Some Farm Dogs Said True English Shepherds

This article is from The Rutherford Courier of Smyrna, Tennessee. It was published January 23, 1953.

The grandson of a former Rutherford Countian came back to Middle Tennessee this week, this time trying to find other cattle dogs like his grandfather took to Texas with him some 60-odd years ago.

The man was Tom D. Stodghill of Quinlan, Texas, not far from Dallas. He is secretary treasurer of the English Shepherd Club of America.[1]English Shepherd Club of America (ESCOA), Farm Shepherds Illustrated And he found a number of dogs over Middle Tennessee that he says are quite evidently true English Shepherds and could be registered in the recently-established English Shepherd club, thus establishing new blood lines.

Some Middle Tennessee families owning these dogs did not even know what breed the dogs were, Stodghill said – only that the dogs were excellent for handling livestock and had been used in the families for this purpose for long years.[2]Black and Tan Shepherd Farm Dogs In Use Prior to 1900, Farm Shepherds Illustrated

But color markings and other features as well as performance of these dogs show definitely that they are of the English Shepherd breed, and have been bred true down through the years, Stodghill said.

The Texan and his wife spent several days here with Mr. and Mrs. John Blankenship of Salem Road, who are the largest breeders of English Shepherds now in Tennessee. The Blankenships accompanied the Stodghills on their travels into Dekalb, Jackson, Putnam, Wilson and other counties, looking for dogs that might seem eligible for registration.

The Blankenships accompanied the Stodghills on their travels into Dekalb, Jackson, Putnam, Wilson and other counties, looking for dogs that might seem eligible for registration.

Stodghill’s grandfather was George Dromgoole, member of the well-known Rutherford County family, and a brother of Will Allen Dromgoole, the writer. Stodghill’s mother, the former Miss Ada Dromgoole, is still living in Texas, now 74 years old. Stodghill and Mrs. Douglas MacArthur, whose grandmother was a Dromgoole, are therefore cousins.

Stodghill said that the formation of the new association had brought about a great revival in interest in English Shepherds. The association now has 72 members in 28 states, he pointed out.

The English Shepherd, Stodghill explained, is a “natural born working dog,” with a definite in-born understanding of the cattle and sheep herder’s problems. They have been used for herding purposed for man centuries, he said, and were brought to America from England in the early days. The dogs are affectionate and intelligent, he said, naturally obedient and faithful, but of great courage and stamina. Their natural traits make them ideal as children’s pets and watchdogs, he said.

The English Shepherds breed particularly true to type, he said. The preferred color is black and tan, although some dogs are black and white. The dog with “perfect” markings has a bar of tan across the chest just above the legs, a spot of tan over each eye, and tan around the muzzle and elsewhere on the underparts.

Pups with the most desirable markings bring as high as $100, Stodghill said. He pointed out that some [rural Middle Tennessee] English Shepherd owners, not knowing the value of their dogs, having been giving the pups away.

Pups with the most desirable markings bring as high as $100, Stodghill said. He pointed out that some [rural Middle Tennessee] English Shepherd owners, not knowing the value of their dogs, having been giving the pups away.

The Blankenships obtained their first English Shepherd from Stodghill some eight or nine years ago – but it was pure coincidence that they happened to buy from a former Rutherford Countian. The had a Spitz, and decided that what they needed more was a farm and cattle dog. They saw Stodghill’s small advertisement in a magazine, and ordered a pup from him, not knowing that he came from a Rutherford County family.

Today, the Blankenships have about 10 English Shepherds, and do a brisk business[3]Blankenship Sales Brochure, Farm Shepherds Illustrated in selling the puppies over the country. They say they give full credit for the fact that there son Henry, now 9, never got hurt on the farm to their first Shepherd. The dog guarded the child so closely that he could go all over the farm at any time without danger that he would be hurt by stock.

Stodghill said that the future of the English Shepherd breed appears particularly bright. So far, the association has registered 16 unrelated blood lines, he said. More are being registered, but the books will eventually be closed, he said, as soon as it appears there is enough foundation stock. The Association has worked out standards for the dogs, and work is being done on a breeders’ manual, which is hoped will eventually into a regular magazine. Stodghill said consideration was also being given to a suggestion that Murfreesboro be the site for a nation meeting of English Shepherd breeders.

The Blankenships are sold on the English Shepherd as the “world’s best all-purpose dog.”

“They are fine watch dogs,” said Mrs. Blankenship. “They will guard children, and are also good hunting dogs. They will tree squirrels, coons, mink and skunk. An English Shepherd will go a mile after cows, and when it comes to herding sheep can’t be equalled. One English Shepherd is better help in loading stock into a truck than a dozen hands. In fact, an English Shepherd can help his master do just about anything it is possible for a dog to do – and we say that out of our own experience, and not just because we are English Shepherd breeders.”

Stodghill is interested in raising OIC hogs in addition to English Shepherds. He is the largest breeder of both the hogs and the shepherds in the state of Texas.

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References

1 English Shepherd Club of America (ESCOA), Farm Shepherds Illustrated
2 Black and Tan Shepherd Farm Dogs In Use Prior to 1900, Farm Shepherds Illustrated
3 Blankenship Sales Brochure, Farm Shepherds Illustrated