“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


September, 2017:  all of Mags' and Howie's pups have gone to their new homes.  I'm pleased with the homes - Hawys (Eilidh), Catrin (AddyRose), and Rhodri (Mickey) went to small farms.  Drake (Skye) will be evaluated as a potential therapy dog.  Kerra (Kona) went to live with the family that owns Mags' littermate River, and will get to go hiking in all seasons as well as keeping the free-range cows out of the yard.  Jory (still Jory) will get the chance to be an agility dog, and pursue stock work with Mary Peaslee (Howie's owner) if he shows aptitude.  Kensa (Dash) has gone to live with a wildlife biologist and Dash will spend time in the woods and fields with her as an early warning system.