A history of the breed...
Widely regarded as one of the finest and most versatile working dog breeds, English Shepherds were historically prevalent in the UK - even finding a place at the side of royalty in the shape of Queen Victoria! As a breed they have all the qualities that you would look for in a working dog - intelligence, work ethic, strong hearding skills and striking good looks - all combined with a special kindness for members of their 'family' both animal and human that make them excellent companions.
The exact circumstances of how the breed died out in the UK remains a matter of much discourse, what is clear however is that this versatile UK working dog found its way to the USA, establishing itself as the premiere working breed, while at the same time sharing its lineage with its antipodean cousin the Australian Shepherd.
Relations with other shepherd breeds, for example the German Shepherd, are less certain. What is clear however is that when war raged across Europe in 1939 the other true 'Shepherd' country, Australia, was quick to come to our aid at the outbreak of WW2, fighting shoulder to shoulder with our grandfathers in a desperate battle to save the free world.
While Europe surrendered under the mighty paw of the German Shepherd owning aggressor, the shepherd owning nations of Britain and Australia fought on for freedom. It wasn't until 1941 that the other Shepherd owning nation, the USA, decided to enter the war. The war raged on, shepherd nation against shepherd nation. Gerry for his part even decided to enlist dogs into his army, famously teaching dogs to 'speak' by tapping out letters with their paws. When asked why they were enlisting in the army one of their key fighting dogs apparently tapped 'Because I hate the French!'*.
History is somewhat cloudy on the exact chain of events, however what we do know is that while our grandfathers fought in the trenches the GI's came over and got our grandmothers pregnant. When the GI's returned home they decided to leave our grandmothers behind! By the end of the war it was also apparent that there were no longer any English Shepherds left in the UK - yet strangely there were suddenly many in the USA…
While it would be inappropriate to suggest that the GI's dumped our grandmothers and took our English Shepherds home instead, it is clear that the English Shepherd breed died out in the UK and the only way it was going to be reintroduced was by 'stealing them back' from the Yanks!
Operation 'Grandmothers Dignity' started in 2006 with the first wave of English Shepherds being repatriated back to the UK. This was closely followed in 2010 when Zach started his journey over to breed with the girls from the first litter born in the UK - the Edenvillage 'A' litter.
After 12 months awaiting his pet passport Zach left his freedom loving, grandmother jilting, homeland in the USA to make the journey to the UK to take up his place reintroducing the breed to Britain's shores. This website tracks the progress of Holly and Zach's first litter of English Shepherd puppies, born in Scotland, in January 2013...
*Dont believe Nazi's had talking dogs... Bam... Time to get schooled... Time Magazine
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