After many years of research, and as many waiting for the time to be right, Hayes’ Tucker came to live with us in January, 2011. At the time, he was a 10 week old fluff ball, quiet and a little gentleman, with big feet. He has since grown into those large paws, and is a handsome representative of the English Shepherd breed.
Tucker is from Iowa, out of the Cedar Creek English Shepherd lines. I want to commend the young gentleman who raised the pups in this litter, Eric Taylor. He did an excellent job. Heck, Tucker even loves to get vacuumed! Kudos go also to Peg Egertsen on the work she has done in establishing a great line of English Shepherds.
Tucker comes from the Beebe, Butcher, and Merz lines. From what I understand, these dogs have long been selected to work on farms and ranches and are biddable, which makes them easier to train as well as for them to understand what is required of them around the farm. This is exactly what I was looking for when I was researching what breed would work best on our small ranch.
Tucker is definitely very biddable, wanting very much to please me and be with me as I go about doing chores around our small ranch. As you can see by this picture with Toby, he also inherited the nurturing genetics. He was around 5 months old when a neighboring rancher gave us this little preemie bull calf. He took it upon himself to keep the little guy company and kept him clean. I think he helped Toby get through the first week or two of his life, as it was pretty rough at first.
He’s also good around our cats and other dogs. The cat in the picture, Billy, is kind of a play toy to Tucker and Sage. Although he doesn’t do it anymore, we would frequently see Tucker dragging Billy around by the scruff of the neck. I always worried that Tucker would accidentally hurt him, but he doesn’t seem any worse for wear. He plays very well with Sage, and drives EmmaLee crazy when he plays keep away with any stick that he can find. He’ll be carrying around a long stick, which EmmaLee wants too, but as soon as she gets close to him, he’ll turn his head the other direction so she can’t grab it. You could see her getting really mad at him, so eventually, he’d let her have an end of the stick. EmmaLee finally learned how to play keep away too, so they’ll chase each other around the yard, each one playing keep away with the other.
He was fun to watch this summer while I was irrigating the neighboring ranch. He delighted in chasing little colorful butterflies, dancing and leaping this way and that after them. For such a big dog, he’s actually quite graceful. He also helped EmmaLee find and dispatch field mice and chased hawks and ravens away. One thing that I didn’t really appreciate was when he kept finding skunks. I think he got sprayed 3 or 4 times within a 2 week period. He finally got smart enough to leave them alone, or he didn’t find them anymore. But whew! did he stink!
Tucker has grown into a very quiet, gentleman type dog. We joke that he is more mature than our 4 year old Standard Rat Terrier. He is not a reactive dog, instead, he takes it in, and then decides what to do. In this picture with last springs calves, he was out playing with his sister, Em, when I squatted down to get a few shots at eye level with the calves. The next thing I know, Tucker is putting himself very quietly between me and the calves. Although they were no threat to me, he took it upon himself to make sure they didn’t get any closer to me. He did the same thing with our new Dexter bull, Elliott. I was filling up the stock tank, and there was a narrow entrance area where I was standing by the faucet to turn on the hose. Elliott decided he was going to check me out and he came up kinda swinging his head and being a silly bull. Tucker immediately ran over and got between Elliott and me, slowly moving him away from me. When he didn’t listen fast enough, Tucker became more aggressive and chased him away.
In neither time did I even make a sound to indicate that I needed help. I wasn’t worried about the calves, as all I would have had to do is stand up and they would have run back from me, and Elliott, although a little unknown at the time, didn’t really pose too much of a threat, as he is mostly bluffing. But Tucker saw them as a potential threat to me and quietly put himself between me and them.
I am very pleased with Tucker, and how well mannered he is. He takes his job of watching over the house and herding the cattle very seriously. He’s a great playmate to Sage and EmmaLee, and is always polite and a gentleman. The only thing I wish he would do better is watch over my poultry. That part hasn’t kicked in yet, although he shows curiosity when he’s in the coop with me. I just don’t think he quite knows what to do with them yet. But he ‘s still young, so he still has time to figure it out. All in all, he’s a great dog. Around here, he’s also know as “Mr. Awesome!”