Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your English Shepherd puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in English Shepherds, the best dog food diet for feeding English Shepherd puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book
English Shepherd dog breed

English Shepherd Health Problems and Raising an English Shepherd Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in English Shepherds:

The main concern is hip dysplasia. Many breeders believe that if their working sheep dog works hard and happily, he can't possibly have any orthopedic problems. This simply isn't true. A dog who has a structural health problem, but who loves to work, will often not show signs of pain until after he has developed arthritis – which is usually AFTER he has been bred and has passed the bad genes on to his puppies.

Look at these statistics. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of nearly 200 English Shepherds and 25% were dysplastic. That's terrible for a medium-sized dog, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. For comparison, Australian Shepherds are at 6%.

This is an uncommon breed, so it's hard to determine the incidence of other health problems, but I would be concerned about the same diseases found in similar breeds such as Australian Shepherds and Border Collies.

In other words, I would be looking for eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and collie eye anomaly. Also allergies, which cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma).

In other collie-type breeds, hypothyroidism, heart disease, and epilepsy are concerns, so I would be wary of these cropping up in English Shepherd lines.

Other collie-type breeds react adversely to certain drugs such as ivermectin (in heartworm prevention products such as Heartguard), Imodium A-D, flagyl, and certain anesthetics. A mutant gene called mdr1 prevents a dog from pumping these drugs out of his brain, which results in neurological toxicity. Since other collie-type breeds frequently have this gene, I would be leery about giving any of these drugs to an English Shepherd unless he has been tested for this mutant gene. It's a simple DNA test offered by the Washington State University Veterinary School.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR English Shepherd?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in English Shepherds today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find an English Shepherd puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your English Shepherd puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy English Shepherd puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your English Shepherd lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your English Shepherd
The best diet for feeding your English Shepherd is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your English Shepherd. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your English Shepherd
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your English Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your English Shepherd puppy really need? Does your adult English Shepherd need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your English Shepherd. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your English Shepherd. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female English Shepherd.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.