English Shepherd Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
English Shepherd Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
The English Shepherd is noted for his calm dependability and is content to curl up at your feet at the end of the day.
However, that day must include a good amount of physical exercise and mental stimulation. This is an active, athletic dog. Herding, advanced obedience, agility, jogging or biking, chasing balls, and playing Frisbee are productive outlets for his enthusiasm.
Most English Shepherds are polite with strangers and make sensible watchdogs, but extensive socialization is required when young to avoid shyness.
Most are fine with other pets if raised with them, but they can be dominant with strange animals.
This is an attentive, sensitive breed who likes to keep his eye on you. Highly trainable, the English Shepherd is an all-purpose working and competition dog who learns quickly. Yet he does have the typical independence of a herding breed.
In other words, this is not a "push-button" breed. You must have the confidence to establish and enforce rules, or he will make up his own.
English Shepherds prefer their charges (family members and other pets) to be gathered together and may try to accomplish this by circling, poking, and nipping.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium-sized, athletic, and natural-looking
- Is intelligent and very trainable -- a capable and versatile breed
- Thrives on plenty of exercise and athletic activities
- Is usually polite with strangers, yet makes a sensible watchdog
An English Shepherd may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Destructiveness and barking when bored or not exercised enough
- Strong chasing instincts
- Shyness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
- Considerable shedding
- Waiting lists (very hard to find)
An English Shepherd may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the English Shepherd
If I was considering an English Shepherd, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. English Shepherds are not as high-powered as Border Collies, nor are they intense workaholics. But they MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
- Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, English Shepherds need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become suspiciousness or fearfulness, which are difficult to live with.
- Mind of his own. The best English Shepherds are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they can be manipulative. Some English Shepherds are stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
- Shedding. English Shepherds shed quite a bit. You'll find hair all over your clothing, upholstery, carpeting, and under your furniture.
- Finding one. In the United States, English Shepherds are not very common. You will probably have to go on a waiting list.
To learn more about training English Shepherds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your English Shepherd the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy English Shepherd. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the English Shepherd might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your English Shepherd home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT English Shepherd...
When you're acquiring an English Shepherd PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult English Shepherds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2014 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
No part of this website may be copied, displayed on another website,
or distributed in any way without the express permission of the author.