Buying or Adopting an English Shepherd
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Is a DOG really the right pet for you?
I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.
Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?
Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:
Is an English Shepherd the right breed for you?
Are YOU right for an English Shepherd?
Can you provide what this breed needs?
- Someone home most of the day
- Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
- Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
- Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your English Shepherd stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
- "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, flyball, frisbee, herding); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
- Brushing – moderate
- Trimming – every few months
- An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
- A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
- An owner with enough money to treat the health problems English Shepherds are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
- An owner who is okay with heavy shedding
- Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your English Shepherd to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior
- Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your English Shepherd, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say
Should you get a male or female English Shepherd?
Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?
Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new English Shepherd be?
Where can you buy or adopt an English Shepherd?
English Shepherds are rare in the United States. It's very hard to find one.
Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
You might occasionally find an English Shepherd available from a Dog Rescue group. But not many English Shepherds are turned over to Rescue groups, because not many people own them in the first place.
Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
English Shepherds are rarely found here for the same reasons listed above. Of course you might find an English Shepherd in some shelter, mislabeled as a "shepherd mix" or "collie mix". It's more likely, though, that those dogs are indeed shepherd mixes or collies mixes. The only way to truly know whether you have an English Shepherd would be a canine DNA test.
Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an English Shepherd from a show breeder, who breeds English Shepherds to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring. You might also be able to buy an English Shepherd from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.
Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an English Shepherd puppy should have:
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your English Shepherd ends up with crippling hip dysplasia.
Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
I have never seen an English Shepherd in a pet shop. Which is good, because I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!
How To Choose a Good English Shepherd Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of English Shepherd puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.