The Blankenship breeding program spanned four decades. John and Pauline Blankenship were master farmers, respected community leaders, and arguably the most prolific breeders of English Shepherds in the history of the breed. Mr. and Mrs. Blankenship's influence on the Old-fashioned Black and Tan English Shepherd cannot be overstated. It is difficult to find an Old-fashioned Black and Tan English Shepherd in existence today who's lineage does not go back to the Blankenships' dogs. For decades, the following breed standard was the model against which the Blankenships selected and bred their dogs:
The Old-fashioned Black and Tan English Shepherd is a medium sized, strongly-built, active dog. He is affectionate, intelligent, naturally obedient, not quarrelsome or possessive, but of great courage and extremely faithful. He is not easily excitable and is usually dignified in manner. A natural born working dog, first used by men to herd sheep but now used mostly for cattle dogs as they are natural low heelers.
The Old-fashioned Black and Tan English Shepherd has the stamina and courage it takes to pen the wildest cattle. They are also used for hunting dogs as they can kill animals much larger than themselves, and always attack animals from the rear. They have also been found extremely valuable as guards and watchdogs.
HEAD: Medium length, skull broad between the ears. Stop well pronounced, also the occiput. Nose well developed and always black. Jaws large and strong. Teeth strong, incisor bite. Eyes, medium size, prominent, dark brown, and should express good humor, faithfulness and confidence. Ears medium size, wide apart and about even with the top of the head, hang over on the side of the head when the dog is relaxed, up a little when the dog is alert. Neck should be strong and well muscled.
BODY: Ribs well sprung apart, chest broad and deep, perfect balance: Loins strong and deep, flanks should be even and smooth, not tucked up. Dewclaws are very desirable.
COAT: Hair should be about two inches long, glossy, and repels water, always slightly wavy, but straight hair is more desirable than hair too curly. This hair doesn’t cling to woolen garments as does some other type dogs hair.
COLOR: Glossy black with clearly defined markings of Mahogany brown to Golden tan on cheeks, chest, legs and muzzle and over each eye and a bar across the chest. Small amount of white on the chest and under the stomach is permissible, also a white ring neck on the black and tan English Shepherds. Jet black English Shepherds may have white markings as long as the white is perfectly balanced and not any white on the body. The most desirable color for English Shepherds is a glossy black with Rusty Golden Tan markings with a good bar across the chest.
HEIGHT: Not less than 18 inches or over 22 inches high. Not less than 40 pounds or over 60 pounds, but the most desirable size is 20 inches high and 50 pounds.
TAIL CARRIAGE: When the Old-fashioned Black and Tan English Shepherd is relaxed the tail is carried on about a 45 degree angle with a little crook near the end of the tail. When the dogs are working the tail is more level with the body. English Shepherd pups are sometimes born with a natural bob tail.
Last revision: October 19, 1968