The story goes that the sheep-herding mastiff ancestors of the English Shepherd were brought to the British Isles by Julius Caesar himself when the Roman army invaded in 55 B.C.E. Whatever their origins, these farm dogs are energetic, highly intelligent, and fiercely loyal, making them demanding but ultimately rewarding pets.
Appearance and Personality of the Bossy English Shepherd
English Shepherds are working dogs, not show dogs, and as such their appearance can vary greatly. They are often misidentified as a Border Collie, Australian Collie, or Rottweiler mix due to their larger size and stockier build compared with other collie breeds.
The English Shepherd is a medium-sized dog, with an average weight of around 40 to 60 pounds. Most dogs of this breed have a glossy, medium length black and tan double coat, though color combinations can vary greatly.
English Shepherd Temperament!
The temperament of English Shepherds varies much less than their appearance because this has always been prioritized by breeders. These dogs are known for their loyalty and devotion, and they prefer to be by their owner’s side at all times. Dogs of this breed can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.
Well-trained English Shepherd dogs are usually great with children, and very protective of them. However, if these dogs are not experienced with kids they can behave boisterously and nip at their heels in an attempt to herd them.
Due to their high energy and intelligence, if English Shepherds are not properly trained they can be strong-headed, stubborn and even bossy, especially with other dogs.
A Brief History of English Shepherd Dogs: Or Should We Say, Farm Collie?
When British settlers came to the American colonies, many of them brought their loyal herding dogs with them, which is where the name English Shepherd comes from. They may also be known as a Farm Collie or Farm Shepherd. They were once known by the name Scotch Collie, but now this name is used to refer to a different breed with a longer coat.
The English Shepherd breed standard was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1927. English Shepherds are less popular nowadays, and they have become something of a rare breed, both in the US and the UK.
What is The English Shepherd Club?
The English Shepherd Club is a non-profit organization that describes itself as “dedicated to the support, preservation, and responsible promotion of the English Shepherd breed and its natural working instincts.”
They run educational programs, as well as conducting research into the English Shepherd breed and offering support to owners. The English Shepherd Club also keeps an updated list of registered breeders and can be a great place to start looking for puppies for sale.
6 Facts About the English Shepherd
- Although English Shepherd dogs are known for their herding abilities, they also have strong hunting instincts that date from their use as general farm dogs.
- Although English Shepherd dogs are frequently confused with Australian Shepherd dogs, one clear difference is that true English Shepherds are never blue merles, whereas this is a common coat color in Australian Shepherds.
- There are lots of early photographic records of English Shepherds due to their popularity back in the day. Look out for old-timey photo booth images of farmers and their loyal companions.
- English Shepherd dogs don’t only herd livestock on farms, but they also have strong guarding instincts and are used to guard farm livestock too.
- English Shepherds are known for their versatility in herding farm livestock of all kinds, from tiny ducklings up to the most boisterous sheep and cattle, and even alpacas!
- Like other herding breeds, such as the Border Collie, English Shepherd dogs are quick on their feet and highly trainable, which makes them well suited to agility training and competitions.
A Confident, Smart Pooch! English Shepherd Puppies Are Highly Trainable
Due to their intelligence and stamina, English Shepherds are highly trainable from a young age. Puppies of this breed can start to show herding instincts from as early as six weeks, at which point their natural instincts can be honed. Pups as young as three to four months can master a number of tricks.
Training is recommended for the English Shepherd puppy, even if you intend to have it as a pet rather than a working dog. Without training, the breed’s confidence and quick wits can translate into boredom, manias, and bad habits.
Exercise and Activity Needs of the English Shepherd Dog
English Shepherd dogs need a lot of exercises, and for this reason, should never be kept in apartments or homes without backyards. As a minimum, they need 45 minutes of high-intensity exercise daily, though more is preferable and family farms or homes with room for them to roam freely are ideal.
Given their high intelligence, dogs of this breed also need mental stimulation such as puzzles or training exercise to maintain a good temperament. English Shepherds that do not get sufficient physical exercise and mental stimulation have been known to develop negative behaviors such as excessive barking, hyperactivity, destructiveness, and even aggression.
Ready To Get Your Fur-ever Friend? English Shepherd Puppies for Sale
Save A Life and Adopt! English Shepherd Rescue
The National English Shepherd Rescue (NESR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to placing English Shepherd and similar dogs that are in need of suitable homes. They work with prospective adopters to ensure that they and their future pets are a perfect match, and offer advice to new owners.
Could you welcome a rescued English Shepherd into your life?
English Shepherd Breeders
As with all dogs, you should only purchase an English Shepherd dog from a licensed breeder. This will guarantee not only the dog’s lineage, but also ensure that you get a happy, healthy pet. The Kennel Club and the English Shepherd Club both keeps lists of English Shepherd breeders.
What’s the Cost of an English Shepherd?
English Shepherd puppies from registered breeders cost anywhere from $350 to $1000 and sometimes even more. The majority sell for around $500.
A Healthy Pooch—Lifespan of the English Shepherd dog
English Shepherd dogs have an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. Though the breed is known for its sturdiness and dependability, English Shepherd dogs are more prone to certain conditions and genetic diseases, such as elbow and hip dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and Degenerative Myelopathy.
Owners of English Shepherd dogs are advised to have them tested for genetic conditions from a young age and to pay attention to their pet’s family tree.
6 Tips to Dog Owners Who Have An English Shepherd
- Training is key with English Shepherd dogs, so consider investing in puppy school or training classes for your pet.
- English Shepherds shed their fur in a big way! If you care about your furniture, train your dog to stay off it, and maybe invest in a good vacuum cleaner.
- Grooming your English Shepherd’s coat regularly can help to limit shedding.
- Some English Shepherds have a reputation for being one-person dogs and can become shy if they are not properly socialized as puppies. Try to get them to meet as many people as possible when they are young in order to avoid a nervous temperament.
- English Shepherds are more content with a job to do: this could be herding, guarding, or even playing fetch.
- English Shepherds have a strong chase instinct, and therefore owners should be cautious of keeping them with smaller pets such as guinea pigs or rabbits, especially if the dog is not well trained. Also be careful when walking them around sheep or other livestock.
A Hardworking, Loyal Friend: Your English Shepherd Will Never Disappoint!
If you’re looking for a low-key pet that keeps to itself, doesn’t need much company or exercise, and thrives on its own, an English Shepherd may not be the dog for you. However, if you have space in your life for a dedicated companion that works hard and always sticks by your side, an English Shepherd could be just the dog you’re looking for.