A-z - Animals

british shepherd

English Sheepdogs as Pets:

general health
energy level
chewing tendency
family and kid friendly

separation anxiety
preferred temperature
average climate
exercise needs
be friendly with other dogs
Thoroughbred Cost of Ownership
$800 to $4,000
pack of dogs
male weight
45-60 lbs
female weight
40-50 lbs

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See all English Sheepdog pictures!

key point

  • The English Sheepdog is easier to train than several other dog breeds.
  • They are exceptionally protective, loyal, and energetic.
  • Due to their high energy levels, they require about two hours of daily exercise, making them best for owners with an active lifestyle.

© AZ-Animals.com

The English Sheepdog is an excellent herding dog as well as a good guard dog.

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The English Sheepdog is descended from the Southern Scottish and English Sheepdogs. They are also related to the Border Collie, Scottish Shepherd, and Australian Shepherd, though the English Shepherd is more of a working dog than a show dog, like many of their cousins.

While English Sheepdogs are not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club, they have been recognized by the United Kennel Club since 1927. English Sheepdogs are very eager to please. They can make excellent family dogs and can excel in agility and obedience training activities.

Owning an English Sheepdog: 3 Pros and Cons

advantage! shortcoming!
Loyal and Protective : The English Sheepdog is extremely loyal. They can be very protective of family members, including children. High Activity Needs : The English Sheepdog is very active and needs one to two hours of exercise each day.
Health : Overall, the English Sheepdog is a healthy breed. Shedding : This breed sheds a lot. Get ready to have hair everywhere.
EASY TO TRAIN : This breed is eager to please and intelligent. This makes them easier to train than many other breeds. Territorial : English Sheepdogs can be territorial and may bark at visitors or people passing by your home.

evolution and origin

An attentive English Sheepdog with one ear pricked in the air.
English shepherds are believed to be descended from collies, which have herded Britain for centuries

©Robert F Apple/Shutterstock.com

Despite their name, English Sheepdogs are actually very American. However, they owe their name to the English settlers in America who brought their beloved collies, who were named Scotch Collies. Due to their history as farm dogs, they are also known as farm collie or farm collie.

A peek into their distant past reveals that they are a variation of the Shepherd Dog, which is believed to be one of the oldest breeds in the British Isles and has also been used as canine herding dogs for centuries.

British Sheepdog Health and Recreation

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size and weight

The English Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog breed. Male dogs are slightly larger than female dogs. Males weigh between 45 and 60 pounds and stand between 19 and 23 inches tall. Females weigh between 40 and 50 pounds and stand between 18 and 22 inches tall.

male female
high 19 inches to 23 inches 18 inches to 22 inches
weight 45 lbs to 60 lbs 40 lbs to 50 lbs

common health problems

british shepherd n white background
English Sheepdogs Prone to Patella Luxation and Elbow Dysplasia

© Susan Schmitz/Shutterstock.com

These dogs are a healthy breed. Still, there are some health issues that you should be aware of that may arise.

As an active breed, they can have bone and joint problems. One condition they may develop is hip dysplasia. This is a condition where the thighbone does not connect smoothly with the hipbone. Two bones rubbing against each other can be painful or cause the dog to limp.

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Likewise, English Sheepdogs can also develop elbow dysplasia. Like hip dysplasia, this condition is caused by the bones in the elbow not connecting properly and rubbing against each other. This can cause the dog to limp and be very painful.

Another possible problem with this breed is luxated patella. In dogs with this condition, the kneecaps slide in and out. You may notice that your English Shepherd slips while walking, but then seems to recover for the next step.

To recap, three potential health problems for these dogs are:

  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • Patella luxation

Temperament and Behavior

These dogs have very loyal personalities. They are used as herding dogs, so they can make excellent working dogs. However, this breed also exhibits characteristics and behaviors that make it an ideal family pet. They are very protective and eager to please others. Plus, they are very intelligent dogs, which makes training the breed easier.

How to Care for an English Sheepdog

english shepherd by the lake
English Sheepdogs need a spacious play area and exercise for about one to several hours per day

© Jennifer McCallum/Shutterstock.com

When developing a care plan for your puppy, you'll need to take into account your English Sheepdog's health concerns, temperament, nutritional needs, and other unique characteristics.

Because the English Sheepdog is a working dog, they need a lot of exercise. English Sheepdogs are not suited to living in apartments and are better off in a large house with a fenced in backyard with plenty of room to run and play, as they need a lot of mental stimulation.

This breed can become stubborn and bossy if not properly trained and socialized. Their fur is thick and soft and requires regular brushing and grooming and an occasional bath.

Best Dog Food for English Sheepdogs

English shepherd skips jumps in dog agility test
When planning your English Sheepdog's diet, consider what is best for shedding and bone health

©Mark Herreid/Shutterstock.com

Find high-quality, nutritious food for your dog. Many English Sheepdog owners recommend feeding the breed a mixture of dry and wet food. The shedding of English Sheepdogs can be difficult to keep up with. While this may not significantly reduce shedding, you can read about the best dog foods for shedding, and which nutrients nourish the skin and coat to control shedding to some extent.

Most dogs of this breed need about three cups of food per day, split between two or three meals. The exact amount of food your dog needs may vary based on its weight, age, health issues and activity level. If you're not sure how much food you should be feeding, consult their veterinarian.

Puppies have smaller stomachs than adults and cannot handle as much food at one time. For this reason, they should be fed small, frequent meals more frequently throughout the day.

English Sheepdogs are very healthy, but finding a dog food based on nutritional content to address their tendency to develop joint problems is still ideal.

That's why AZ Animals believes the best dog food for English Sheepdogs is Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adults, Healthy Mobility for Joint Health, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice and Barley Recipe.

Designed by veterinarians and nutritionists, this joint support food provides glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to strengthen the English Sheepdog's hips, elbows and knees, and contains copper to enhance the elasticity of connective tissue. Additionally, there are omega-6 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins A and E for the skin and coat of heavily shed English Sheepdogs.

Click below to find Hill's Science Diet Healthy Mobility Joint Health Food on Chewy or Amazon.

Best for healthy travel

Maintenance and Grooming

These are heavy shedding dogs. You will need to brush them 2 to 3 times a week to reduce the amount of shedding around the house. While you will need to brush frequently, dogs do not require frequent baths. They have a waterproof and dustproof jacket to make themselves look good.

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Their nails should be trimmed to keep them short and to prevent them from causing discomfort when the dog is walking. Their teeth should be brushed several times a week, and their ears should be cleaned regularly so they don't get clogged with dust.


These dogs are easier to train than many other breeds. They're very eager to please and intelligent, so they're quick to take orders and expectations. Using positive reinforcement training techniques is the best way to help this breed learn what to expect, so be sure to follow up with lots of praise or treats when they do what you want them to do.

If you have young children or other pets in your home, you may need to train your English Sheepdog not to herd them. Since they were bred to be herding dogs, their instincts may kick in and they may try to keep children or other pets in the house.


These are highly active dogs that need a lot of exercise. They should be active for one to two hours a day, so are best suited for very active owners. There are ways you can help your dog get the exercise he needs, including taking him on long walks, hiking, visiting the dog park, letting him swim, or playing together in the large, fenced backyard.

In addition to physical exercise, these dogs need a lot of mental stimulation. Without it, they can easily become boring and potentially destructive. Agility and obedience training are great ways to provide mental stimulation for these dogs. Food toys can also provide this breed with some mental stimulation.


Bringing home an English Sheepdog puppy is a big commitment. This breed has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, so you shouldn't bring them into your home unless you're ready to provide them with the care they need for a lifetime.

This breed has more variability than other breeds. Before choosing a puppy to take home, talk to the breeder to find out what puppies are in their liter. Try to find several different breeders with puppies and arrange visits to get to know each dog. This can help you find products that are right for you and your family. You should also ask for information about the history of the parents to confirm that they do not have any genetic conditions that can be passed on to the puppy.

Before you bring your new puppy home, you should make sure your home is ready. Do puppy proof all the rooms that dogs can enter, and buy food, toys, and all the supplies they need.


An English Shepherd puppy on the grass
English Sheepdogs tend to get along well with children.

©Robert F Apple/Shutterstock.com

The English Sheepdog is ideal for families with children. They are eager to please and easy to train, so it is easy to teach your dog how to interact with children. They are also very protective and will take care of their children.

similar species

Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Miniature Australian Shepherds are three breeds that are similar to these dogs.

  • Border Collie: The Border Collie and the English Sheepdog share a common ancestor. They are both excellent herding dogs and very intelligent. However, the English Sheepdog is larger in size than the Border Collie. The average male English Sheepdog weighs 52.5 pounds, while the average male Border Collie weighs just 37.5 pounds.
  • German Shepherd: German Shepherds and English Shepherds are both affectionate and playful. Both breeds are also easy to train and can be territorial. German Shepherds are a larger breed. The average male weighs 77 pounds, while the average male English Sheepdog weighs 52.5 pounds.
  • Miniature Australian Shepherd: Both the Miniature Australian Shepherd and the English Shepherd can be used to herd livestock. Both breeds are easy to train and are very territorial. Miniature Australian Shepherds are smaller than English Shepherds, though. Their average weight is just 30 pounds, compared to 52.5 pounds for male English Sheepdogs.
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English Sheepdog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How Much Do English Sheepdogs Cost?

Buying an English Sheepdog from a breeder can be expensive. Prices for this breed typically range from $800 to $4,000. The dog's pedigree and training, as well as the breeder's reputation, can affect what you end up paying. If you choose to adopt an English Sheepdog, you should expect to spend approximately $300 on vaccinations and application fees.

You'll also need to consider other costs associated with caring for your English Sheepdog. Your English Sheepdog will need food, collar and leash, toys, bed, crate and other supplies. You will also need to budget money for veterinary expenses and training. This can cost over $1,000 in your first year of owning the dog, and $500 to $1,000 in each subsequent year.

How Long Do English Sheepdogs Live?

Most English Sheepdogs live between 12 and 14 years.

What's the Difference Between an English Sheepdog and a Border Collie?

Although the English Sheepdog looks similar to the Border Collie, there are two distinct breeds. English Sheepdogs can be as good at herding as Border Collies, but they're also bred to be excellent working dogs. This means that the English Sheepdog is also a great guard dog and hunting dog.

Are English Sheepdogs aggressive?

English Shepherds can bark a lot when unknown people are on their property. This breed is very territorial and does not like others entering their space. However, they rarely bite unless provoked.

Are English Sheepdogs Good Family Dogs?

Yes, English Sheepdogs can make great family pets. They are loyal and protective. They are also easy to train and can be taught how to interact with children.

Do English Sheepdogs Bark Often?

If the physical and mental exercise needs of English Sheepdogs are met, they will generally not bark very much.

Are English Sheepdogs easy to train?

Yes, English Sheepdogs are easy to train. They are intelligent and eager to please others. These two traits certainly contribute to how easy it is to train this breed.

Is the English Sheepdog a herbivore, carnivore or omnivore?

English Sheepdogs are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

To which kingdom does the English Sheepdog belong?

The English Sheepdog belongs to the animal kingdom.

Which category does the English Sheepdog belong to?

The English Sheepdog is a mammal.

What phylum does the English Sheepdog belong to?

The English Sheepdog belongs to the phylum Chordate.

What family does the English Sheepdog belong to?

The British Sheepdog belongs to the canine family.

In what order do English Sheepdogs belong?

The English Sheepdog belongs to the order Carnivora.

What genus does the English Sheepdog belong to?

The English Sheepdog belongs to the genus Canis.

What type of mulch do English Sheepdogs have?

The English Sheepdog is covered in hair all over.

What are some interesting facts about the English Sheepdog?

English Sheepdogs are very intelligent and independent!

What is the scientific name of the English Sheepdog?

The scientific name of the English Sheepdog is Canis lupus.

What are the main differences between the English Sheepdog and the Border Collie?

The main differences between the English Sheepdog and the Border Collie are their size, coat type, temperament and longevity etc.

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  1. English Shepherds Club, available here: http://www.englishshepherd.org/english-shepherds-are.html
  2. Pet Finder, available here: https://www.petfinder.com/dog-breeds/english-shepherd/#temperamentSection_jumpTarget
  3. Wikipedia, available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Shepherd
  4. Perfect Dog Breeds, available here: https://www.perfectdogbreeds.com/english-shepherd/
  5. Go Pup!, available here: https://gopup.com/english-shepherd-vs-border-collie/#:~:text=Work%20dog%20vs%20Herding%20dog,a%20multi%2Dpurpose% 20working%20dog .