English Shepherd

38-57 lbs
18-23"
United States
American Collie, American Shepherd, Farm Collie, Old Fashioned Shepherd, Cow dog

The English Shepherd is a versatile dog - a dog of many talents ranging from herder to livestock protector, to watchdog and hunter, and yet they still have the patience to be a caring, affectionate pet for the family. Highly intelligent, this dog possesses a lovely temperament, and like many working dogs they can think for themselves which means they can be willful at times. They are energetic dogs, very athletic and brave. They are not for the novice dog owner; they need a strong dominant leader who can tame their willful spirit through consistency and kindness. The English Shepherd bonds closely to one particular member of the family and will consider this person his master, yet they are still affectionate with other family members and are especially kind with children. Being a working dog, they do like their humans in one place and can tend to 'herd' their people through nudges and nips, something that training should address. Although fearless when it comes to protecting their family, they can become cautious, nervous and suspicious of strangers unless they are well socialised. The English Shepherd is a quick learner, needs demanding exercise and mental stimulation, and is a healthy breed. They suit a country house or a farm so that they can wear off their abundant energy. Apartments are not for this dog. They love action, wide open spaces and lots of walks or work. But they also love snuggling up with their family or snoozing at your feet especially after a busy day.

Purpose
Herding, Stock Guarding, Hunting, Companion
Date of Origin
17th Century
Ancestry
Collie-type

English Shepherd Health

Average Size
Male English Shepherd size stats
Height: 18-23 inches Weight: 40-60 lbs
Female English Shepherd size stats
Height: 18-23 inches Weight: 38-57 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Ear Health and Infection
  • Eye Infections
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Drug Allergy or Sensitivity
  • External Parasites
Occasional Tests
  • Allergy Tests
  • Ophthalmic And Ear Exam
  • Regular Full Physical Examination By Veterinarian
  • Hearing and Ear Tests
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging

English Shepherd Breed History

As the name suggests, the English Shepherd can be traced back to their English roots as the start of the Collie breed in Great Britain. But it was when the settlers started arriving in the 1600s in what is now Virginia, that the English Shepherd story began. The boat journey across the water would have been tough for dogs and settlers alike, with many dogs not surviving the long trip. The settlers brought their top dogs with them to the New Land, and because of the drop in numbers during the trip over, they then had to breed different Collie types together to make up for the dogs lost on the trip. The colonists needed the help of their dogs to move their stock across the land and therefore, they were a vital part of the settler's success in this new region. These new American Collies produced a strong breed over time, with the dogs becoming larger, stronger and adaptable to different conditions. Often they were used not only for herding, but as hunting dogs, or as protection for the family in the wilderness. The dog also had to adapt to a new country, which meant different types of climate and different animals such as bears, wolves and mountain lions. Breeding lines became based on their working ability, not their looks, so the dogs varied considerably in size and appearance. This characteristic is still seen today in the English Shepherd with some sporting thick fluffy coats, while others have coats that are less dense, and they vary in size. Different regions have produced a slightly different version of the English Shepherd, depending on location, climate and owner requirements. During the  1940s and 1950s the English Shepherd was one of the most common breeds in America because of the number of small farms, but by the end of the 1970s, this dog had become a rare breed. Thankfully their numbers are now increasing due to the dedication of some committed breeders and the United English Shepherd Association has produced a standard for the dog to ensure this valuable dog continues to thrive.

English Shepherd Breed Appearance

The English Shepherd varies quite a lot in appearance although you can clearly see the Collie influence in the breed. Weighing up to 60 pounds and standing around 23 inches in height, they are a medium sized dog with an athletic yet muscular build. The English Shepherd has a deep chest allowing for all that running around, and they are longer in the body than they are high. Their tail is long, held low and has a curve in length with some feathering. Their coat is designed to protect them from the elements and is of medium length with a longer outer coat and a short, dense inner coat. The head is elegant with a pointed muzzle although the head is slightly flat at the top. The ears are feathered and can be upright or drooping, or even a mix of the both. Their eyes are alert, watchful and dark in color, and they don't miss anything. But they have a happy expression and a joyful smile when they are out burning off their abundant energy. The legs are strong and feathered, and they can have a ruff of fur around their neck. The English Shepherd is an attractive looking dog and has a rich variety of coat colors such as black, tan, white, sable and tricolored.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown English Shepherd eyes
Brown
amber English Shepherd eyes
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
black English Shepherd nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
silver English Shepherd coat
Silver
white English Shepherd coat
White
brown English Shepherd coat
Brown
black English Shepherd coat
Black
sable English Shepherd coat
Sable
pied English Shepherd coat
Pied
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
English Shepherd curly coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

English Shepherd Breed Maintenance

The English Shepherd does need a bit of attention when it comes to their appearance, as their dense coat seems to be shedding almost all of the time. If you don't like dog hair in the house and dislike vacuuming, then this is not the dog for you. But indulging your dog in a couple of hair grooming sessions each week will help alleviate the problem. The English Shepherd doesn't need a regular bath; they only need one when they have been out in the mud or when they have rolled in something unpleasant. Using a mild dog shampoo will help maintain the natural oil balance in the dog's skin and help to prevent allergies from harsh products. Other points to check are your dog's teeth. They can get dental decay just like us, so check those pearly white teeth and brush them at least twice a week. If you smell something unpleasant on your dog, it may come from an ear infection. These infections can produce a horrible smell, not to mention the condition can aggravate your dog, so check their ears regularly and wipe out with a soft damp cloth. The final task is to give your dog a manicure if they haven't worn their nails down naturally. Get a veterinarian to show you how to do it correctly so that you don't hurt your dog. Then all they need is a cuddle and they will be lovely and soft, just like a teddy bear!

Brushes for English Shepherd
Pin Brush
Comb
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
English Shepherd requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

English Shepherd Temperament

Intelligent, active, stubborn, kind, playful and very talented are the words that describes the English Shepherd. Bred to be a working dog by nature, this dog loves to be involved with everything. If you live on a farm, then so much the better as the English Shepherd will have plenty to do. They will adapt well to a house in a small city, as long as you have the time to give them a couple of long walks each day. A large yard is best for this dog so that they can move around, check out the fence line, and ensure no rats enter the property! They need a strong pack leader to bond to, yet will still be affectionate with all the family. Because of their protective instincts, they can be willful and challenge you for leadership. They need someone who is patient and consistent with their handling and who can be the boss; otherwise, this charming pup will pick up the reins and claim boss status. The English Shepherd is known to be protective and kind towards children and will be playful buddies enjoying their games. They do shed a lot of the time, so be prepared for dog hair around the home. But they are soft and cuddly and it's easy to forgive them for shedding. When strangers arrive, you will be told about it by your vigilant dog. But they are not aggressive although in dire situations when family safety is an issue, this canine will give their life without hesitation. They are loyal, playful and a true character, with a mind that is intelligent and sometimes full of mischief. But this dog is never dull - they will entertain you for hours.

English Shepherd Activity Requirements

This dog is wired to be energetic; they need to work and work hard! If the English Shepherd doesn't get enough exercise, they can become a barker and will chew everything in sight. A family who is active and loves to trek, cycle or run is ideal for this dog, or a small farm allotment where they can hone their skills rounding up stock or their people. This pup also does well as a therapy dog, or in search and rescue. As a breed, they love to be busy. They also are very playful and will enjoy family games, making great pets or buddies for children, and they will enjoy tasks that make them solve a problem. This is one dog who loves mental stimulation. Hide their food inside a puzzle toy and watch how they work out how to get the treat inside! This active dog does need plenty of socialising as a puppy,  so that they grow up to be confident. They are often good with other household pets, apart from trying to herd them of course. And they tend to be amazingly patient and caring with young children, looking after them and guiding them around. If you can't give your English Shepherd a couple of long walks each day or plenty of activity, then this is not a good match. But if you like running or live on a farm, then the English Shepherd will be your loyal and trusted companion for life.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
16 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
120 minutes

English Shepherd Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

English Shepherd Height & Weight

6 Months
Male English Shepherd size stats at six months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 16 lbs
Female English Shepherd size stats at six months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 15 lbs
12 Months
Male English Shepherd size stats at 12 months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 27 lbs
Female English Shepherd size stats at 12 months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 25 lbs
18 Months
Male English Shepherd size stats at 18 months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 52 lbs
Female English Shepherd size stats at 18 months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 50 lbs

English Shepherd Owner Experiences

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