Jake was a mongrel. A wonderful, fantastic, loving mongrel and quite possibly the finest English Shepherd throwback the UK has seen. He arrived at our door at the ripe old age of 5 weeks and was barely the size of my hand. With no knowledge of his lineage the vet assured us that what we had in our hands was a beautiful Rotweiller pup. Needless to say it didn't take long before that was proven false and for the next 12 years we all lived happily ever after in blissful ignorance assuming that what we had on our hands was a Collie / Gordon Setter crossbreed - albeit the most loving, intelligent and handsome Collie / Gordon Setter crossbreed the UK had ever seen.
Then in 2008 it happened. While browsing an American dog website we accidentally clicked on a link for the English Shepherd breed. Much to our astonishment up popped pictures of dogs identical to Jake winning Agility / Flyball / Obedience competitions left, right and centre. At first we thought that Jake must be leading a secret double life - these dogs were his spitting image yet over 12 years in the UK we had never come across another dog that looked quite like him. At that point we knew we would have to try and track down a breeder.
A search for a UK breeder saw us getting in touch with Jackie Graves. With a similar story to ours Jackie had found out that a dog she owned, and had assumed was a mongrel, was in fact a likely throwback from the English Shepherd lineage. Jackie had subsequently made it her life's work to reintroduce the breed to the UK and had imported two English Shepherds from America to start the process.
We were lucky enough to get in contact with Jackie as her dogs Adam and Eve were having their first litter. A litter that gave us the wonderful Holly. Shortly after Holly joined us Jake passed away. We can only assume that the world simply wasn't big enough for two dogs with the love, intelligence and beauty of Jake and Holly to coexist at the same time. Jake passed the torch to Holly and we continued onward, much like Jackie, determined to reintroduce to the UK the breed that had brought so much love and happiness to our lives.