We have some very exciting news about a new addition to the Ozark House!
Kate and I are excited to introduce you to OZARK!
After much deliberation and soul-searching, I (Nathan) decided that it was time for a farm dog. Plenty of online research led me to the English Shepherd breed. This is a fairly rare breed that has only recently been making a comeback thanks to the hard work of some devoted breeders. We have become interested in heritage breeds here – raising heritage American Mulefoot hogs, and growing a garden full of heirloom vegetable varieties – and the idea of helping preserve and expand a breed of farm dog made perfect sense to us.
English Shepherds were originally bred as versatile dogs that would do a variety of work on early American small farms. They herd and guard livestock, they protect the animals from predators, and they are devoted and loyal to their owners.
As the multifaceted farm disappeared and food production became industrialized in America (you know, so that we could eat obese cows and pigs and chickens that have been overfed grain in confined spaces, and so we could burn corn in our gas tanks), the need for such an animal disappeared, and subsequently, the breed almost vanished. We will be keeping Ozark “intact” so that, provided his temperament is of breeding quality, the breeder from whom we obtained him can use him to continue to fortify this wonderful breed.
The following description is from the English Shepherd website:
English Shepherds are descendants of the Shepherds’ dogs of England and southern Scotland. This group also gave rise to modern “show” Collies and Border Collies. English Shepherds differ from their cousins in having been bred primarily for an upright, loose-eyed herding style, and by the continuous selection for all-around ability. These abilities include not only herding but also guarding and hunting. The surge in popularity of dog shows and sheepdog trials in the 20th century resulted in increased demand for the Collie types which these venues were designed to showcase. English Shepherds have never been primarily show dogs or trial dogs, but rather practical versatile workers for farmers who were interested in function rather than flash.
We got Ozark in Oklahoma City, on our way back home from my brother’s wedding.
He is a very sweet puppy, and has already taken a particular liking to Saylor (which might be because they are almost the same size).
Saylor’s not sure what he thinks. But I know in time he’ll come to love this new important member of the Ozark House.
As Ozark learns the ropes of the farm, establishing himself as the leader of our animals (and recognizing me as his leader), we look forward to him helping with the morning and evening chores, returning wayward livestock (hopefully he doesn’t have to do that much), protecting the chickens from dirty ‘coons, and hunting varmints.