English Shepherd: American Breed With a Misleading Name

English Shepherd: American Breed With a Misleading Name

Author WDF Staff


The English Shepherd is a relatively unknown but a superior working breed fully developed in the United States of America. They are herding dogs described as being some of the best herding dogs in the world, which shouldn’t be a huge surprise since they are closely related to the Collies that come from the UK.

These active dogs are still working on farms today and are great at herding large sheep and cattle flocks. They are active and brilliant, so don’t be surprised if you ever come across an English Shepherd working a flock.



18 - 23 in



40 - 60 lb




 Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

10 - 13 years

The need for working shepherd dogs has decreased, and most working dogs have reinvented themselves as active family pets. This is also the goal these dogs aim for, but there is still a long way to go. They are not internationally recognized, but breed enthusiasts are working towards that goal.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

If you are interested in finding out a bit more about English Shepherds, here are the things you should know.


The history of the English Shepherd is connected to the history of the Scottish Collies, and it is widely believed that the ancient Romans brought their herding dogs to Great Britain when they first invaded in 55 B.C. Those Roman dogs were in charge of herding the cattle brought with the Roman army, and after their retreat, excess dogs were left behind. British farmers took in the hard-working dogs and crossbred them with the native shepherding breeds.

Local herding dogs developed and have worked in British farms for over 2.000 years, and some of the best herding dogs were developed that way - breeds like Border Collie, Rough, and Smooth Collie, Old English Sheepdog, etc.

British farmers started going to the new continent and settled the land there. They have brought their dogs with them, and that is when the detailed history of the English Shepherd begins. British dogs were crossed with American dogs, and the result was a versatile, intelligent, herding dog named “American Farm Shepherd” and was later renamed to the “English Shepherd.”

The temperament of the English Shepherd

When it comes to working shepherding dogs, there is nothing more important than their character and working ability. This is not a breed you would expect to sit idly at home and be peaceful and content. These are highly energetic working dogs that are the happiest when entrusted with a job they can perform. That is exactly what you should expect from your English Shepherd.

These dogs are very intelligent; they can perform complicated jobs and tasks if they were adequately trained. They are active, so if you are looking to get a family pet make sure they receive enough daily exercises and activities not to develop problematic behavior. These dogs can be lovely, affectionate, and patient with their owners. They are also very good with kids and other animals, despite playing a vermin controller’s role. Different things can influence their temperament, and the best way to ensure you end up with the best possible English Shepherd is to invest time in their training and socialization from an early age.

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Training your English Shepherd will be a treat. These dogs are closely related to the Border Collie, the most intelligent dog breed in the world. The English Shepherd can be a fast learner, and they can understand and perform a task after only a few repetitions.

Like with other herding breeds, you will need to socialize them to learn not to herd things and people that don’t need to be herded. Teach your dog that they don’t need to employ their herding skills if they are a pet that lives in the city. Expose them to different sights, sounds, people, and dogs while your English Shepherd is still a puppy.

english shepherd at dog agility trial

English Shepherd maintenance

Just because English Shepherds are not a recognized breed doesn’t mean that their needs are different from other shepherding breeds. They are more suited to live inside the house, with the family, even though they have a weather-resistant coat that will shield them from rain and winds. English Shepherds are very active, so you will need to secure enough playing time and daily exercises for them not to become destructive or develop behavioral problems.

If you are interested in having an English Shepherd pet, make sure you provide them with a healthy, well-balanced diet. You can make their meals at home or opt for industrial food with all the necessary ingredients.


Shedding is a big “problem” if you are the type of person that doesn’t like vacuuming too much. English Shepherds are heavy shedders, and to properly maintain their coat, regular brushing and grooming will be a necessity. Twice a year, they will blow their entire undercoat, and that is when you will need to brush them daily to avoid the mess.

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If you have a dog that lives inside the house, it is probably a good idea to have them smelling good. You can bathe your English Shepherd every 8 - 12 weeks. In the meantime, if your dog gets dirty, use a damp cloth to get rid of the dirt. Their coat has protective oils and bathing them too often will strip their coats of those oils.

English Shepherd puppies

When it comes to unrecognized breeds, finding full-grown dogs can be a problem and finding puppies could be nearly impossible. However, if you do manage to get in touch with a breeder that has English Shepherd puppies for sale, there are some things you should ask them first.

Ask if they health tested their breeding dogs, and check if they have good breeding practices. If possible, go to the breeder’s home and see how their dogs are behaving around them. They should be calm, confident and allow the breeder to pick up puppies and pat them. That is the best possible way to ensure that your new English Shepherd puppy has the best possible start.

World Dog Finder team

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