The Big Picture
My goal is to produce dogs that possess the virtues of the traditional Shepherd’s Dog so that their legacy is available to future generations.
My Ideal Dog
My first ES, Dover, was a perfect Shepherd’s Dog: an ever-present helper & companion; smart enough to do anything, content to do what we were doing.
I combine health testing, time together working, and assessment of the breed population to select for health, working ability & genetic diversity.
How It Works
Breed Conservation: Science
I apply breed conservation principles to ensure that the breed population remains strong and diverse enough to provide a secure genetic future.
In practice, this means I keep track of the generation time for each litter and for my breeding program as a whole. Maximizing generation time – by breeding from older dogs – slows the loss of genetic diversity and allows selection for longevity.
I also measure the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) for each dog and for planned breedings with a goal of keeping the average COI < 6%. Maintaining a low level of inbreeding reduces the risk of genetic defects and improves longevity.
I generally do not repeat breedings so that each litter produced provides a unique genetic contribution to the breed.
When I place puppies, I am mindful of the value of sibling contribution to the next generation. Sibling contributions provides a broad genetic foundation for each generation and promotes the longterm health of breeds. I generally do not place puppies on spay/neuter contracts but I also do not guarantee any puppy will be suitable for breeding: it is essential to evaluate dogs at maturity before making such decisions.
Shepherd’s Way Data
Average Generation Time (years)
Average Longevity (years)
Average Sibling Contribution
Breed Conservation: Tradition
Shepherd’s dogs are defined by their close relationship to their owner and their ability to manage groups of animals in a careful, controlled fashion. Their close bond and partnership with their person is reflected in the attention, loyalty, ability to understand and anticipate directions displayed by these dogs.
Selection for herding ability results in dogs that blend courage and sensitivity, discernment and quick reflexes, gentleness and power. The best way to assess the delicate balance of traits that comprise the Shepherd dog’s character is to live and work alongside the dogs over time.
Over the years a network of breeders has developed that intersects with the Shepherd’s Way family tree. We all work independently but with a common purpose and shared values.