“She had come into the care of one who really loved her, who understood her, who had only her best interests in mind”
― Phillip Keller, "Lessons From a Sheep Dog

Orchard Hill Ranch 

English shepherds

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Mace gathering the flock

ORCHARD HILL ENGLISH SHEPHERDS is located in North Central Idaho. Craig's great-grandparents homesteaded this farm/ranch in 1901. We had a herd of Murray Grey/Angus cattle that varied in size from 90 to 10. We also raise wheat, barley, oats, canola, and hay. Our personal start in farming began on a four-acre corner of the ranch, on a hill in the old family orchard, and that small beginning is the source of our farm name. 

For a good description of English shepherd character, see the English Shepherd Club website page on character, or this page.

Our first dog, Mace, came to help us work our cattle. We liked the breed so well that we currently have five English shepherds: Shepherd's Way Mace, Orchard Hill Ember, Ember's daughter Orchard Hill Steel Magnolia, Ember's son Orchard Hill Loki, and Mace's granddaughter, Orchard Hill's Fae.

As of the fall of 2014, we no longer have livestock, being retired or semi-retired from farming. I may get a flock of sheep for the summer, just to train the dogs. I miss stock work too, and I would love to do some American Herding Breed Association trials, like I have done with Mace in the past.

                                         Mace bringing the cows to the corral


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June 28, 2017:  Mags and Howie have seven beautiful puppies. You can see them as newborns, and at six weeks.   I expect these pups to be healthy and sound, have good working instincts, be outgoing and friendly, be biddable and empathetic, and be athletic and active, yet calm.  I am still accepting working home applications for this litter.  Working homes include farm homes with livestock work, service dogs, dog sports, etc.  If interested, fill out my questionnaire to get on The List.  

The 2017 Idaho Gathering was a big success, judging from the comments we got.  Between 20 and 25 people attended, with about that many dogs.  People came from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  The day was relaxed and fun, with two planned activities (Intro to Barn Hunt and Barnyard Agility), and several impromptu activities - a short clicker training talk, a breeders' discussion time after lunch, and a carting demonstration by the Pettingers from Spokane.  The demo dog for carting was Fae's littermate, Bug-Z.  It was fun to see Bug-Z and Fae together - they are built so much alike.