Orchard Hill Ember

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Ember’s adult, mature weight is 50 pounds. She’s 21” tall. From her collar to the base of her tail, she’s 21” long. She has a very athletic build, being tall and leggy, like a long-distance runner. She can go all day. She can jump exceptionally well, as she’s able to jump over the tailgate into the back of a ¾ ton pickup. Her coat on her body is fairly short with minimal undercoat, though she has longer feathers and ‘pants’. The light-weight coat helps her deal with heat in the summer, and yet develops enough undercoat to keep her warm in the winter. Both of her parents were working dogs. Dawg (12 years old when Ember was born) has been a working cow dog for his whole life. Bobbi helps with her owner’s rodeo stock on their farm.

Her temperament is outstanding. She loves everyone she meets. She is extremely biddable, and wants to please. She is a very calm dog in every respect. She relaxes completely, whether on her bed or your lap. I’ve seen her lie still while our flock of sheep split up and ran around her, almost over her. She mothers baby lambs and bottle calves, and took our new puppy on as a surrogate auntie. As a pup she was almost timid, especially if our older dog barked a warning at the local coyotes, or loud, noisy equipment was coming toward her. She has outgrown that and has become bold and tenacious in warning off coyotes and other predators. She is comfortable around our farm equipment, appropriately cautious but not fearful at all. She is very attuned to me, and even the mildest verbal correction can discourage her. She is very resilient to physical correction, so that she is best trained with a combination of physically showing her what to do (like on a long-line) followed by quietly guiding her verbally to fine tune her work.
Working ability. She is very calm in her work, working at a steady pace and keeping the stock grouped together. She watches me to see what the job is, then goes out to help me put the stock where they belong. She is especially good with young stock, working calmly and patiently to keep them with their mothers. She learns very quickly and has very good stock instincts. Ember is very good at seeing what I am trying to do, and stepping in to help. She helps me drive cattle by taking the flank opposite to the one I am on, and quietly keeping the cattle moving in the right direction. Ember works cattle calmly and quietly. She is calm but firm in getting them moving. She is the dog I choose when I need to move cows and young calves. She helped with sheep chores a few times, and learned the routines. After that, just letting her know what the job was would send her out to do it. She is a master at moving the horses when needed. In the winter, she also has a rule for them, that they should be at their hay feeder. She will gather them from the pasture and put them there. I have not seen her use her teeth. Hunting. Ember loves to hunt. She is an avid mouser. She quarters for birds when out for a walk, and flushes them. Her sense of smell is acute, as she will scent birds at least 100 feet away.

Why did I decide to breed her? Her temperament and athletic ability are outstanding. Her intelligence and thinking ability in figuring out the job, then joining in to help, are invaluable in a working stock dog. I appreciate her fierce protective instincts in driving off predators. Her biddability is also very good, as expected of an English shepherd. She is nurturing of young animals, whether lambs, calves, or pups.

© Kris Hazelbaker

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