“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
Ember moving sheep through a gate

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.

Ember gathering cows

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


Mags had a litter of five on July 17.  All are tri-colored, four males, one female.  This is potentiall a dual-sired litter, with DNA tests to determine parentage when the pups are about four weeks old.  The first sire is Brandywine James (both parents OFA Good).  The second sire is Maplebrook Farm's Ezekial (sire OFA Excellent, dam OFA Fair).  Both are working dogs who have learned on-the-job, taking cues from their owners.  Both have great temperaments and good working drives.  I expect the pups from this litter will be athletic working prospects, dog sport prospects, or active companions.

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                                 Brandywine James
                   Red Bank Shooter x Houlahan's Pipistrelle

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                                   Maplebrook Farm's Ezekial
        Windshadow's Maplebrook Tucker x Maplebrook Farm's Sheba