Meet our English Shepherds

Dexter and Clara




Dex was born 1/30/09 at Egertsen’s Cedar Creek English Shepherds in Iowa. Peg Egertsen did an outstanding job pairing us up with Dexter. And she has been an invaluable mentor to us ever since. I like Peg’s philosophy of dog training and she’s a wealth of information when it comes to breed history.

English Shepherd
Dexter showing concern for the little Sussex chick.

Dex is a calm, gentle dog that is very easy to live with. He truly has an “off switch”. Even as a young puppy he would happily lie at my feet while I worked at the computer.

Dex is polite and extremely biddable. He’s also an “informer.” He let’s me know when something’s wrong. Do you recall how TV Lassie would tell her owner “Timmy’s fallen down the well”? Dex is like that. He will let me know if an animal is someplace it shouldn’t be or doing something naughty.

Dexter herding hens from one yard to another.

He has a low-key herding drive around the poultry and a keen instinct to nurture animals. This makes him an ideal dog to have around birds and other small livestock. That said, he is fearless when asked to move cattle out of an area they are not meant to be. He herds in very upright, loose-eyed manner.

When given a job such as, “Get the chickens out of the garden”, he prefers to figure it out by himself rather than receive a lot of instruction from me. And he will often do it differently than I expected!

My English shadow.

He is a fiendish hunter of voles and gophers. Once he starts digging he usually gets one.  Dex is a loud and protective watchdog, wary of strangers until he gets to know them. I really appreciate this trait especially when we’re working in remote parts of the ranch.

Dex is the quintessential “English shadow” staying close to my side throughout the day. He is happiest when he can be working alongside his people. In the old days, he would have been the kind of dog that followed the kids to school. I rarely have to call him to me. He is always in tune to where I am.

He is a dark shaded-sable (not a tri-color), MDR1 normal/normal, UKC registered.  Dex has been raised on a modified raw food diet and with minimal vaccines. His health is excellent.

Hips: Read how natural rearing and lifestyle reduce hip dysplasia. Below is a video of Dexter at almost age 8, keeping up with Clara, age 2.

Dexter’s lineage: Anderson, Owens, Butcher, Beebe, Partlow, Parmely

clara-lyingon-table   Clara

Clara was born 11/03/14 in Michigan at Debbie Heidtman’s. The Heidtmans have been breeding English Shepherds for a very long time, keeping alive some of the old lines. Clara’s pedigree carries some of Mildred Schoeman’s lines (sometimes spelled Shoeman). These lines were nearly lost, so we are happy to see this in Clara’s pedigree. You can read more about Mrs. Schoeman’s dogs in the section about our breeding goals.

The best way to describe Clara is sweet and affectionate. She is absolutely crazy about people. All people— strangers, family, children, men, everybody. Debbie Heidtman described Clara’s mother as “the sweetest dog” and our Clara is just the same.

Clara moving cattle for the first time. The cows are unused to dogs and have a big flight zone, hence the distance between them and the dog.

Clara’s a bit more “herdy” than Dexter. Like him, she herds in an upright manner but with a little stronger eye. She balances off the animals more intuitively. She drops to the ground if the birds get spooked and flap about. She also drops when, for example, I tell her to wait while I turn off an electric fence. I didn’t teach her this. It’s just something she does.



Clara’s a busy dog, hunting vermin and checking out things around the ranch. She will occasionally herd the free-range poultry around the yard when she’s bored, but she is entirely trustworthy with them. She can often be seen sitting on a hill up above the young chicks, watching over them. This obviously deters predators quite a bit.

Clara has always been a brave dog, even as a tiny puppy. I thought she might grow up with an independent streak based on that, but she is very biddable and keeps tabs on me through the day, although she is less of the “English Shadow” than Dexter.


Clara is also a shaded-sable. MDR1 normal/normal.  UKC registered. She has been raised on a modified raw food diet and with minimal vaccines. Her health is excellent.

Clara’s lineage: Anderson, Beebe, Wyss, Moeller, Owens, Butcher, Schoeman, Mohns, Maynard