What qualities do you value in your English Shepherd?

And as to ES qualities on stock: my ES is my only dog who will do whatever the situation warrants - want him to head? fine. Want him to heel? That's fine, too. Want him to NOT grip? That's another question. Despite this characteristic, he's the only one of my dogs who doesn't display a preference (aside from his preference to work in the direction his bad hips are more comfortable for him) and who I trust on ducks (when I don't want to cook them). This is NOT the case with my Aussies or my ACD. This dog is truly the perfect all around dog. He hunts (though not formally; he's quite personally successful), he is also the only dog in this house whose alarms are real 100% of the time, he's the one I'd want to protect me (and who has), he is the most versatile on stock, and he's also the best obedience and freestyle dog I have (although this is totally aside from the point). He's the best dog with kids and the best therapy dog I have, as well, and has worked with many a child who has ended up in the hospital in the first place due to dog bites.

That's what I'd like to preserve. Although I have a real preference for the B&T (chalk that up to Rufus), it's not anything to do with appearance, but the dog needs to be able to do it all. And my ES can. And the next ES I get will need to be able to, as well.

Pam Kaye
Butte, MT
I feel it is the working quality of the ES that should be preserved. I love and appreciate the grit that my dogs have, the way they will keep any stranger animals off the property, the way they protect and serve as guardians. The way they work sheep is phenomenal to watch. I swear I can see the wheels in their heads turning as they think for themselves. I love the way they are soooo gentle with Emily and all other children.

I have only recently been exposed to many many breeds and am able to analyze and appreciate all the differences and it makes me really see how special my ES are. I grew up with terriers in the suburbs. Not a real dog savvy family, just a family with pets. What I know now of dogs, I have learned in the last 4 years so I am not a very experienced person but I have learned alot. My dogs listen to me, but when there is something that they know has to be done they may choose not to listen. For example, Jack and Sadie were barking non stop at the sliding glass doors. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner and told them to stop. My fault, I should have went to see what they were barking at. They chose to not listen and keep barking, then they would run in the kitchen, circle around me and try to get me to follow which I eventually did. Turns out there was a great big black bear right by the stairs of my deck.

Would I ever compete in a UKC event? Probably not. Yes, I train Sadie in agility and rally obedience. She has a busy little mind that needs stuff to do and until I have my land and livestock, I keep her as busy as possible. Plus she is a showoff and loves it. I compete only in APDT which is all breeds and mixed breeds and only in my immediate area. My trainer happens to be a judge. I don't make it a point to seek out competitions, so I don't consider Sadie and I serious about it.

I am not sure if I really summed up why I think the ES is so special. I love all dogs but there is just such an intelligence in the ES, you can see it in their facial expressions. I love the way Sadie talks back to me. I love both my dogs being velcro dogs and almost killing me because I trip over them all the time. To me the ES is a personality not a look.

Sadie and Jack
>> ---------Oh, Elaine. Don't get me started.

1. The ES will work, but they work with you. If you walk away and leave them in the lot with the animals, they are basically off duty, till you come back.

2. They don't chase the animals down the fence to the road, and then get run over by a car.

3. They know that danger can come from many directions, and learn to watch buzzards with a critical eye, and bark for help if they see swarms.

4. They know when something is born, hatched or sick. they just know.

5. They can count. They know how many babies there are in whatever group they are tending, and will go and hunt for the lost ones.

6. The mommas know they mean their babies no harm, and will let them help in the cleaning of the newborns.

7. They know who is allowed out of strange pick-up trucks, and who is not. The ones who aren't allowed are made to get back in their trucks.

8. They hear you call them before you do.

9. They can stop a bull by a hard look, and make him change his mind.

10. They are patient with handicapped animals. The blind ewe is turned back ever so gently, even though the rest get the full rush.

11. They would unhesitatingly put their lives in danger to protect their families.

12. They know every gate on the property, and where to position themselves to block the ones who would turn aside.

13. They can keep chickens off your back porch, turkeys out of the back yard, and will never touch the eggs in the chicken house, even though they love them. (eggs laid in the yard are fair game)

14. When they get in a dog fight, they are not playing.


The English Shepehrds rates their stock better than any other breed I have used. This empathy that they have for their charges is what sets them apart in my book and whatI love most in my dog...

Elaine Reynolds
The English Shepherd Club
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