The Registration Process

Registration Information for the New ES Owner

There are four main registries for the English Shepherd breed. They are:

  • English Shepherd Club Registry (ESCR) – a nonprofit, breed specific registry with an open/public database
  • United Kennel Club (UKC) – a for-profit, multi-breed registry
  • Animal Research Foundation (ARF) – started as a breed specific registry, but now a for-profit, multi-breed, family-owned registry that also registers livestock
  • International English Shepherd Registry (IESR) – started as a breed specific registry, but now a for-profit, multi-breed, family-owned registry

Registering Your New Puppy

  • Check with your breeder to see if the litter will be registered with one of the four ES Registries. If so, the breeder should either provide you with a puppy/litter certificate or will be fully registering the puppy for you through one of the four registries. Puppies that are fully registered by the breeder will not require any further submitted paperwork from the owner. Puppies that are litter registered will need the new owner to fill out the puppy/litter certificate and then submit it to the registry for full registration to be completed.
  • Some of the registries have a “register by” date in order to get the best price. After that date, the price goes up. The ESCR price stays the same, no matter how old your puppy may be.
  • With most registries, the breeder does have up to a full year after the litter is whelped to register the litter.  Check with your breeder to find out if registration of the litter will take place before proceeding to register the puppy yourself.
  • If the litter is not going to be registered, but both parents are registered at one of the four ES Registries (even if they are registered at two different registries), ask for a copy of the parents’ certificates and a bill of sale from the breeder.  With this information, you can register your puppy with the ESCR. If the puppy is under a year in age, you will also need a letter from the breeder stating that the litter will not be registered with the ESCR. The bill of sale should include:
    • The coat color and sex of your puppy
    • The date of birth of the litter
    • Parents’ names and registration information
    • Be signed and dated by the breeder.
  • Make copies of all paperwork before submitting any applications.

ESCR Full Registration Application:

  • This form may be used once the dog is one year in age.  If the puppy is less than a year in age, a signed statement will be needed from the breeder specifying that the litter will not be registered.
  • If the dog is currently registered at one of the other three English Shepherd registries, a copy of the registration certificate will need to be submitted along with the application. A dog’s litter/puppy certificate may also be used in lieu of the registration certificate, as long as a three-generation pedigree is included with the application.
  • If the dog is not registered, please refer to the Rules and Regulations as to the types of information that will need to be included with the registration application.

You can download a copy of the Full Registration Application here.

Step In Registration:

The ESCR also offers Step In registrations for English Shepherds from unregistered stock.

  • Use the Full Registration Application.
  • Please refer to the Rules and Regulations as to the types of information that will need to be included with the registration application.

Details from the ESCR Step In Committee:

The English Shepherd Club Registry includes a step-in registration program. Section 6 of the registry rules states: “The Step In process offers a means of recognizing and registering purebred English Shepherds who lack, for whatever reason, the documentation required to qualify for full registration.”

The step-in process was created to fit the ES’s unique breed history: it is both a standardized breed (with four separate registries) and a landrace breed found in geographic pockets across the continent. Registry founders felt that there were likely to be purebred dogs, valuable to the breed, which were unregistered or incompletely registered. Step-in provides an avenue by which these dogs can rejoin the registered population and contribute genetic diversity to the breed. Note that the goal is to include only purebred English Shepherds – a clear distinction from grading-up programs to fold cross-bred dogs into the registry, as is done in some livestock breeds.

If an application is submitted, the Registrar cross-checks the application against Registry records to see if any of the dog’s relatives have already been registered. With this context, the Registrar refers the application to the Registry’s Step-In Committee.

The Step-In committee then reviews the application relative to three areas: (1) known pedigree and links to the historically-documented and registered population; (2) working character; and (3) physical type.

(1) Pedigree – Does this dog link up to the historical breed and breeders? This is the most important yet most variable element. Some applicant dogs may be unregistered yet have a well known pedigree which includes links to historically- known lines and breeders. Other applicant dogs have a scattering of registered ancestors from different registries but less overall information. As well as pedigree, bills of sale, letters and other documents are important additions to the application.

(2) Working Character – Does the dog work like an ES? The Working Trait Evaluation (WTE) in the application helps owners think through and evaluate their dog for the English Shepherd’s historic working traits: herding drive, herding style, power, stock ethic, work ethic, biddability, approach, “eye,” bark, and bite. Videos are an especially effective way to show a dog’s approach to its work, and they are encouraged. Herding instinct results and other third party measures are also relevant. The application also includes an opportunity for owners to describe the dog’s working environment and its other traits, such as territoriality, patrolling, warning, defense of people and property, tracking ability, approach toward predators, pest control, and attitude toward newborn livestock.

(3) Physical Type – Does the dog fit ES type? The application should demonstrate that the dog fits within the breed standard as described in the English Shepherd Club by-laws. This is evaluated via photographs of the dog from several angles. It may also be apparent from videos.

The committee studies the application and may request additional information from the applicant. If the committee accepts the application, the dog is approved at one of three step-in levels, based on the depth of the pedigree: one complete generation = Level 1; two complete generations = Level 2; three or more complete generations = Level 3. Dogs which are approved are given registration numbers appended with S1, S2, or S3 to indicate the level approved. If a person is looking at a dog in the ESCR database, the number ESC-XXX-S3 indicates a step in dog at Level 3 with three complete generations known.

The committee is currently comprised of seven members appointed by the Board of Directors, each bringing his or her own diversity of experience with the breed. Members are also chosen for their objectivity. It is recommended that members of the Step-In Committee have a minimum of five years experience in the breed and that both breeders and those with experience in working dogs are represented. The Registrar is a non-voting member of the committee.