English Shepherd

Type: Herding Dog

Height: Males: 19 - 24 inches; Females: 18 - 21 inches.

Weight: Males: 45-70 lbs.; Females: 40 - 50 lbs. Some dogs may reach up to 90 pounds.

Life Span: 12 - 16 years.

Litter Size:

Country of Origin: England

Activity: High

Watch-dog: High. English Shepherds are alert.

Guard-dog: Medium. English Shepherds are very watchful as guards of the home and some are wary of strangers, but some can be friendly to strangers as well.


Description: The English Shepherd is a working dog that is qualified to perform a variety of tasks. The English Shepherd is a good herding dog for farmer's livestock. They work well by themselves or under supervision. English Shepherds makes great companions and are always fun to be around. They are very friendly, happy and hard working dogs. They are good with children, and do not specialize in a single species to herd. They can herd a variety, including pigs, sheep, cattle and even poultry. The English Shepherd is known to be more "loose-eyed", not using stare tactics to herd as much as the Border Collie. English Shepherds have been known as the "good ol' farm dog", because they perform a variety of tasks. They have even been known to aid in arguments between children and help them walk. Some are so personable that owners claim that "by the time they are five or six, you can carry on a decent conversation with him." English Shepherds make excellent helpers and pets, as they are medium-sized dogs with big hearts. They have a broad muzzle, broad drop ears and a long tail. Sometimes the tail is naturally bobbed. They have a double coat with fur that may be straight or curly, with feathering on the legs and tail. The typical American farm dog, English Shepherds make excellent friends with their masters.

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Other Names: Old Farm Collie, Farm Collie, Farm Shepherd

Colors: Black and tan, black, white and tan, sable and white, black and white.

Coat: English Shepherds have a double coat that is plentiful with long, slightly coarse, straight or wavy hair (except on the face or legs). The undercoat is soft and fine.

Temperament: Calm, friendly and eager to work or play. They are great with children, and are good with other pets as well. English Shepherds are intelligent, energetic and highly trainable. Fearless and alert, they are devoted to their masters and family. They are eager hunters, and retain a unique kindness about them. They are adaptable and can work independently or supervised. Some can have a bossy attitude, enforcing the rules. Some are wary of strangers and are more one-family or one-person dogs, but most get along with everyone.

With Children: Yes, good with children.

With Pets: Yes, good with other dogs and other pets.

Special Skills: Highly active, agile, trainable, keen senses and a devoted caretaker of its family.

Care and Training: Moderate exercise with little grooming. English Shepherds are a high energy breed, but adapt well to slower environments. Any dirt collected on the coat tends to be cleaned on its own. Easily trainable, the English Shepherd is very intelligent. They are eager to please and willing to work hard.

Learning Rate: Highly intelligent. Obedience - High.

Special Needs: Exercise, job or activity to do, socialization and training.

Living Environment: A working farm dog, the English Shepherd would probably do best in a country farm setting, dong various chores. They enjoy helping out, even if it is helping little children to walk. The best owner for this breed would be an active, dog-experienced owner living in a rural or suburban environment with an activity to do.

Health Issues: Usually a pretty healthy dog, thought hip dysplasia is not uncommon in the breed.

History: English Shepherds are the typical farm dog, seen in movies and across the fields of America helping out with every day chores. As quoted in 1937 by Leon F. Whitney, "It is probably the most numerous dog in America. It is the ordinary shepherd that one sees on farm after farm throughout the country." Developed from the Scotch Collie, the Border Collie and other working dogs were bred into the mix to create the English Shepherd. They had their start in England and soon transferred to the U.S. by settlers in the early American colonies. American farmers enjoyed the breed, using them as herders, guardians and hunters. They found them to be hard workers, agile and perfect for farm life. At first they were known simply as the "good ol' farm collie". The name spanned from Old Farm Collie to Farm Collie to Farm Shepherd to English Shepherd. Their report was not well known throughout, and they simply spread by word of mouth in America. Even today, their existence is not well known by their name, only by their appearance. They have become the epitome of the farm dog, serving as the all-purpose dog. Today the breed is used as a farm dog and family pet, and is a fairly rare breed.

Class: Sheepdog, Cattledog

Registries: UKC (since 1934)