Working Character

“Unrefined to this day, English Shepherds still possess antique features once common to all early shepherds dogs- its broad head, varying ear carriage and tail lengths, its half-coat, its multi-purpose working type and its sagacity remain hallmarks of the breed. These dogs are living history. What many shepherds once were, the English Shepherd still is.” ~ Vivian Flynt, Breed Historian

    The English Shepherd is a gorgeous dog of medium build. The average adult stands around 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs 50 pounds. A dense coat of medium length hair requires minimal grooming, sheds water and dirt, and is able to adjust to any climate. English Shepherds are level-headed, suited to many jobs around the small or large farm. Energetic, agile, athletic, quick, sturdy and muscular. The English Shepherd shows alertness and intelligence in his face. They have the unique ability to adapt to all types of livestock, never too rough, discerning the amount of force needed whether cattle or chickens. Naturally gentle with young livestock and children.

    Natural instincts enable him to work independently with minimal direction, using choice and consequence sometimes unbelievable. Yet, he desires to please and work in partnership with his master, too. Not obsessive about herding, the English Shepherd is quite willing to lie about, even on your lap, when there is no work to do. Just when you think him asleep, with an eager gaze and bright eyes he springs into action when duty calls!

The English Shepherd works in an upright, loose-eyed manner. Generally a low heeler, he will herd and drive or lead when needed but is not obsessive. Often referred to as possessing an ‘off switch.’ Confident and purposeful, his commitment to rules compels him to maintain order even when his master is absent. 

A Unique Spirit

The English Shepherd is highly intelligent and relatively easy to teach. Eager to learn,

the more you teach, the more they desire! It is said they are capable of learning
300 words and posses the intellect of a 3-year old child. Accompanying his master in
daily chores, the English Shepherd learns the order and routine, then develops the desire
and ability to maintain that order.
Unequaled as companions, the English Shepherd is easy going and loves affection,
developing a close bond with his master.
Stories abound through the generations of
astonishing acts of devotion. Fortunate is the child who grows up with an English
Shepherd as his best friend! During both world wars of the twentieth century, English
Shepherds were used as mascots and
couriers often times dodging bullets, proof of their
stamina, grit, and devotion.

An English Shepherd possesses a unique spirit.
Treat him mean and it will hurt his feelings, but with
just one kind word he comes running, all is forgiven.
With a calm disposition, he often forms a nurturing bond
with the master’s livestock, exerting a calming influence
on them, in turn.
Intensely loyal. Affectionate. Desiring to please.
Ever aware. These are the hallmarks of the amazing
English Shepherd!

Physical Characteristics

Head: Medium length. Broad and slightly rounded between ears.
Muzzle: Moderately broad, neither pug nor pointy.Nose: Generally solid black; fully pigmented.Eyes: Brown and moderately round; slight oblique set. Should express character with a strong, intelligent look.Ears: Typically wide apart; stand slightly outward at the base with a sharp bend; lie close to head when relaxed, raised up slightly when alert.Neck: Strong and arched.

Body: Back is strong and level, loins strong and deep with a slight muscular arch. Shoulders well laid back. Ribs well sprung and chest extending down in depth approximately to elbows. Body slightly longer than tall. Chest moderately broad.Legs: Forelegs straight when viewed from the front. Pasterns short, thick, strong, but still flexible. Back legs well boned and muscled, placed well apart. Feet oval and compact, toes together and well arched, well padded and tough. Rear dewclaws are common.

Tail: Moderately long with sweep toward the end. The carriage may vary, but preferable held low when standing relaxed.

Gait: From the front at a fast trot, the front feet track close together, but do not cross over. The gait should give the impression of ability to change direction instantaneously. The dog moves ahead in a straight line with effortless motion and without a rolling gait. From the rear, the hind legs are straight and converge as pace increases so as to take the weight under the center of gravity. The gait is smooth without choppiness.

Coat: Medium length and texture; straight, wavy or curly; weather and dirt resistant with an undercoat that sheds seasonally. Hair is short and smooth on the head, outside of ears, the front of forelegs and below hocks. Back of forelegs are moderately feathered; breeches are moderately full; the tail is plume-like. A correct English Shepherd should require minimal grooming.

Color: The four predominant color patterns are: black & tan, tri-color (black, tan & white), black & white and sable & white. White markings are typically distributed in an “Irish” pattern, with or without a white collar.

Size: Height- 18 to 24 inches, preference for 19-22″; Weight- 40 to 80 lbs, lean and fit condition; males larger than females.


Difference Between Other Breeds