The English Shepherd is a working breed. It was developed as a farm dog used for a variety of services such as herding, hunting, removing rodents, as well as a watch dog and a companion. It is often used to herd livestock; however, unlike other breeds, it is not specialized for only one species. The English shepherd works well with cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and birds.
The English Shepherd shares similar characteristics with the Border Collie and the Australian Shepherd, but there are very obvious differences. The English Shepherd is larger than the Border Collie and has a different herding style. The Australian Shepherd is frequently merle and has a square body and head, unlike the English Shepherd.
The English Shepherd is proportionate and balanced. It typically weighs between 40 and 70 pounds, and it is only slightly longer than it is tall. It has a medium length coat which can be wavy, curly, or straight. It requires very little grooming. It can be a variety of colors such as: sable and white, tricolor, black and white, black and tan, brindled, or it can have a solid coat of any color.
The breed is very intelligent and a hard worker. It is very loyal and loving toward its family, and intuitively works well with its master. The breed can do its job independently, without any assistance. The English Shepherd can learn quickly to herd as well as complete other tasks. It makes an excellent watchdog due to its tendency to be wary of strangers, but once it warms up to people, it becomes devoted to them.
The breed can be bossy and needs proper socialization and a firm hand in training. If its owner is too gentle, it will take over and become the leader. Its bossy nature is a positive aspect of its temperament when it comes to keeping order on the farm. The English Shepherd is used not only for farm work, but also for hunting, search and rescue, therapy, agility trials, obedience, tracking and flyball.
The breed is generally healthy, but it can be affected by hip dysplasia, a common problem among many breeds.