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The Book of Ole Shep - Tales of Our English Shepherds

Standard of the English Shepherd Dog

This article was originally published in Stodghill's Animal Research Magazine on pages 10-11 of the Spring-Summer 1969 Edition.

The English Shepherd is a medium size strong built active dog. They are affectionate, intelligent, natural, obedient not quarrelsome or possessive but of great courage and are extremely faithful. They are not easily excitable and are usually dignified in manner. English Shepherds have the intelligence to adopt themselves to a variety of jobs and have proved themselves useful as watchdogs in the large cities and as retrievers and trailers in the hunting field.They attack an animal from the rear and can kill an animal much larger than they are themselves. The only thing an English Shepherd will attack bulldog fashion is another dog or a wolf, and they are much used to protect young children.

Mrs. Tom D. Stodghill and "Lucky Shep"

How could a dog trained by time to wait so tenderly upon a little lamb fail to catch the eye of a little child, or respond with a tender glance to the call of a man or woman? This temperament and this intelligence make the English Shepherd the ideal family pet. They are the finest of all cattle dogs because they are natural low heelers and will go to the back side of a farm after the milk cows. They also have the grit it takes to pen the roughest, wildest cattle.

In general appearance and size, the English Shepherd is a medium size, long haired dog. He is sturdy and has plenty of bone. Height: not less than 18 inches or over 22 inches. The length from breast bone to tip of back quarter should equal the height. Weight: not less than 40 pounds or over 60 pounds, but the most desirable size is 20 inches high and 50 pounds. Dogs too small are more desirable than dogs too large.

HEAD: Medium length, the muzzle from tip of nose to stop should approximately equal length of skull from stop to ocupit. The skull should be broad between the ears, but not so broad as to appear clumsy (very few are broad enough). The stop well pronounced. NOSE: Large and black, JAWS: Not long but deep and powerful. TEETH: Strong and incisor bite, the lower incisor must touch the inner surface of the upper incisor. EYES: Prominent but not protruding. They should be brown and express good humor, faithfulness and confidence. (A strong eye is very desirable, that is a dog that keeps an eye on the Job at hand, also keeps an eye on his master.) EARS: Wide apart, stand slightly outward at the base with a sharp bend and lie close to the head which protects them from the rain and sleet. When dog is relaxed, ears lay close to head. When dog is alert, the ears raise up a little.

NECK: Well muscled, round, and rather out-stretched. BODY: Perfect balanced. RIBS: Well arched but not barrel shaped. CHEST: Deep, broad enough for strength, but not so broad as to make the dog appear slow and clumsy. LOIN: Short, strong and deep. TAIL: Strong at base and long enough to touch the hock. Hair on the lower side of the tail should be half as long again as the hair on the body. When dog is at work, the tail is carried on the level with the body (down a little is better than too high). When dog is relaxed, the tail is carried on about a 45 degree angle with a little curve near the end of the tail. A natural born bob tail is permissible but not desirable. Should breed a natural bob to a long tail dog.

RUNNING GEAR: Shoulders long and oblique (sloping) forming a sharp angle with the upper arm. FOREARM: Forearm strong and moderately heavy from elbow to pastern. The forearm is perfectly straight viewed from the front. Hind quarters and thighs strongly muscled. Hock points well bent. The angulation shows plenty of springing power. The hind legs viewed from the back should be straight. DEW CLAWS: are desirable because they show pure breeding, but it is permissible for breeders to clip them off as soon as pups are born. FEET: Should be well padded and large so as to take hard use on mud or snow as well as rough ground. The toes are well split up and strongly arched.

COAT: The hair should be from 1.5 to 2 inches long, glossy and water repellent. Slightly curly, wavy hair is desirable. Kinky hair is a fault because it catches too many burrs.

COLOR: The most desirable color for an English Shepherd is a "true black-tan" (glossy black with tan markings). Tan dot over each eye, tan around the mouth, under the tail, tan bar across the chest, tan on all four feet running down to the ground. Now on the back legs the tan is only on the front side of the back legs and the black runs down to the ground on the back side of the back legs.

The markings may be a mahogany brown to a golden tan. A small amount of white on the chest is permissible and the dog is still to be classified as a true black-tan. A tri-color with a white ring neck is also good. Black with white markings are also acceptable as long as the white doesn't cover more than 1/3 the dog. The best white markings are: a white chest, a white tipped tail, white feet and a ring neck. (In mating black and white dogs together, you have to be careful or you will produce too many pups with too much white that will have to be sold at a discount)

Sable colored dogs are permissible for English Shepherds but are not desirable. The most desirable color for the English Shepherd is a "true black-tan" and the black should come down to the ground on the back side of the back legs. What is actually meant by black-tan is a glossy black coat with a tan trim.

In conclusion. the English Shepherd is a handsome breed of dog and just as versatile as he is attractive. For these dogs will tree coon, mink, squirrel, possum, skunk, chase wolves and can hold a grizzly bear at bay. They also retrieve ducks as well as go a mile after the cows. The English Shepherd is indeed an all-around worker and wonderful companion.

Tom D. Stodghill