Female Sable English Shepherd doing one of her jobs,
|Farm Collie (This name is also used for the
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Herding Dog Breeds
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The English Shepherd is an American breed of
dog. In 1900 the most
common dog on small farms in the US was the English Shepherd. The English
Shepherd is an all around farm dog, being used as a herding dog, watch dog,
hunting dog, and child's companion.
English Shepherds are similar in appearance to
Border Collies and
Australian Shepherds. English Shepherds usually have tails and have a
flatter head than Aussies. English Shepherds are never merle and Aussies
frequently are. They are generally not square in body like an Aussie. English
Shepherds tend to be larger than Border Collies but are most readily
distinguished by their very different herding style.
The English Shepherd is a medium sized dog, usually somewhat longer than it
is tall. It generally weighs between 40 and 70 pounds (20 to 30 kg) and is
balanced in proportions. As a small farm dog, English Shepherds have evolved to
fulfill a variety of needs. This has resulted in a wide range of regional
The coat is medium length and can be straight, wavy, or curly. There is
frequently feathering on the legs and tail. As a working dog, the coat should be
easy to keep, requiring no grooming. Dirt and burrs tend to just fall away.
There are four coat colors: sable (clear and shaded), tricolor, black and white,
and black and tan. There are no merle English Shepherds.
The English Shepherd temperament is the defining characteristic of the breed,
with great intelligence and often a unique type of kindness for those in his
home, both animals and people. The English Shepherd is often an independent
worker. English Shepherds are adaptable but learn routines quickly. Some can be
standoffish with strangers and more one-person dogs. However, once he
accepts people or children or stock as his own, there are few better caretakers
than an English Shepherd.
The English shepherd frequently exhibits a bossy or "enforcer" streak in his
temperament. If the dog's desire to enforce order is not channeled and directed
to a suitable end by an owner who is a strong, confident leader, he may exhibit
many undesirable behaviors. English shepherds can thrive as companion dogs in
many environments, but do not make "good pets" for the average person.
English Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, however
dysplasia is not uncommon. Anyone contemplating getting an English Shepherd
would be well advised to research the hip ratings (OFA
PennHIP) of the breeder's stock.
The historical English Shepherd is known in some areas as the
Scotch Collie or "Farm
Collie", but in other areas was always considered a distinct breed. There
was no breed club or registry at the time so there is some dispute over exactly
which name applies to which dogs. All of these names were applied to the common
farm dogs of the era. The
Australian Shepherd is likely a derivative of these farm dogs and appeared
primarily in the Western United States. The English Shepherd was more common in
the Midwest and East. The English Shepherd is a descendant of the working farm
dogs of the British Isles, however the name is believed to derive from the
Amish use of the
word "English" to refer to anything not Amish.
They are very quick to learn the farm routine and will work independently
with little training, but will benefit from some training and guidance. The
modern English Shepherd is still best suited for farm work, but they are also
used as search and rescue dogs, as therapy dogs, and as competitors in
flyball. English Shepherds are frequently larger than Border Collies, but
the quickest way to tell the two apart is to put them on stock. Border Collies
tend to herd with distinctive strong eye and a crouching stance, while English
Shepherds have an upright, loose-eyed herding style. English Shepherds can work
all types of stock, be it
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