The English Shepherd -AKA "No, I'm not a Border Collie"
Hi all, I'm new here. I have noticed in a few places folks having questions about English Shepherds, wondering how they differ from the more common herding dogs, ie Border Collies and Aussies.
While I haven't owned a BC, I have owned and bred Aussies and currently own my first English Shepherd, Paddy Bear. He's 2, a black & white purebred, and in the right light is actually a phantom tri.
After having lived with Aussies for so many years, I imagined this would be a similar experience.
But I was wrong. Really wrong. Sure he's smart like my Aussie girls. Sure, he would never even think of running away or take his eyes off me while out walking...just like my Aussies. But whoa, is this dog unusual!
I had heard the ES is a rule follower. While that is true, the depth of this shocked and continues to amaze me. He doesn't just follow the rules, he observes every single habit and behavior in our home and makes a mental log. If we as much as slightly stray from the norm, we are alerted right away. Here's a few examples of his M.O.
Bear places himself directly in front of me with intense eye contact and begins to make vocalization sounds while moving his lips. It's as close to talking as a dog can get. He is literally shaking with intensity waiting for me to ask, "Timmy's in the well?! Show me!"
As soon as I say, 'Show me' he will run to whatever is out of order, watching over his shoulder to ensure I am following his steps.
So far, he has taken us to a night-time unlocked front door (we thought for sure we were imagining this...surely he did NOT really just do that, until he continued to do it, only on the nights we left it unlocked ), next, he got my husband out of bed to turn off a left on dining room light. I got distracted upstairs and he came to get me to show the ground beef I had forgotten on the stove....cooking and beginning to burn.
The need for exact order continues to his feeding. He expects to be fed second in line. If his pan is placed down first, he will sit down and wait until order is restored. He literally won't touch his food until all is done correctly.
Last summer, he assigned himself the role of night patrol, keeper of all order in the backyard, running figure eights checking for snakes, squirrels, possums or other vermin. Unfortunately, he decided every 90 minutes a check was needed. After weeks of sleepless nights, I bought him 8 small stuffed animals. He picked up each one, placed them in a pile, circled around them and went to sleep. He slept in all night and in the morning, I came down to see they were not longer in a pile.... they were all lined up like little soldiers.
Unlike a BC or Aussie, objects thrown in the air hold no appeal. He watches the hurled objects, lets them bounce off his face, then he inspects the tidbit, taking it to his bed, to sniff, tear off a bit, chew, spit out, look at, play with it.
He guards our house and barks a 5-bark machine gun fire alert if anything is amiss. If he is laying asleep and a person walks down the street, he awakens and runs to the front window to watch. I have no idea how he knows this. He loves anyone we invite into the house and wants to cuddle, preferably in their lap and if they return for a visit, he will cry and cry and cry acting as if Jesus himself has walked in the room. However, he barks at the right times and when he barks, we come to attention to see what is going on.
Once, at a fair, a woman gasped, took a step back and said to a friend as we walked by..."Did you see that DOG?"
My friend asked what she meant and said she knew us.
"That dog...he literally carries peace on him! I've never seen anything like that on an animal before!"
I don't know about him carrying peace, but of all the animals, dogs, cats, horses I've had the honor to live with, he is the most observant, intuned, loving, affectionate, strange little pup I've ever met. Oh...and he has learned to read about six words from cue cards.
This is a very alert, interesting affectionate, loving, freaky intelligent breed. It was described to me as a border collie with an off switch. He does love lying by my feet and will follow me from room to room. He loves the cat and so wants to be in her business. As far as cons, he sheds long soft silky hair. He's about 48 pounds and is one of the most beautiful dogs I've ever seen. He attracts attention everywhere he goes so I have to allow time to answer all the questions we get..including."Is that a border collie?"
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