English Shepherd Puppies
Information, Behavior and Training

If you are looking for an all-around farm dog, English Shepherd puppies are known for blooming into working dogs valued for their versatility, loyalty and devotion.

Also known as Farm Collies and Farm Shepherds, these dogs make wonderful companions in the right home.

Equipped with a strong desire to work, English Shepherd dogs make practical workers for farmers interested more in function than flash.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy or adopting an adult dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, I hope this article will help you find the answers to your questions.

English Shepherd Information and History

Many experts believe that ancestors of this breed, and all English and Scottish sheep dogs, were introduced to the British Isles by the Romans sometime in the first century A.D. Over the years, these dogs were crossed with local dogs that had similar herding skills and, eventually, new breeds began to emerge. The English Shepherd breed was developed from those early crosses and originates from northern England and Scotland.

In the old days, dog's appearance always played a secondary role to working abilities. And that explains why English Shepherds puppies were selectively bred to be versatile, all-around working dogs.

The first specimens of this breed arrived in the United States along with English settlers in the early 1600s. Back then, when farms had no fences, these dogs made faithful protectors of the farm and livestock.

Nowadays, as small farms in the Midwest and eastern United States have reduced in numbers, the English Shepherd has become a rare breed.

This breed is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club; however, it's been registered through the United Kennel Club since 1927.

English Shepherd

English Shepherd Standard

The English Shepherd is a medium-sized dog built for speed and good maneuverability. The overall impression is of an intelligent dog with many prized qualities that allow it to effectively work livestock and conduct other chores.

The body is strong, slightly longer than tall and with harmonious proportions. The moderately long neck is typically arched and carried raised when alert. The chest is deep and boasts well-sprung ribs. The backline is level with strong, deep loins. The tail is moderately long, slightly curved and carried higher than the back when the dog is alert. Natural bobtails are accepted in this breed.

The muscular, straight forelegs feature flexible pasterns. The rear legs are muscular and built to provide strength when springing. The round, compact feet feature arched toes and strong pads. The dewclaws are typically removed.

The head boasts an intelligent expression. The eyes are medium brown to dark brown in color and moderately round. The ears are typically wide at the base, with the tips folding over. The nose is black. The teeth meet in a scissor bite.

The coat in this breed is thick and can be straight, wavy or curly. With a double coat boasting a soft undercoat and a coarse outer coat, this dog is well protected from the outdoor elements. English Shepherds come in five different colored coat patterns: black and white, black and tan, sable and white, white and tan, and black, white and tan.

    Height Weight
  Male 19 to 23 inches 45 to 60 pounds
  Female 18 to 21 inches 40 to 50 pounds


As many other breeds, English Shepherd puppies require loads of socialization training during early puppyhood. If you are looking for a good watchdog, English Shepherds are great candidates that will alert you of approaching strangers. However, with a past as a faithful guardian, this breed requires guidance so it can effectively learn how to differentiate friend from foe.

This breed is wonderful with children and accepting of other dogs, especially when the English Shepherd puppy is raised with them from early puppyhood; however, no matter how docile your dog is with children, never leave him around them unattended. With small pets, use caution and keep in mind this breed's past use as a hunter!

English Shepherd training can be a breeze due to this breed's eagerness to comply immediately when commanded; however, this independent worker can also be stubborn at times. Avoid harsh or heavy-handed methods with this sensitive breed. Try your best to be a firm, consistent and gentle leader when dealing with English Shepherd puppies and dogs.

While they can often be confused for Border Collies, the main differences that set them apart are quickly recognized when comparing their herding styles. Border Collies typically herd sheep using strong eye contact and a crouching stance; whereas, English Shepherds have an upright stance and a loose-eyed herding style. Additionally, as very versatile dogs, they can herd virtually any kind of stock.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

English Shepherd puppies do best with an experienced owner and are generally not recommended for novice, first-time owners. If you are interested in this breed, keep in mind that English Shepherds have been selectively bred for generations to be all-purpose farm dogs rather than companions.

There is no place better than a farm for these fellows. Whether they are destined to hunt the varmints out of the hen house or keep deer out of your produce garden, these dogs fit a rural lifestyle beautifully. Best of all, at the end of the day, they will watch over your children and then curl up contently by a crackling fire.

If you don't have a farm, a home with a large yard may suffice, but you will need to find good outlets for this breed's need for exercise. English Shepherd puppies are definitively not suited for an apartment lifestyle.

Activity and Exercise

When you blend intelligence and trainability with athleticism, you get a breed that is a great candidate for many dog sports.

It does well in the enticing sports of dog agility, Treibball, Frisbee and Flyball. It's also capable of competing at the highest levels of obedience. And, of course, these dogs excel in herding trials. Just make sure you wait until English Shepherd puppies are at least 1 year old before engaging them in strenuous exercise; this puts too much strain on their growing joints and bones.

At a minimum, these dogs need to be taken for several long walks every day.


With a history of working on farms, these dogs are pretty low maintenance when it comes to grooming. An occasional brushing will keep the coat neat and tidy and free of mats. You may want to brush more often when this breed blows its coat. Bathe them only when absolutely necessary.

Health Concerns

While this breed is generally healthy, there have been some occasional cases of hip dysplasia.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

If you are looking for English Shepherd puppies, it's in your best interest to find a reputable breeder who health tests his breeding stock. Look for English Shepherd breeders who offer health guarantees with their pups and that have the pup's parents certified to be free of hip and elbow dysplasia.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years.

Final Thoughts...

If you are intimidated by the enormous amount of energy of English Shepherd puppies and young dogs, you can try opening your heart and home to a calmer, older fellow. Try to contact an English Shepherd rescue for your perfect match.

Whether you are looking for an all-purpose working dog or an energetic companion to enroll in the newest doggie sports, this breed will likely meet or exceed your expectations. But don't expect to easily find ads of English Shepherd puppies for sale in your local newspaper; this breed is not easy to come by!

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local English Shepherd rescue and adoption center. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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