English Shepherd Litter 2022

 We expect a litter of English shepherds by Caledonia Teddy Boy of Hickory Mtn. out of Brandywine Verity on or about May 7.

Two English shepherd dogs are trotting towards the viewer with wide smiles, The smaller bitch is leering happily at the larger male dog.

About Teddy:

I've had my eye on Teddy since he was a wee confident floof and I met him at an English Shepherd Gathering, which was somehow both almost eight years ago and last Tuesday. I chose Teddy for Verity because of his laid-back, unflappable, sunny temperament, outstanding pedigree, good health, sturdy, moderate structure, and substance that will balance V's lanky and somewhat dolichocephalic build. Teddy has produced three litters of good English shepherds with bitches who are closely related to Verity.

A tricolor English shepherd dog leaps full speed through the strainer formed by a fallen treetop in a winter landscape.
Threading the needle. Because he can,

Teddy's owner describes him this way: 

Caledonia Teddy Boy of Hickory Mtn. is an 8 year old (3/30/2014) ESCR registered English Shepherd.  He is Embark clear of all the known bad genes ES can carry. He’s OFA Good and PennHIP 0.28/0.25.  He’s 70 pounds, with a classic teflon coat. 

But Teddy is more than just his nice statistics. He is an easy going, even tempered dog who is a delight to live with.  He is very affectionate and cuddly, a true English shadow. He lives in a home with numerous rescue dogs of various temperamental quirks. He is the peacemaker and the guardian. He places himself between dogs who want to squabble, he will guard the old dog who doesn’t feel well, or the shy new foster who is slow to eat.  He is the only dog my very cranky very old boy Keeper does not attack.  I can always count on him to find Keeper when he gets disoriented and gets “lost” in the yard.  Teddy also will guard my things if I leave them in unusual places - a coat, my gloves (he hasn’t learned to find my glasses for me though, yet). 

Teddy is focused on reading his human and pleasing them. "What do you want me to do? I will figure it out and then I will do it.” This is a trait of many of the dogs in his pedigree and something he excels at.

A tricolor English shepherd dog poses on a rock in a snowy landscape

Basic stats --

OFA Good, out of OFA Good parents, two OFA Good and two OFA Excellent grandparents. PennHIP .28/.25.  Teddy is normal/non-carrier for all Embark-tested health conditions, and has maintained good health into English shepherd middle age. Receipts are linked at the bottom of this page.

An English shepherd dog wearing an orange search vest leaps down an embankment as she approaches the viewer at high speed.
Does this search vest make my butt look fluffy?

About Verity:

Verity turned five on March 25. She is a fourth-generation operational SAR dog in an unbroken maternal line, and a fine working small farm dog, managing six species of livestock and poultry in a grass-based system with very different characteristics, and providing diligent farm predator security. She is level-headed, handler-soft, a bit sensitive to social correction, but undaunted by physical challenges. In a family of outgoing, people-loving dogs, she stands out as especially social and joyful about meeting strangers without being intrusive, and she famously brings that vibe to her search work. She's emotionally self-regulated. She has typical ES enforcer urges, but showed from an unusually early age that she could moderate and control them, making her kind to her stock and a wonderful teacher to her younger siblings and foster dogs. She's the best foster babysitter I have had, providing patient guidance and companionship to some very challenging dogs over the years. She has a bit of a Lisa Simpson vibe, very smart, with a tendency to tattle and to become uncomfortable when someone else is breaking rules. She has no environmental sensitivities and is stable to sound, crowds, disaster scenes, and disorder.

Verity is baby-crazy. Two months after every heat cycle, she has adopted a litter of toy stuffies who must sleep in the big bed with the family for several weeks, and be loved and cared for in a variety of dens throughout the day. When her mother allowed her to enter the whelping box with her younger siblings she geeked out with joy, and became more a junior mommy (complete with nursing the sprogs) than an auntie. Verity was slow to mature; she became a social adult helping to raise her younger siblings. She is also typical ES maternal with bottle-baby goats and baby poultry.

Verity is tall, light-boned, very long-legged, but inclined to put on weight over her ribs -- a very easy keeper. She has a very correct teflon coat with furnishings on the more profuse/fancy side and a bit of wave.(aka Farrah Fawcett Butt.) She is pointy in the head. She is not black and white, but very dark seal. She is missing several premolars, and this is a known genetic issue in her maternal line; other dentition, bite, and tooth integrity are excellent. Her only health issue to date has been a single bout of acute Lyme disease which resolved immediately on treatment. She has no allergies, food sensitivities, GI issues, skin issues, or other challenges. She has Brandywine Monkeydog agility, climbing obstacles, jumping, etc. just because she can.

A seal and white English shepherd wearing a search vest stands in partial profile on a log
Getting V. to stand for a side shot approximately as troublesome as
getting Blogger to correctly center and place this photo. I give up. 

Basic stats --

Verity is OFA Excellent out of an OFA Excellent dam and and an OFA Good sire, OFA Good and  low-PennHIP scored grandparents, and has two OFA Excellent full littermates. She is normal/non-carrier for all Embark-tested health conditions, and displays the low-ALT variant. (Meaning that if she were to experience liver dysfunction from any cause, her ALT numbers might still display in the normal range; this information can help a veterinarian correctly interpret laboratory values and treat her appropriately.) Receipts are linked at the bottom of this page. She has maintained good health into mature English shepherd adulthood. 

What we expect:

Teddy-Verity puppies should be medium-to-large (45-70 pounds when mature) with builds that range from their dam's tall and lanky to their sire's more medium substance. (It is possible some pups will be smaller than this range.) Coats should be moderately profuse and correctly "teflon" with seasonal shedding and low tendency to pick up burrs and junk. Colors are anyone's guess, but it is unlikely that most pups will be particularly flashy, with a high probability of dark faces with no or narrow blazes.  I expect good feet, sound backs, and sound joints suitable to an athletic life. I expect exceptional proprioception, agility, and physical confidence, and good to excellent task endurance for extended work such as SAR.

The predicted median Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) for this litter is .06 based on Embark genetic profiling. This will place them near the currently tested breed median, which is very low for purebred dogs. Some individual puppies will be higher, some will be lower. If you are not familiar with the role of COI in genetic health and longevity, you can read more about it here.  While calculated COIs and DNA COIs in English shepherds tend to come up fairly close to one another, and both methods have the potential for error, we believe that COI numbers generated by genetic testing are the most reliable, and do not carry the potential for very large errors due to recent pedigree inaccuracies. It is Brandywine policy to minimize COI when selecting mating partners who are phenotype assortatively compatible with our breeding goals for healthy, sound, mentally correct working dogs who have the brains and bodies of functional English shepherds. This serves the purpose of breed conservation with all its sometimes countervailing challenges, and is a way to maximize each puppy's odds of living a long healthy life free of allergies, intolerances, early cancers, and immune disorders. Nature makes no guarantees, but she does let us get a peek at the odds and choose accordingly.

I believe this cross will produce very thoughtful and emotionally stable, self-regulated, moderate-minded and tolerant offspring. They are highly likely to be slow-maturing, so anyone who is in an all-fired hurry to have a full adult should look elsewhere. Like most English shepherds, they are likely to be intolerant of repetitive drill in training, with potential for some challenging single-trial learners and inventive problem-solvers. If you like to train/precision condition for hours a day and micromanage a dog's movements and conduct, these are not the pups for you. Some, especially bitches, may be prone to form strong opinions about How Things Should Be and wish to express them. Owners need to be prepared to control those modes of expression without getting into head-butting contests about the opinions themselves.

Both parents are handler soft and respond well to mild corrections, and most offspring are likely to be similar. Heavy-handed discipline will be counterproductive, and single dramatic displays of disapproval for major teen felonies will make a permanent impression, for good or ill. No discipline, no corrections ever, weak leadership, allowing bad habits to continue/escalate are not options; these pups will need minimal and mostly very low-key guidance, but they must have it.

Both parents are people-loving and appropriately dog-social, displaying a lot of forbearance for people and animals who don't respect boundaries. Neither have a high drive for dominance. But there are more status-seeking (and holding) animals in their families, so there is potential for some pups who are more assertive with people and less tolerant of rude and intrusive dogs. 

I expect working drive for SAR to be medium to medium-high. Their maternal family has had a number of individuals who developed from adequate working drive to very high drive as they developed.  These will be very socially-driven and partnership-oriented search puppies, not pushbutton search tools. Because I expect breed-and-bloodline-typical intolerance for repetitive drill and micromanagement, pups are unlikely to be suitable for training modalities that rely on those methods. If you or your training supervisor think BF Skinner is the end-all of training, these are not the pups for you. If you are looking for a pup who will have your back in a pinch, take to training like she was born to it (because she is), be resilient, flexible and versatile when confronted by challenges, and continue to develop and improve over a long life of equitable partnership, then hit us up to talk.

These pups should be willing, competent small farm chore dogs and general purpose farm buddies, security guards, and helpers when given normal guidance and supervision during development. I am happy to talk with farmers/homesteaders about their farm practices and goals and how a Brandywine pup might fit with those.

Historically Brandywine pups have done very well in non-AKC dog sports when they are treated as partners by an owner who is enjoying a hobby with a canine friend. Dog sports competitors looking to compete in AKC events, and those seeking a dog as sports equipment should look at another breed.

Pups from this litter should be especially compatible for active people looking for a go-anywhere companion who is kid-loving and up for adventure. They are not couch-potatoes, but they will certainly enjoy sofa time after a day of doing and being included in your routine, and as adults are quite reasonable about downtime when life gets in the way.

There's information on how we raise puppies in these old posts:

I'm interested. What do I do now?

Read over our draft puppy contract. Really read it, this will be on the test. If there are clauses that are unclear to you, or whose purpose you don't understand, note them because we will be discussing it. Then contact me to discuss what you need in an English shepherd and what kind of life you can offer one. 

After we've talked some and agreed that you might be right for a Brandywine ES, I'll send you an application. Prepare your references for me to contact them; your references are also the people I will be hounding if I ever cannot contact you in the next fifteen years, so choose carefully. We will keep in touch regularly to refine our mutual understanding of what kind of puppy will be the best match for you.

When puppies are born I will take deposits. A deposit does not guarantee you a puppy, because we will not know whether there is a match for you in this litter until they begin showing their characters. I do not place puppies based on color and markings.. If I can't match you with a puppy, I'll return your deposit. If you buy a puppy elsewhere or simply change your mind, or ghost us, I will not.

Puppies will be available to go home in early July; precise date depends on their actual birthday. If you need to fly to get your puppy, you will have to do so very shortly after their eight-week birthday. English shepherd pups have an initial steep growth curve, and are pretty quickly too large to fit in an approved carryon puppy bag. 

The receipts --

Verity Embark Page

Teddy Embark Page

Predicted Embark data for their offspring

Verity OFA results

Teddy OFA results

Verity Pedigree

Teddy Pedigree

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