Jester

Update: we did it! Jester has a new home!

It’s apparently a common thing, according to my friends who breed dogs: people agree to take a puppy, but then at the last minute their circumstances change, and they end up having to back out.  It happened to us yesterday, and unfortunately it happened to this guy.  Cougar found his forever home (and got renamed Bobby in the process), but Jester lost his.  Can you help him, too? 

If there was a puppy in the litter I would say is most like Tiki, this is probably him.  He’s got a bit of prey drive, but not too much — enough to like playing, but not so much that he’s destructive and pounces on everything.  He likes to cuddle, but not a lot.  He’s smart and wants to please you, but he’s also calm and stable on his own.  He’s basically a well-balanced dog who would be at home in virtually any environment, but (as with all our dogs) we’re really looking for a family that can provide him with the time and energy he deserves.  

Let’s see if we can’t find a good home for this guy.  He’s too awesome. 

Happy National Dog Day!

I have no idea who declared yesterday National Dog Day, nor am I even sure if this is actually a thing, but that’s what Facebook tells me, so we’ll go with it.  Coincidentally, the puppies turned six weeks old on Thursday, so this seemed like a good time to break out the camera and the studio strobes to see if we could do some more formal portraits.  It was a lot harder than expected: these guys don’t want to hold still, and they’re pretty damn fast these days, too.  (This is a good thing, but it does present some photographic challenges.)  It’s a bit hard to think that we only have a few more weeks with these guys before they head to their forever homes!  

Speaking of which, Cougar still needs a family.  Is that you?  He’s a very special boy, who would do well as an urban companion.  I’m putting it out there for our readership: help us find Cougar a home, before I have to start making sad video montages featuring Sarah McLachlan music.  

Cougar really wants a forever home.  He’s the smallest, but one of the cuddliest of his litter; he’s got a good heart, he’s bright and curious, and I’m awfully fond of him.  

Viper got a new name this week from his forever family: Ryder.  He also got a collar.  He’s not super impressed.  Please ignore the crap background in this picture — the photo shoot was a lot more logistically challenging than you might think. 

Jester now outweighs everyone else.  He’s turning out to be a big softie and from some angles looks like a Labrador that got paint splashed on him.  NB: new English Shepherd owners are going to get a package to explain what the hell these dogs are. 

Ryder and Jester snuggling up.  We call them the Dudebros.  “Dude.” “Bro!”

Goose got a collar too, and he’s also not so fond of it, which is why it’s not on in this picture. 

Maverick is turning out to be something like our old English Shepherd, Goblin: he likes his people, but he’s also pretty independent.  He’s usually the last one out of the pen, and he’s often off looking at something else on his own.  He’ll be off to Alberta in a couple of weeks to help look after my family’s farm. 

Merlin is heading off to live with a family that has three young boys.  I don’t know that he knows what he’s getting himself into…

Charlotte is, hands down, the easiest dog in the universe to photograph.  “Look at my pretty side!”  No nagging, no repositioning, nothing — she just holds still and waits for the strobes to fire.  She’ll be a resident of the Lower Mainland next month. 

And then there’s Charlie.  She’s easily the bossiest of our litter (much like her mother, actually), who absolutely loves trying to start play fights with her brothers.  She’s also very biddable and easy to take pictures with, and for that I’m deeply thankful.  

This is a pretty good summary of what our lives are like these days.  I feel for the dog whose tail is caught here — I really, really do.  

Slightly more than four weeks

The Top Gun litter is now four weeks old (well, almost five actually).  They look like little dogs, and sound like little dogs.  They’re bold, curious, and very, very busy.  They’re also really freaking adorable: 

They’re here!

We’re very pleased to announce the arrival of our first litter! Rosie birthed eight puppies overnight, without any human assistance or complications — six boys, two girls. All of them are some variation of sable, from clear to dark shaded, and they’re all healthy, weigh about what they should, and are nursing well; Rosie is settling in nicely to her new role as a mommy dog, and is taking excellent care of her babies. She’s very proud of herself, and we’re very proud of her.

Everyone is likely to want to see puppy pictures, so here you go:

Rosie with her babies.

Most of the puppies huddled together.


Goose.


Viper.


Jester.


Charlie (one of our two girls).


Charlotte (our other girl).


Maverick.


Merlin.


Cougar.

What the heck is an English Shepherd?

… and why would you want one?

We’ve owned English Shepherds for almost 15 years, and by far and away the most common question we get about our dogs is, “What the heck is that?”  It’s not surprising: virtually unknown in southwestern British Columbia, the English Shepherd might be best thought of as a Border Collie with an off switch — they fit into most of the domains where a Border Collie might be a natural choice, and have many of the same desirable traits of a Border Collie, but lack the same intensity and focus.  They’re loyal, intelligent, and capable dogs that are equally at home in the city and on the farm, excelling at everything from herding to agility to companionship and service.

The “breed,” as such, is rather poorly defined.  English Shepherds, as a group, are described by what they do rather than what they are; historically, they were livestock herders (i.e., shepherds) from the United Kingdom working on farms, so puppies were chosen from adult dogs who had demonstrated success as herders, so those traits were passed on from generation to generation.  Today, you’ll find a wide range of body conformation types, colour patterns, hair, tails, ears, and eyes.  But inside, they’re mostly the same talented animal.

You can read more about these remarkable dogs in this article written by breeder Mary Peaslee. The rest of her Web site is great, too, and goes into far more detail than we could (and a great deal more eloquently) about how the breed came to be, what they’re like, and why you might want one.  The short version: they’re smart, trainable, and committed to their people.

As breeders, our dogs are part of our family and our daily lives.  Living in Victoria, British Columbia, ours are not master herders or agility champions — but they are spectacular companions, fiercely loyal, good with kids, and great to be around.  We love our English Shepherds intensely, want to see the breed continue and grow and prosper, and are committed to ensuring the long term health of English Shepherds everywhere.

We are currently taking reservations for our Summer 2018 litter.  If you think you might be interested in one of these fabulous dogs, please send us an e-mail: info(at)salishseashepherds.com.