About English Shepherds
English Shepherds are a rare, old breed, developed in America from dogs brought by immigrants from the British Isles, helping their owners
settle the land and establish homesteads. An all purpose breed, English Shepherds could (and still can!), herd the livestock, guard the property, hunt vermin, all the while babysitting the children and keeping order on the farm. Their intelligence, courage, ability and loyalty to the family made them invaluable to their farmer/rancher owners. They were (are) known as America's Farm Collie.
Today, English Shepherds are still invaluable - not only to farmers and ranchers - both big and small - across the country who depend on them for help with everyday chores, but to those of us who choose to have them in our lives off the farm! English Shepherds can be found channeling their intelligence, athleticism, respect for rules and love of learning in agility, obedience, noseworks, flyball, barn hunts, search and rescue and therapy work.
English Shepherds are happiest when the rules are clear and the human leader is in charge. As a working breed, they need a "job" - whether it is gathering the chickens, collecting the sheep, going out to fetch the morning paper or finding the scent in Noseworks practice. Without this focus, they will find their own job - not always to their owners' liking. For that reason, English Shepherds need someone who can devote the time, energy, thought and love needed to keep them in balance.
If you're already familiar with EnglishShepherds, then you know what wonderful dogs they are. If you are just learning about them, please do further research, as I can't begin to do them justice here and they deserve to have the best informed owners possible. For more information and the breed standard, click the Breed Info button.
While you're at it, check out the rest of the English Shepherd Club website, which is chock full of information....as are a number of breeder sites. (See Links, above) Not to throw a disclaimer in here because I haven't met an English Shepherd that I didn't like and I LOVE the two I have, but this would not be an easy breed for a first time dog owner or one who isn't "top dog" in the house. So, do your homework first.
What I can do is tell you what I've learned about living with two English Shepherds.
They are SMART - almost scary smart. It doesn't take long at all for an ES to learn what you want her to (OR what you don't want her to!) so it's up to you to make sure they learn the right stuff. Speaking of that, both my girls love learning....anything!
They are ENGLISH SHADOWS. Ginger and, particularly Lacy, are almost always within sight of me. If I move from place to another, inside or out, they move, too. It's not a needy thing...they are quiet about it...but it's part of their makeup. Also known as Velcro dogs.
They like having RULES and ROUTINES. English Shepherds are happiest when there is a consistency in their lives although this doesn't mean that they won't try to bend the rules every once in while! (Refer back to "who's in charge here?)
They are quick to ALERT. Both of my dogs let us know when someone is here. They both leave off when asked to but consistently bark at arrivals, whoever it may be. Until he finally understood that they are hard-wired to do this, my husband wasn't crazy about this trait but he got over it. They are also both cautious, at first, when meeting new people, but quick to warm up once it's established that the newcomers are OK with me.
They are ATHLETIC. There isn't much they can't do. Ginger has springs for legs and Lacy can turn on a dime and catch a frisbee most anywhere. Seriously, most ES are naturally balanced and athletic, excelling in agility, flyball, herding, etc.
They are LOYAL and LOVING. English Shepherds are valued for their loyalty to the family, their nurturing nature toward both human and animal young, and the love they give to their humans.
They are EASY ON THE EYES. Both my dogs are beautiful...what more can I say? Actually, the general size, balance, intelligent faces and gorgeous coats of English Shepherds are just icing on the "good dog" cake. We have sables but ES are also black and white, black and tan, tri-color with some variety in amount of white and coat types. See Breed Info button.
They need daily doses of PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, BRAIN WORK and SOCIAL TIME. A walk in the morning just isn't enough. We try to get in lots of exercise, training and some sort of socialization every day. Believe it or not, ten minutes of Nosework practice or obedience brush-up will make them as tired as a 30 minute walk or frisbee throwing. (I have to assume that working ES get most of this completing their "jobs" each day.)