English Shepherd

Canis lupus

Last updated: February 7, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Robert F Apple/Shutterstock.com

Highly intelligent and independent!

English Shepherd Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

English Shepherd Conservation Status

English Shepherd Locations

English Shepherd Locations

English Shepherd Facts

Temperament
Intelligent, shy and devoted
Diet
Omnivore
Common Name
English Shepherd
Slogan
Highly intelligent and independent!
Group
Herd

English Shepherd Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
  • Brindle
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
14 years
Weight
27kg (60lbs)

English Shepherd as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Low
Separation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
High
Pure bred cost to own
$800 to $4,000
Dog group
Working
Male weight
45-60 lbs
Female weight
40-50 lbs

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Key Points

  • English shepherds are easier to train compared to several other dog breeds.
  • They are especially protective, loyal, and energetic.
  • Owing to their high energy levels they require about two hours of exercise daily and are best suited to owners who live an active lifestyle.

©A-Z-Animals.com

English Shepherds are excellent herding dogs and also make a good guard dog.

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English Shepherds descended from Shepherds’ dogs from southern Scotland and England. They are also related to Border Collies, Scotch Collies, and Australian Shepherds, though English Shepherds were more of a working dog than a show dog, like many of their cousins.

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While the English Shepherd is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club, they have been recognized by the United Kennel Club since 1927. English Shepherds are very eager to please. They can make an excellent family dog and can excel in agility and obedience training events.

Owning an English Shepherd: 3 Pros and Cons

Pros!Cons!
Loyal and protective: English Shepherds are very loyal. They can be very protective of the people in their family, including children.High activity needs: English Shepherds are very active and require between one and two hours of exercise every day.
Healthy: Overall, English Shepherds are a healthy breed.Shedding: This breed sheds a lot. Be prepared to have hair all over.
Easy to train: This breed is very eager to please and intelligent. This makes them easier to train than many other breeds.Territorial: English Shepherds can be territorial and may bark at visitors or people that walk by your home.

Evolution and Origins

An English Shepherd at full attention with one ear in the air.
English shepherds are believed to have descended from collies which herded sheep for centuries in Britain

©Robert F Apple/Shutterstock.com



In spite of their name, English shepherds are actually quite American. However, they owe their name to the fact that English settlers in America, brought their beloved herding dogs with them which were named Scotch collies. Due to their history as farm dogs, they are also known as farm collies or farm shepherds.

A peek into their distant past reveals that they are a variety of collie, a breed which is believed to be one of the oldest on the British isles and to have also been employed as a canine shepherd for centuries.

Health and Entertainment for your English Shepherd

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Size and Weight

English Shepherds are a medium-sized breed. Male dogs are slightly larger than female dogs. A male weighs between 45 and 60 pounds and stands between 19 and 23 inches tall. Females weight between 40 and 50 pounds and are between 18 and 22 inches tall.

MaleFemale
Height19 inches to 23 inches18 inches to 22 inches
Weight45 pounds to 60 pounds40 pounds to 50 pounds

Common Health Issues

An English Shepherd n white background
English shepherds are prone to luxating patella and elbow dysplasia

©Susan Schmitz/Shutterstock.com

These dogs are a healthy breed. Still, there are a few health issues you should be aware of that they could develop.

As an active breed, they may have bone and joint issues. One condition they may develop is hip dysplasia. This is a condition in which the thighbone doesn’t connect smoothly with the hip bone. The two bones rub against each other which can be painful or cause the dog to limp.

Similarly, English shepherds may also develop elbow dysplasia. Like hip dysplasia, this condition is a result of the bones at the elbow not connecting properly and rubbing against one another. This can cause the dog to limp and will also be painful.

Another possible concern for this breed is a luxating patella. Dogs with this condition have a kneecap that slips in and out of place. You may notice that your English Shepherd slips as he walks, but then appears to be back to normal for the next step.

To review, three potential health concerns for these dogs are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Luxating patella

Temperament and Behavior

These dogs have a very loyal personality. They were used as herding dogs, so they can make excellent working dogs. However, this breed also exhibits traits and behaviors that make it an ideal family pet. They are protective and eager to please. Additionally, they are very intelligent dogs, which makes it easier to train this breed.

How To Take Care of a English Shepherd

An English Shepherd at the edge of a lake
English shepherds require a spacious play area and about one to hours of exercise daily

©Jennifer McCallum/Shutterstock.com

You will need to take your English shepherd’s health concerns, temperament, nutritional needs, and other unique characteristics into account when you create a care plan for your pup.

Because an English shepherd is a working dog breed, they require a lot of exercise. English shepherd dogs aren’t suitable for apartment living and do much better in homes with a large, fenced backyard with plenty of room to run and play as they require a lot of mental stimulation.

Without the right type of training and socializing, this dog breed can become stubborn and bossy. They have thick, soft fur that requires regular brushing and grooming with an occasional bath.

The Best Dog Food for English Shepherds

English Shepherd Leaping Over a Jump at a Dog Agility Trial
The best foods for shedding and bone health should be considered when planning an English shepherd’s diet

©Mark Herreid/Shutterstock.com

Look for a high-quality and nutritious food for your dog. Many English Shepherd owners recommend feeding this breed a mix of dry and wet foods. The amount of shedding that comes with English Shepherds can be hard to keep up with. While this probably won’t dramatically reduce shedding, you can read up on the best dog foods for shedding and which nutrients can nourish the skin and fur for some degree of shedding control.

Most dogs of this breed will need about three cups of food each day, split into two or three smaller meals. The exact amount of food your dog will need may vary based on its weight, age, health concerns, and activity level. Consult their veterinarian if you are unsure how much food you should feed it.

Puppies have a smaller stomach than adults and can’t handle as much food at a time. For this reason, they should be fed smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.

English shepherds are pretty healthy, but it’s still ideal to find a dog food based on nutrients that address their propensity for joint issues.

That’s why A-Z Animals thinks the best dog food for English Shepherds is Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Healthy Mobility for Joint Health, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice & Barley Recipe.

Designed by vets and nutritionists, this joint support food provides glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to fortify English Shepherds’ hips, elbows, and knees, with copper for more resilient connective tissues. Plus, there are omega-6 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins A and E for the skin and fur of your intensely shedding English Shepherd.

Click below to find Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Joint Health Food on Chewy or Amazon.

Best for Healthy Mobility
Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Joint Health
  • Supports improved joint health in big dogs with EPA from fish oil
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Vitamins and minerals for strong bones in large dogs
  • Made with natural ingredients
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

These are heavy shedding dogs. You will need to brush their coat between two and three times each week to reduce the amount of shedding around your house. While you will need to brush them pretty frequently, the dog won’t need to be bathed very often. They have a water-proof and dirt-proof coat that keeps itself looking pretty good.

Their nails should be trimmed to keep them short and prevent them from causing the dog discomfort when he walks. Their teeth should be brushed a few times each week, and their ears should be cleaned out regularly to keep them from getting clogged with dirt.

Training

These dogs are easier to train than many other breeds. They are very eager to please and intelligent, so they’ll pick up on commands and expectations rather quickly. Using positive reinforcement training techniques is the best way to help this breed learn expectations, so be sure to follow up with lots of praise or treats when they do what you want them to.

If you have young children or other pets in the home, you may need to train your English Shepherd not to herd them. Since they were bred to be a herding dog, their instincts may kick in and they could attempt to corral children or other pets in the home.

Exercise

These are highly active dogs that require a lot of exercise. They should get between one and two hours of activity each day, so they are best suited for very active owners. Some ways you can help your dog get the exercise he needs including taking him for long walks, going hiking, visiting the dog park, letting him swim, or playing in a large fenced-in backyard together.

In addition to physical exercise, these dogs also require plenty of mental stimulation. Without it, they can easily become bored and may be destructive. Agility and obedience training are great ways to provide mental stimulation to these dogs. Food toys can also offer some mental stimulation for this breed.

Puppies

Bringing home an English Shepherd puppy is a big commitment. This breed lives an average of 12 to 14 years, so you shouldn’t bring one home unless you’re ready to provide them the care they need for their entire life.

There is more variability in this breed than with some others. Before selecting a puppy to bring home, talk to the breeder to learn about the puppies in their liter. Try to find a few different breeders with puppies available and schedule visits to get to know each dog. This can help you find the right fit for you and your family. You should also request information about the parent’s history to confirm that they didn’t have any genetic conditions that could be passed on to a puppy.

Before you bring home your new puppy, you should make sure that your home is ready. Puppy-proof all the rooms the dog will have access to and purchase food, toys, and all the supplies they’ll need.

Children

A English Shepard puppy in a grassy field
English shepherds tend to get along well with children.

©Robert F Apple/Shutterstock.com

English shepherds are ideal for families with children. They are eager to please and easy to train, so it will be easy to teach your dog how to interact with a child. They are also very protective and will look out for a child.

Similar Breeds

Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Miniature Australian Shepherds are three breeds that are similar to these dogs.

  • Border Collie: Border Collies and English Shepherds share common ancestors. They are both excellent herding dogs and are highly intelligent. English Shepherds are larger in size than Border Collies, though. The average weight of a male English Shepherd is 52.5 pounds, while the average weight of a male Border Collie is just 37.5 pounds.
  • German Shepherd: German Shepherds and English Shepherds are both affectionate and playful. Both breeds are also easy to train and can be territorial. German Shepherds are a larger breed. Males have an average weight of 77 pounds, while male English Shepherds have an average weight of 52.5 pounds.
  • Miniature Australian Shepherd: Miniature Australian Shepherds and English Shepherds can both be used for herding livestock. Both breeds are easy to train and are very territorial. Miniature Australian Shepherds are smaller than English Shepherds, though. Their average weight is just 30 pounds, while the average weight of a male English Shepherd is 52.5 pounds.

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English Shepherd FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does English Shepherd cost to own?

Purchasing an English Shepherd from a breeder can be expensive. This breed typically costs between $800 and $4,000. The dog’s pedigree and training as well as the breeder’s reputation can impact how much you’ll end up paying. If you choose to adopt an English Shepherd, you should expect to spend about $300 for vaccinations and application fees.

You will also want to consider the other costs associated with taking care of an English Shepherd. Your English Shepherd will need food, a collar and leash, toys, a bed, a crate, and other supplies. You will also need to budget money for veterinary bills and training. This could cost well over $1,000 the first year you own the dog and may cost between $500 and $1,000 each subsequent year.

How long does English Shepherd live?

Most English Shepherds live between 12 and 14 years.

What is the difference between an English Shepherd and a Border Collie?

While English Shepherds look similar to a Border Collie, there are two different breeds. English Shepherds can excel at herding, like Border Collies, but they were also bred to be a good working dog. This means English Shepherds also make good guard dogs and hunting dogs.

Are English Shepherds aggressive?

English Shepherds may bark a lot when someone unknown is on their property. This breed is very territorial and does not like it when others enter their space. However, they will rarely bite unless they are provoked.

Is an English Shepherd a good family dog?

Yes, English Shepherds can make a great family pet. They are loyal and protective. They are also easy to train and can be taught how to interact with a child.

Do English Shepherds bark a lot?

If an English Shepherd’s physical and mental exercise needs are met, they generally will not bark a lot.

Are English Shepherds easy to train?

Yes, English Shepherds are pretty easy to train. They are intelligent and eager to please. These two traits definitely contribute to how easy training this breed will be.

Are English Shepherds herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

English Shepherds are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do English Shepherds belong to?

English Shepherds belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do English Shepherds belong to?

English Shepherds belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to English Shepherds belong to?

English Shepherds belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do English Shepherds belong to?

English Shepherds belong to the family Canidae.

What order do English Shepherds belong to?

English Shepherds belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do English Shepherds belong to?

English Shepherds belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do English Shepherds have?

English Shepherds are covered in Hair.

What is an interesting fact about English Shepherds?

English Shepherds are highly intelligent and independent!

What is the scientific name for the English Shepherd?

The scientific name for the English Shepherd is Canis lupus.

What are the key differences between an English Shepherd and a Border Collie?

The key differences between an English Shepherd and a Border Collie are their size, coat type, temperament, and lifespan, among others.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. English Shepherd Club, Available here: http://www.englishshepherd.org/english-shepherds-are.html
  2. Pet Finder, Available here: https://www.petfinder.com/dog-breeds/english-shepherd/#temperamentSection_jumpTarget
  3. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Shepherd
  4. Perfect Dog Breeds, Available here: https://www.perfectdogbreeds.com/english-shepherd/
  5. Go Pup!, Available here: https://gopup.com/english-shepherd-vs-border-collie/#:~:text=Work%20dog%20vs%20Herding%20dog,a%20multi%2Dpurpose%20working%20dog.

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