Registration for the English Shepherd Breed

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

  • 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

With the exception of the ESCR, the other three registries require that both parents be registered with their organization before a litter registration can occur. The ESCR believes that as long as the parents are registered with any one of the four registries, that should be sufficient. A copy of the non-ESCR-registered parent’s registration certificate must accompany the litter registration application.

Registration forms for the ESCR

Litter Registration Application:

  • The breeder has up to a year following the whelping to register the litter. The first page needs to be completely filled out for all litter registrations.
  • The cost for simply registering the litter is $12. The breeder will receive a puppy certificate for each puppy to be given to the new owner. The blue section on pages two through four will need to be filled out for the litter registration.
  • At the same time as litter registration, any or all of the puppies may be fully registered on behalf of the new owners. For the fully registered puppy option, please fill out the blue and white sections on pages two through four.
  • Page five asks questions about any litters that are conceived using Artificial Insemination (AI) and also requests optional health information regarding the litter.

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

Full Registration Application:

  • This form may be used once the dog is one year in age.
  • 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.