Is An English Shepherd a Good Family Dog?

The English Shepherd was initially bred as a herding dog. Now you may think that it’s a little strange that it is called an “English” Shepherd, when it is actually bred in the USA. This magnificent specimen was originally brought to America by British settlers, and now many people want to know if an English Shepherd is a good family dog.

These dogs are descendants of the Collie. Although they were originally working dogs used by farmers, the breed has evolved over the years to become more of a house pet, and is a fantastic dog to have as a family pet.

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If you are considering getting an English Shepherd, you will probably have many questions. It is always useful to be well-informed before making any important decision, especially one as big as which dog to get for your family.

Getting a dog is not the same as buying a teddy bear. It is a life-time commitment to the animal, and involves a lot of responsibility for the rest of the animal’s life span. So it is crucial that you find out as much as you can about the breed before deciding what dog to get. In this way, you are more likely to make a good match with your family.

English Shepherd

Is an English Shepherd a Pure Breed?

Even though centuries ago the English Shepherd was bred by combining dogs that were only found in Britain with sheep and cattle dogs brought from other European countries, during the last century these dogs have been bred very selectively, so that they are now recognized by the United Kennel Club as a pure breed.

What sort of temperament does an English Shepherd have?

English shepherds are highly intelligent dogs. They are very alert and responsive. They are also friendly and affectionate, and extremely loyal and faithful. This makes the English Shepherd a good family dog.

Is an English Shepherd easy to train?

Because these dogs are so highly intelligent, they are quite easy to train. They are fast learners who respond particularly well to the reward system of training a dog. Your English Shepherd will thrive in obedience training, and if you reinforce what he has learned with regular repetition, he will soon become a great family dog.

How big is an English Shepherd?

Like all dogs, the males are bigger than the females. The average male will grow to a height of about 60 – 65 centimeters, while a fully grown female will be about 55 – 60 centimeters. Their weight can be anything from 40 – 60 pounds. They are a fairly manageable size, making them an ideal family dog.

What kind of coat does an English Shepherd have?

These dogs have a long, straight double coat. Occasionally the hair will be wavy. They have beautiful, distinctive markings, with interesting color combinations and patterns. You will find English Shepherds with coats of black and tan, black and white, tan and white, tan and dark brown, and sometimes even tri-colored coats in various combinations of the above.

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What are the grooming needs of an English Shepherd?

Even though their hair is naturally long, it does not require frequent cutting and should only be  slightly trimmed, very occasionally. However, because he has a double coat, your English Shepherd will need to be brushed regularly. If it is not brushed well and often enough, the hair can become matted and nasty knots can develop. It is then very difficult to brush these out, and they may need to be removed by cutting off chunks of hair. This may spoil the lovely appearance of your dog’s coat, so it is worth investing the time needed to brush regularly with a good quality brush.

It is important to wash your English Shepherd regularly. Because he comes from a long line of hunting and herding dogs, he loves nothing better than to run around outdoors and roll around in the dirt. As a result his glorious, thick coat will get full of sand and dust.

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He should be bathed in warm water with a mild dog shampoo. It is not a good idea to use human shampoo on your dog, because it may contain certain chemicals that could be too harsh for his delicate skin and coat. Dog shampoos have been specially formulated by vets to incorporate just the right amount of soap and softening agents and are unlikely to cause a bad reaction.

Are English Shepherds destructive?

Because English Shepherds are so intelligent, they need a lot of stimulation and activity in order to prevent them becoming bored. If you are looking for a family pet, an English Shepherd is a good family dog, but it is always best to get your dog as a young puppy. This will give you more opportunity to train him and teach him what is and is not allowed.

In order to prevent your pup from destroying your house, you should make sure that he has lots of space to run around, and lots of toys to play with. He will want to chew on everything as he grows, so if you don’t want him destroying your stuff, give him things like flavored fake bones, balls and other rubber chewy toys. A thick, knotted rope is also a great toy for him, and he will have lots of fun with it.

Are English Shepherds aggressive?

These dogs are very territorial. Again, this is a good reason to introduce your English Shepherd to your home and your lifestyle as a young puppy. The postman may be too afraid to approach your front door if your little pup has not learned that he does not pose a danger to you or your family.

English Shepherds are very faithful and loyal dogs, and as such they are very protective towards their owners. If they suspect any kind of a threat, they can display aggressive tendencies. But this is easily avoided with good obedience training, started at an early age.

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Are English Shepherds good with children?

These dogs are devoted to their families. With the right amount of socialization, they are excellent with children. Your English Shepherd will be the perfect playmate, while guarding and protecting your children from any perceived danger.

English Shepherd Dog

How much exercise does an English Shepherd need?

Because these dogs were originally farm dogs, they are used to running around and need quite a lot of exercise. They would either need a big yard with lots of space to romp around, or they would need at least two to three long walks a day, at a fast pace.

Exercise is a vital part of a dog’s daily activity. If your dog is not given enough opportunity to get exercise, he will become lazy and will start to gain weight. Excess weight in an English Shepherd can be potentially very dangerous. It can cause heart problems, and hormone imbalances that can affect the dog’s general well-being.

If a  dog is inactive, he will become lethargic. This lack of activity can lead to other problems such as arthritis, and inflammation of the bones and muscles. An English Shepherd is a good family dog, because your kids will love playing with him, thus ensuring that he gets enough exercise.

What is the best food for an English Shepherd?

There are many commercial dog foods on the market, such as dry pellets, also called kibble, wet canned food, and even fresh food made from fresh ingredients and kept in refrigerators. These fresh foods can be store-bought, or there are companies that offer a home delivery service. Any of these options would be suitable, provided that you buy a good quality food.

If you prefer to, you can also cook fresh food at home for your dog, using meat or chicken and fresh vegetables and grains. Do not give your dog raw meat or chicken. This could contain microorganisms that can cause fatal food poisoning if not cooked.

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What is the expected lifespan of an English Shepherd?

In order to ensure that your English Shepherd lives a good and long life, it is important to feed him a healthy diet, take him for regular check-ups at the vet, and always make sure that all his vaccinations are kept up-to-date.

If you look after your English Shepherd and keep him in good shape, you can expect him to live for twelve to sixteen years. This makes him a good family dog. One of the hardest experiences for a child to endure is the death of a beloved pet.

If you introduce your English Shepherd pup to your household while your kids are still young, he will hopefully be with them throughout their early childhood years, saving them the trauma of losing their beloved doggie when they are still too young to understand or process the loss.

Is an English Shepherd a good family dog?

An English Shepherd will be a wonderful family dog. Your children will adore him, and he will worship them in return.

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