English Sheppard Puppies
Kettlestick Farm
Kenbridge, VA

English Shepherd - The Breed

Originally bred as a farm dog, this breed is intelligent and adaptable. They serve well as family pets in urban environments. They are also used for hunting, search and rescue (SAR), and as therapy dogs.

The English Shepherd is an extremely versatile breed of working dog of the collie lineage, developed in the United States from farm dogs brought by English and Scottish settlers in the 17th through 19th centuries before pedigrees became fashionable around the end of the 19th century. Subsistence farmers appreciated the breed for their versatility and not for their flash or strict conformation to a standard of appearance.

The English Shepherd is a highly intelligent, all-around farm dog, being used as a herding dog, livestock guardian, farm watch dog, hunting dog, vermin eradicator and a child's companion. English Shepherds were not bred to be specialized to work one type of livestock as some recent herding dogs have been. English Shepherds were bred to do many tasks on the small diversified farms of the 17th through early 20th centuries that had various types of livestock including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and fowl. It may have been the most common breed in America during the 19th and early 20th century.

English Shepherds are similar in appearance to Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. English Shepherds usually have tails and a less rounded head than many Aussies.

The English Shepherd is a medium-sized dog, usually somewhat longer than it is tall. It generally weighs between 20 to 30 kilograms (44 to 66 lb) and is balanced in proportions.

The coat is medium length and can be straight, wavy, or curly. There is frequently feathering on the legs and tail, as well as on the ear. As a working dog, the coat should be easy to keep, requiring very little grooming. Dirt tends to just fall away. The primary coat colors are: sable and white (clear and shaded), tricolor, black and white, and black and tan. Other variations such as solid dogs of any color, piebalds, and red nosed tricolors and sables also exist but are not common.


The English Shepherd temperament is the defining characteristic of the breed, with high 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 and learn routines quickly. Some can be watchful of strangers and are 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. They have a natural instinct to chase and enjoy playing a game of fetch. They tend to become calm and relaxed at the end of the day, likely to curl up at their owner's feet.

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Email: will@kettlestick.net

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This page was last updated on July 9, 2017