English Shepherds at Grand Oaks Farm
People often ask us, "Why did you choose English Shepherds?" Well, the answer to that question is simple - we like animals with history. The English Shepherd is also known as the old-fashioned "farm collie", which fits beautifully with our farm. We searched for a breed of dogs that would be comfortable with various types of livestock while also possessing intelligence and calm dispositions. The English Shepherd quickly rose to the top of our search.
One of the characteristics we most like about the English Shepherds is their temperament. This particular herding breed is frequently called “English Shadow” because the dogs like to be with their owners. They tend to be laid back when compared to a Border Collie and without being high-strung like an Australian Shepherd. Generally, English Shepherds do like to know the “rules/expectations” and to have everything in its place.
We looked a long time for our first our first English Shepherds, which we finally acquired in 2020. In fact we kept an eye on two specific breeders for several years until we were in a position to buy our English Shepherds. Meet Ruthie, Ruger, and Cowboy, our farm collies and English "shadows".
If you are interested in learning more about English Shepherds, the English Shepherd Club website has very good information about the breed.
She is a black tricolor with a calm and sweet disposition. Ruthie is our "English Shadow” with soulful brown eyes. She enjoys being with us, and you will often find her wherever her favorite people are.
She is quite smart and shows an aptitude with the cattle. Ruthie comes from a herding dog family, and the breeder tells us that puppies from her grand-dam are in demand with ranches out west for their strong herding abilities.
She is the top dog on the farm and will often wrestle or play tag and hide-and-seek with Ruger and Cowboy.
Town & Country's Wm. Ruger
He is a saddleback, which is a form of the tricolor/sable color patterns. Ruger is a solidly built dog with athletic ability.
He is energetic, quick to learn, and pretty compliant when given a command. He is quick to alert us if something is out of place or the local coyotes are calling. Ruger loves to be held and to cuddle with us as well as play fetch. He also dearly enjoys to ride in a wagon or sled, and he relishes standing on the heights of a stump or short stack of hay.
His herding style is heading, and he wants to bring the cows back to us. As we continue teaching him herding commands, Ruger is gaining greater confidence with the cattle. However, his preference is with the smaller animals on the farm. Ruger is the dog we use to catch stray chickens if we want a dog’s assistance because he will pin the bird to the ground and wait for us to grab it.
Ruger has been retired from breeding.
Town & Country's Cowboy
He is a darker saddleback than his half-brother Ruger. Cowboy is quick to please and quite good with the cattle. This is one sharp dog! He is characterized by expectant anticipation.
He is an avid chore helper and an obedient dog. Cowboy has a sweet disposition, yet he also actively alerts us to any visitors on the farm. He loves to snuggle and be busy around the farm. Like Ruger, he enjoys riding, especially in a wheelbarrow. He plays tag with Ruger and Ruthie as well as other dog games.
At four months old, Cowboy was already assisting with cattle moves between pastures. His natural herding style appears to be a preference to work from behind rather than heading.