of his job is to keep our cows separated from the neighbors herd. The fences usually help, but after a severe snowstorm last winter, the neighbors herd came to visit. Traveler was very upset about it and helped to drive them home- five miles away. These dogs fall in love with the baby livestock and protect them from predators. (I have some anecdotes from a goat farm that bought a littermate of my dog.)
They tree wildlife and seem to have a different bark for different prey. If the owner was more into hunting than I am, I think they would be able to tell the difference. I recognize about four different greeting barks. One for strangers one for friends, one for my younger brother, and one for my mother.
They vocalize a lot and try to talk.
They are very good herders and want to please their owners, but they also have the ability to think on their own.