Anyone into English Shepherds? - 'Discussion' starter

Discussion in 'Goats' started by GoslingFever, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. GoslingFever

    GoslingFever Goslings say Weh-Wey-Weh!

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    I have an English Shepherd, and I'm aware of one of the clubs that allow herding dogs not based on pedigree, but herding ability. Some of the members are crossing breeds to bring in new blood, and to enhance traits they feel are important in the dogs they use.

    Now, to start a rip-snortin' discussion, is it fair that these crosses be sold at "full" price? Full price depends on the area the breeder resides in, and the market he/she can tap in to, but most of the working ES are meant for farmers, and priced for farmers $150 or less per dog.

    But I can't help but think of cock-a-poos and oodledoos and bassetjacks, and cuta-coina-nama etc., dogs. I disagree with their reasons for breeding; it is cashing in a FAD plain and simple. However, I can understand a breeder who crosses their best working dogs in effort to get great working puppies - regardless of "breed", and then still make an effort to train them and get them registered with a club that will at least record lineage for future generations, if future generations occur.

    But I just can't see myself saying to a potential buyer, "Yep, this is an ES and GS cross, and since their parents were great, and they are great, the pups are $150 each." Actually, I can't see myself as a buyer, thinking I'm going to pick up a good herding dog mutt, and not giving the owner a "***?" look at the price tag, when I can go get another registered "purebred" ES for that price.

    I guess they are all descended from wolves anyway. So what difference does breed vs. mix make? (Although, ES don't stalk livestock like a wolf would do... must be the domestication thing :)

    :rolleyes:
     
  2. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,629
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Are the dogs being sold with some training, or as weanling pups?
     

  3. GoslingFever

    GoslingFever Goslings say Weh-Wey-Weh!

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    I'm sure some dogs are availble with training, but the ones I've seen are puppies. I saw some ES/Collie crosses, and the breeder wanted the look and color of a rough coat collie, but wanted the good eyes, shorter muzzle, and ability to work.
    These two breeds are pretty similar, although breeding with a farm collie might have met their match a bit better.
     
  4. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,259
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Maryland
    Wow, $150 for a purebred ES? Where? We have purchased two in the past two years and I didn't find any for less than $350.

    Anyway, on your question. I can't see paying that much for a mutt, even if it is crossed with an ES. My other issue would be that breeders have worked really hard to bring this breed back from the brink of non-existance and to mix in other breeds now might make it harder to keep the breed pure. But then, purebred dogs tend to have more health problems too. So I dunno. I guess as long as the breeders are honest about what they've done, and it's what the buyers want, it's their money.
     
  5. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

    Messages:
    4,568
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Location:
    Maine
    Of course. If the breeder has done all the testing responsible breeds do, has an excellent working b*tch, finds an excellent working stud and has all or most of an expect litter spoken for, why shouldn't they get $150? Or more? They're putting in at least as much time, effort and money as an AKC breeder. I have pedigrees for the two litters I bred that go back a minimum of eight (second litter) and nine (first litter) generations.

    I have two farmcollies (one purchased from a working bloodline in Michigan and the other is her son) that are worth ten times their weight in gold. I spent a lot of time working with pups for eight to 12 weeks. Here's an example of what one of these dogs can do at very young ages: http://www.thewinonafarm.com/farmcollie.htm I have a pic of Tessa and Sadie herding the turkeys that morning on a disc some where. If anyone has doubts I can track down the pic. The link included on that site doesn't work. That's an old website I no longer have.

    Out of 18 puppies only one had questionable instinct at 8 weeks. I kept him until he was 5 months old. With some time and work he caught on to what it is farmcollies do. He's now on a vegetable/cattle farm in Massachusetts and doing a great job.

    A working farm dog is worth a lot more than $150. $150 x 9 pups per litter - two trips to the vet for shots, worming and checkups, health certificates, 200 mile trips to the airport for those flying to their new homes, food, vet check before breeding, all the tests before deciding the b*tch was breeding quality, endless rolls of paper towels for piddle puddles and poops - it's hard to break even at $150. I didn't sell many pups that inexpensively.

    This is not meant to be a slam any more the original question was. It's something to think about: I wasn't able to find a purebred that could do the work the breed was intended for. I couldn't find a collie that would herd my goats and cattle, protect all of the livestock and poultry, and take care of pests such as raccoons, mice and groundhogs. Is it fair to charge full price for those? Of course. Value is where you find it.
     
  6. GoslingFever

    GoslingFever Goslings say Weh-Wey-Weh!

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    I'm glad you shared your view. I agree - I've been wondering what others think of this.
    I am not slamming those that cross breeds to get a better dog - how did any of the dog breeds come about? Necessity, mostly. Ratters, hunters, herders - the dogs were chosen for their working ability, and bred to the other working dogs to create good working dogs. In fact, I agree with it, if it is for a purpose.

    Maybe Wisconsin is just a poorer place, but the farmers around here charge $150 or less for ES - We had a litter of 17 from one female, and we sold pups for $50 or traded for items we needed. We aren't in it for the money, and we wanted them to go to farmers.

    As for training good ES and getting the money's worth - we did that too. 17 puppies was an INSANE amount of pups to have at one time, but we worked with them, and they were pretty much housetrained by 6 weeks. One of the women who bought two puppies had them working with herding and agility by 7 wks, and they were doing amazing - with little guidance, they had the instincts they needed to herd.

    A lot of the breeders around here, and not just ES, advertise a price of $150 or so, but will take trades or go down on price if people barter. Not because they are bad breeders, but they need the money, and as long as the home is good (or if the home is good and they really can't afford the dog) then that is really what matters.
     
  7. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,259
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Maryland
    I wanted to clarify my post. I would pay $150 for a pup from two really good working dogs, despite not being purebred, especially if they were registered with an association. I'm not sure I would pay $350 or $400. I think $150 is a bargain for a really good working farm dog.

     
  8. Madge

    Madge Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    OK, can somebody enlighten me here please? I live in England and we have German Shepherds, we have Australian Shepherds and we have Old English Sheepdogs ( you know , bobtail with hair over their eyes, gray and white jobs) but I don't think we have English Shepherds as such. What do they look like and do they have another name?
     
  9. GoslingFever

    GoslingFever Goslings say Weh-Wey-Weh!

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is our ES, although the colors and body types of the ES vary.
    But I don't know if the UK has "ES" per se. www.englishshepherd.org's statement is "An American Breed".

    They go on to state, "The English Shepherd is descended from the same stock as the collies and shepherds of the UK. When settlers came to the US they brought their farm dogs with them and this type of dog was commonly called an "English Shepherd". It was (and is) also sometimes called the farm collie or the farm shepherd and as the English Shepherd has been recognized as a distinct breed, registered with the UKC, since the 1930's. Photographic evidence of this type of dog is very common. The turn of the century postcard above could have been taken with any modern English Shepherd at an "Olde Tyme Photo Booth".

    The English Shepherd is a practical, "loose-eyed", working dog, with instincts to heel and drive livestock. They will adapt to the work at hand and will herd cattle, sheep, hogs, or poultry. Some have been trained for hunting. Stories of courage and problem solving are common. The English Shepherd is energetic and athletic, yet very gentle. They are noted for their calm good judgement and are content to curl up at the owner's feet at the end of a busy day."

    "Brief Description:
    Height: 18 to 24 inches at the withers.
    Weight: 35 to 90 pounds. Males are usually larger than females and dogs over 60 pounds are less common and defintly not preferred. The breed developed locally so different sizes, types or lines are common. The breed is generally considered a medium sized dog.


    The English Shepherd head and neck are carried slightly raised. Ears are usually a low semi-prick, close to the head, and raised when alert. The skull is wide with only a very slight dome. The muzzle is moderately broad with a scissor bite. The nose is black and eyes are brown; their chest is deep and wide. The gaze will express intelligence and alertness. The English Shepherd coat is glossy, straight or wavy, and about 2 inches long. The topline is straight, the bushy tail is carried in a downward sweep, with the tip of bone reaching the hock. The hocks are straight, turning neither in or out. The tail is elevated when alert. An occasional natural bob-tail English Shepherd may occur in some lines."

    A note on the bob-tail, it is in some lines for sure. My uncle has a female bob that throws bobs every litter. When we bred our male to a bob, she had 17 pups and out of them we had bobs and half bobs. We had a bunch of people asking if we had aussies or had docked their tails. "Nope! It's Natural!"
     
  10. GoslingFever

    GoslingFever Goslings say Weh-Wey-Weh!

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    This will give you some idea of color differences (and there are a whole lot more!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And I have to post this one because it illustrates the herding instinct of this breed so well (Ingrid the gosling is to Shep's left) he's hanging out with her since Quigley didn't like her yet.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Starlighthill

    Starlighthill Northern Michigan

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    I raise English Shepherds and have had 6 over the past 15 years. I love the breed's all purpose nature and don't see any reason to cross it with another breed. It is a rare breed with a small gene pool and I like to see the breed promoted as purebred rather than crossed with something else. I also don't like to think of some of the crosses entering the registered population because of the impact that could have on such a rare breed.
    Price wise I've never paid more than $250 and except for one dog, I always bought from farmers.
    I rely heavily on my dogs to help around the homestead. Just the other night Zelda woke me out of a sound sleep by slapping me with her paws and barking toward the window. Without her, I'd have lost a lot more than 5 ducks to the foxes. Their help moving sheep, ducks and geese from the pastures means my chores get done quicker and I have companionship at chore time. They are fine watchdogs and protectors of the farm and home. IMO, they are the perfect farm dog and there is no need to "improve" them by crossing in another breed.
    Starlighthill
     
  12. x_xbirdie

    x_xbirdie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    155
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Not meaning to highjack or anything... but my mother and I are looking for an ES. I'll be using him/her to do 4-h herding and one day soon he/she will be herding our own goats. Even one of these crosses you guys are talking about would be good.

    Does anyone know of a breeder in the NJ area? (could be in PA,NY,CT, or NH too)
     
  13. Starlighthill

    Starlighthill Northern Michigan

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    There is a yahoo group for working english shepherds. The group is a great place if you are interested in training a dog to work. You can find a link to the group on this website.
    Starlighthill


    http://www.workingenglishshepherds.com/
     
  14. jersey girl

    jersey girl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    823
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Starlighthill, I have e-mailed you several times over the last few days. I just told someone about you on another forum, they were in Il and looking for an ES. I did not know you were here. What a pleasant suprise. Hope to see you soon for a puppie
    Joanie
     
  15. GoslingFever

    GoslingFever Goslings say Weh-Wey-Weh!

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    www.englishshepherd.org also has breeder information... albeit limited to those who post there.
    If you go to Yahoo! or Google and type in "English Shepherd for sale" you will find a few pages with the dogs listed. But as Starlighthill said, peek around for farmers. Not only will you probably get more 'reasonably' priced dogs, you will most likely get dogs that have working lineage - and maybe it is just me, but I swear pups learn faster if they see their parents moving animals and working.
    But if you read up on ES, they have a working style that they develop all on their own, so maybe any ES, working parents or not, can become a straight A working dog.

    Best of luck on your future ES.
     
  16. GoslingFever

    GoslingFever Goslings say Weh-Wey-Weh!

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    I don't know that the ES need to be improved, I was thinking more of GS. We have German Shepherds, and we donated our entire litter to the Quinn Haberl foundation. The puppies are finishing up their year of leader training, and those that don't make the final cut will be used as K9s and Search and Rescue dogs. It is a good program, and it felt good to know that ALL the pups will be working, well appreciated dogs.
    But in talking with the main trainer, although GS are great dogs, it is getting difficult to find GS without hip problems, and without aggression/anxiety issues.

    That is so sad. GS are just great.
    We were talking about different breeds, and what if only the good traits could be taken?

    I think ES and GS would make great offspring - but whatever bad traits both dogs had would end up in the mix. The study of Genetics has always interested me. It especially got me thinking when my aging mother sadly said she doesn't know if she can handler her beloved GS anymore. They are just so strong - the older dogs behave well, but when we were training our puppies for the Foundation... sore shoulders is just the beginning.
    The ES seem to be... I wouldn't say laid back or easy going, but they seem to have a feeling for human moods or something - they just aren't as rough on the body as GS are sometimes.
    But the GS are so proud and impressive; I can understand why she is reluctant to give them up. Wouldn't it be nice to have the elagance and aptitude of an ES in a GS body? If only it worked that way.

    Unfortunately, I think there are too many breeds out there that the making of one more is needed. Or wanted. It was just a thought, one of many, that I fancy.

    No worries though - I have no plans to get into this undertaking. I'll stick to my ratting Russells and leave the GS to my mother for as long as she can manage them, and the ES to my cowgirl-at-heart sister.
    :cool:
     
  17. Starlighthill

    Starlighthill Northern Michigan

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    I don't know that the ES need to be improved, I was thinking more of GS. We have German Shepherds, and we donated our entire litter to the Quinn Haberl foundation. The puppies are finishing up their year of leader training, and those that don't make the final cut will be used as K9s and Search and Rescue dogs. It is a good program, and it felt good to know that ALL the pups will be working, well appreciated dogs.
    But in talking with the main trainer, although GS are great dogs, it is getting difficult to find GS without hip problems, and without aggression/anxiety issues.



    Kudos to you and your family, GoslingFever, for such selfless act.
    What a shame that such a beautiful, noble breed is in such a state! Are the European GS unspoiled? It seems I keep hearing good things about them.
    Starlighthill