The Idaho Shag

As much as we love giving you information, sometimes we need information from you! 

The Idaho Shag (which sounds like a dance step) is a dog that crossed our radar a few weeks back. Unable to find much information about the breed (including whether or not it is a breed) we put it on a back burner.  And then someone we know actually met one in Montana.

Maybe it was time to revisit the dog that many Idaho ranchers insist is the only “breed” they’ll ever have working the animals on their spreads. In fact, cowboys (and yes, we still have cowboys in the west) are loyal to the breed, and at a recent branding in the area, most cowboys had an Idaho Shag.

We’ve hyperlinked a few words that will show you more of these dogs.  Here’s what we do know. The Idaho Shag (also known as the Pahsimeroi Fuzzy) originated in the eastern side of the Idaho, and while precise origins aren’t clear, the consensus is they are the result of crosses between Airedales, Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. This scruffy working dog with the frazzled hair is famous for its grit, stamina, versatility, biddability, hardiness in cold weather, and herding ability, but also for its hard headedness. Despite their average 40 pound weight, Shags don’t back down from the animals in their charge. In fact, at first, livestock don’t take them seriously.

At first.

A ram or stubborn steer dismisses a Shag at its own peril.  Typical Shag behavior is to let the beast take a sniff, but then grab it by the nose as a way to say, “Dude, you will respect me.”

The dogs are known to be used to tree bears or hunt coyotes, but they are also loyal family companions, as well. Indeed, Shag puppies listed on sites like Ranch World are snapped up almost immediately, such is their demand.Idaho Shag, Pahsimeroi Fuzzy

There are a couple of Facebook pages devoted to the dogs (here’s another one), but nothing so far has answered the question: Is this a “breed?” It is treated as one in a lot of places we looked, and there is a movement afoot to standardize the breed. Based on photos we’ve seen, there is some lack of uniformity to a trained dog eye that looks at things like the skull, muzzle length, ear and tail set, etc., and that may be due to owners “tinkering” with their dogs to create an even better working dog for their ranch. That said, there is an overall “look” to these dogs, and especially, there are working traits common to all of them.
We conclude with a question for our readers? Have you ever heard of the Idaho Shag, let alone meet one?
Image: Photo of an Idaho Shag appears with the kind permission of the owner and photographer, Kimberli Johnson

85 thoughts on “The Idaho Shag”

  1. We got a 3 yr old this winter for a pet. He is very smart, minds pretty good. We have 2 acres but I’m sure he would love the ranch life. Very loving & sweet & perfect markings. Name is Buckaroo……Buck for short.

    • Would like to know how much he weighs and will he get along with a Aussie that is 16 years young. We not sure if we wanted a puppy as he might be to active for our older dog. Max is layer back and his weight is 35 lb max. Looking for a companion as he will be living in house with us .

      • Our Buck weighs about 65 lbs. Very energetic, loving & stubborn. Does not like the school bus that stops across the street so we have to have him in when it comes & goes. Loves to ride in the car. Loves people & gets along with all the dogs he’s been around. Sweet dog & loves to herd me.

      • I was just at a gathering with a Shag pup of 11 weeks. She is amazing. Such great temperament, super sweet, affectionate and apparently loyal. The owner, a good friend, got the dog last night, and when she got up to leave tonight that pup was up and at her heel and followed her right out of the yard. Really nice dog.

    • Yes I just met Lars this morning. He is an 8 week old adorable little male pup. Very affectionate. Very smart for no older then what he is. He is black with white down the neck and part of his chest. White on one front paw at his toes and then the Very tip of his tail. He listens really well for 8 wks. Gets along with other dogs we have. He will be a nice addition to our friends family. But of course he will always be welcome here at our home anytime. We have a border collie and mini Australian Shepard. She is white and black Patches through out her body. So we call her Patches. We Love Her So Much! She is also so smart. She is a Daddys girl. She goes everywhere Dad does, except to work. She is amazing. She fits our family so well
      .

  2. My parents have a shag male, about 75 pounds, and he is a real character. Stubborn, but extremely friendly. I have a border collie female. Yes, nature has ran its course… twice. We actually kept two pups from the first batch. Good little cow dogs and good family dogs, though the female pup we kept can be a bit protective around strangers.

    These aren’t the kind of dogs you would leave locked up all day, but if you want a smart, friendly mutt with tons of character, a Shag certainly fits the description.

    • We love hearing from people who have actual experience with any of the breeds we discuss on our pages, Justin, so thank you very much for sharing your insight into your parents’dog.

  3. I have a male shelter dog “Ziggy” which is apparently an Idaho Shag… though I have also heard them called Snake River Fuzzy Faces”. He was picked up as a stray in the alleys of Idaho Falls, taken to a kill shelter, where his “time ran out”, and was in turn rescued by my local shelter Mountain Humane, where I was lucky enough to find him as about a one-year old. Seven years later, far away the best dog I have ever had. I work on wilderness trails all summer, he comes along, packing all his own food and bedding. Tough as nails, friendly with humans, no problems with pack stock, though not always friendly to other dogs. We’re almost constantly together, but his border collie-ness can emerge if he doesn’t get heaps of exercise. Fortunately we hike or nordic ski nearly every day.

  4. We just picked up our first Shag dog. We have had Aussie’s in the past and love herd dogs. We had the opportunity to get this pup kind of out of the blue as we had just lost one of our dogs all of a sudden to a throat tumor. He is now 5 months old and starting to get into the habits of the house. We do not have cattle but we live on an acre lot and spend a lot of time with our horses riding the mountains. We usually take our dogs. I can vouch for the athletic abilities of these dogs. He is a jumper and can almost get on the countertop. He is an inside dog so we are working on manners now. Our dog loves people, other dogs and even our cats. If we can teach him not to herd the chickens we are set.

    • From what we’ve heard, it won’t be long before he can not only herd the chickens, but stuff pillows with their down AND make chicken fricassee when their time comes.

  5. We have 5 between my husband, myself, and our son. My husband runs a ranch so they are working dogs. I help out so mine works but then hangs out with me during the week as I teach in a different town. My son helps his dad but also day works for other places. We have had lots of types of working dogs but we are sold on our shags. They are very loyal to their owner. Love working but also love to just hang out with their people. Awesome dogs. Here are 4 of them guarding the kitchen.

  6. Yes, I have one. I call him Wild Willie the Hillbilly! We have cattle and oh boy is he ever the right boy for that! He is as excellent as a guard dog as he is a cattle dog. Approximately 40 to 45 lbs.

  7. We’ve got two shags and they have been the absolute best dogs. Smart, sometimes too smart for their own good. Tough, gritty, and great cow dogs but also the best family dogs you’ll ever find. After having mine, I will never own another breed.

    • The one in the car looks like a real character, and we have a feeling that the pair keep you busy!

        • Tim, we’ve never gotten our hands on a Shag, but we’d love to. Perhaps one of our readers who owns one can answer this?

        • Most are soft and shaggy however some come out as a “slicky” with shorter wiry hair.
          Madison is our oldest at 5 and about 38 lbs. Scout is a year and a half about 48 lbs and Drake the youngrst at a year is 60 lb. He is the shorthaired wiry one on the table. They all had different parents. One from Montana, one from Wyoming and one from Isaho.

        • I have a female Idaho shag – her hair is soft – but I also brush her daily – it’s not wirey – I was worried about that – I never heard of the Idaho shag until I got one – just saw her as a puppy in a litter on fb and now she’s here – most have tails cropped but mine has a big fluffy tail!

          • What is the color of your dog called? I love this color.

        • Depends on what characteristics yours ends up having. Mine is a smooth shag so her coat feels like a border collie coat. Both her parents are wiry.

  8. Just adopted an Idaho shag/lab mix.

    His mom is a full bred Idaho shag – weighing about 45 lbs. The breeder said they are extremely loyal and stick like Velcro to their favorite human. They are an intellectual breed and made for ranch/farm life!

    • Thanks for the picture and comment, Libby, darling dog!

    • Hi Libby,

      I’m curious where you got a shag/lab mix. We’ve been on the lookout for that mix with no luck.

      • I just got one in Cody WY. Beautiful pups. Three are left.

  9. We’ve had two, first one was the best dog ever. They’re very loyal and are very protective of their people and property. Here’s a photo of Cashew, RIP.

    • Second photo is of Newt who’s mom was a Border Collie and dad looked very similar to Cashew. Newt is coming along, likes to herd (people) and is very playful, he’s about 18 months old now and was ‘fired’ from a dairy in Bliss as he’s not much of a working dog, he prefers playing.

  10. I adopted a retired Idaho Shag/Border Collie from a ranch in Wyoming. He is a wonderful addition to my family. Tapps is extremely smart and behaves well indoors, especially considering he was an outside dog his entire life. He still herds a little when the spirit moves him; mostly our horses.
    He has acclimated well to being an indoor dog, but does need substantial outdoor time. When he goes outside he will run around my 20 acres for about an hour without a second thought.

  11. Boise is my shag from the Hot Lava Springs area, but resides with me in central Ohio. He gets all kinds of looks, free pets, and friendly faces inquiring about his breed. He stands out in a great way here and easily drums up excitement.

    He’s all gas and no brakes. He loves playing in the yard, going on lengthy hikes, and playing with any other pets and friends in the family. He’s passionate about harassing squirrels and rabbits on our property. It’s true that these dogs are incredibly smart and loyal. Most importantly, I’ve found that he’s perpetually happy. I love that about him.

    11/10, would recommend!

    • We love hearing from actual owners, Kelly, they are the real authorities on a breed. Thanks for sharing Boise’s photo!

  12. They’re mutts, from those breeders I’ve spoken to They’re a cross od Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, and terrier. BCs and Aussies have very different temperaments, and both have very different temperaments from terrier breeds. Why mix a strong prey drive in with the herding instinct?

    • Airedale , they don’t have a particularly strong prey drive, they don’t freak out when a squirrel is on a fence and . And arnt as manic as Aussies. We replaced our Aussie with a shag and he is a much better people dog.

    • Because they don’t have a strong prey drive. They have a strong HERDING drive, but the Airedale gives them a “pause” button so that when they are done working, they actually relax.

  13. We unknowingly became the owners of an Idaho Shag. I think there a breed about as much as the doodle, however they seem to be more of a working dog than any doodle I’ve seen. Our dog was high drive and probably would have made a great working dog, I started her in agility. She was nuts and very smart and more than I had time for. I placed her in a 4h home and they love her

    • Helpful comment, Amy, thank for your sharing your insights and the photo!

  14. We have an 18 month Idaho Shag that we absolutely adore! Daisy is extremely intelligent, loyal, well behaved, patient, friendly, and loves people and other dogs of all sizes. She even gets along well with our friend’s cats! She’s a wonderful family companion! She has taken on the job of herding our cat, and boy does she take her job seriously! She’s very attentive to the cat but never aggressive. Daisy is always ready for a walk, car ride, hike, or a swim, but also is very calm and well behaved in the house. I’ve had dogs all my life (mostly purebreds) and I’d get an Idaho Shag again in a heartbeat!

  15. Toughest puppy we ever had, way smarter than we were, but now, the best and most fun dog ever! He is ready to go always and is a lover. Super athletic, a great guard dog, and is a hard worker…he LOVES attention and will make sure you give it to him. Herds anyone or thing that will let him, but without nipping :). Loves to get new toys!

    • He looks like a really fun dog, Holly, and we appreciate your comment. There’s nothing like hearing from people who live with a breed.

      • I adopted an Idaho Shag, Clarence, and he’s the best ski dog/backpacking/adventure companion I’ve had (besides my blue heeler)! He’s a “failed” ranching dog because of his “too-sweet disposition”. Love this boy, hope to see more shags around in the future!

  16. Have one…Lucy. Got her as a rescue but for the life of me can’t figure out why she was given up. Full of energy…never stops. Loves to be loved. Herds not only our lab/husky but us too at times.

  17. Here’s our girl, Rain. She’s about 5 months old and is very intelligent. We have two pet KuneKune that she’s always trying to herd, but only if I yell at them to get out of my garden or anytime I have to force them into their pen for the night. She gets along with them any other time. She loves our family, and is a little leary of new people, but warms up quick. She’s definitely a water dog, loves to fetch, hates bedtime and is ALWAYS happy. She has white wispy, fuzzy fur with a gray undercoat, and those little bits of hair covering each eye. She’s also all legs! They’re SO long!

  18. We got convinced we needed an Idaho Shag by an owner of one. I’ve raised dogs all my life (I’m 64), and I’ve never seen such an intelligent dog! He responds well to praise. He wants to be with my husband and I all the time. He was housebroken in a few days. He has learned to sit by us on the 4-wheeler. Sam is learning to interact with our sheep, loves our cats and our big Swissy Saint. We did need him!

  19. This is Oakley, our Idaho Shag/Mini-Aussie. She’s 2yrs old, 48lbs and the LIFE of EVERY party! We
    rescued her from a high school girl in Preston, Idaho whose idiot BIL threatened to shoot the dog for “herding” little kids. She LOVES her pack (my husband and me), hikes miles & miles w/ me in the Utah mountains and is RELENTLESS with demanding games of Chuck-It! 🤣 We LOVE her ❤️🐾

  20. Just another photo of Oakley, our 2yr old, female Idaho Shag/Mini-Aussie. LOVE HER! 🥰🐾

  21. We adopted two 7 month old Idaho Shag puppies from our son in Montana.. The boy is “Hoss” and the girl is “Kandi”. They have transitioned beautifully from Montana farm life to living in a planned community in Texas. They are happy to run and equally happy to hang out. They don’t shed much, they are incredibly intelligent, easy to train and well behaved. Everyone who meets them is instantly in love. He is currently about 40 lbs and she’s around 35lbs. Unfortunately Hoss lost a leg in a farm accident but he doesn’t seem to be limited at all aside from the not being able to take long walks, he can definitely sprint around the yard like a four legged dog when his sister has something he wants. We can’t recommend this breed enough, they are truly amazing and the perfect addition to our family

  22. They are very much a breed. These dogs have been a well kept secret amongst rancher until recently. These are our two Shags….Cowgirl who is a Airedale, Australian Shepard/Old English Sheep dog mix…Shaggy is an Airedale, Border Collie, McNab mix. They are super smart dogs, Loyal to the core.

  23. Best “Mutt” we’ve ever owned. Intelligent, hard working, and a drive like no other. These dogs may be a Mutt to some but to us they are Family. They can go from working cows to lazy bed dogs all in the same day. To us the dogs are priceless. So as long as people keep thinking of them as Mutts that’s good news for us, and the dogs because they will stay with the type of folks who truly understand the dogs.

  24. Cookies and Cream came to live with us at 11 weeks. Ride home 6 hours in car like a champ. In the next two weeks we flew commercial air to 3 different states, played on grandmas farm – extremely loyal follow you no leash. Back in airplane and walked through airport like a pro. Off to horse ranch and acted like she had lived their her whole life. Extremely smart, active, friendly, loyal, and shaggy! Does not shed. She should be 30-35 pounds She is airdale/Aussie x Aussie/border collie. So far best dog I’ve had

    • Omg, be still my heart! What an adorable little pupper. You are soooo lucky. Enjoy your fur baby.🤗

  25. My Girl Sparrow. The hardest and most rewarding rescue of my life. She is 38lbs, the smartest and most athletic dog I have ever seen. Once we convinced her no one was going to hurt her ever again she became the sweetest thing. She will fetch, hike, and bike non stop for days if you let her. With training she is excellent with farm/ ranch life. Curious about everything while watching for directions from me on what her job in each moment. Next time I rescue an Idaho Shag I know what I’m getting into. Worth every bit of training and heart ache.

  26. I just adopted one of these about a week ago… I was told he was an Airedale, Border Collie cross.. Looked up the combo and found it was called an Idaho Shag (does not surprise me to find it here as I live in Washington near the Idaho Border) . My thoughts on the breed so far, Someone crossed dynamite with C4 and thought it was good idea. The dog I have is named Loki and he certainly lives up to his name. He is a 1 year old male, still in puppy mode (and probably will be for a long time) recently neutered and NEVER stops or slows down while he is awake. He sees ghosts, or hoodoos or whatever, and barks at things that are not there. He has an imagination (weird for a dog) and sees faces in things, He barks at paper bags that look like a face, barks at dogs on TV, barks at the terracotta sun face on my mother’s kitchen wall. He needs to herd motion, He nips at anything that moves in circular motion like the pedals on the exercycle, and continually tries to get at the ceiling fan. It isn’t all bad he is a really loving dog, he wants to be with people all the time, He is very happy all the time. I knew I was getting an active dog, I have had borders in the past and figured this would be similar, no, this is border collie on meth.. I like the dog, just wish he would calm down a bit, and the exercise him till he is tired doesn’t work.. he ran circles around the outside my house for over an hour at full speed and was still on full throttle. at least he is starting to sleep at night, but crap this dog has a lot of GO… I hope coming weeks will help him settle as he will probably kill me from fatigue, just watching him wears me out.

    • Hal, if you’re not writing professionally, you should be. Your description is so vivid, which is to say that we chuckled through most of it. It should be required reading for anyone considering the breed for themselves because it’s a disservice to both dog and owner not to be prepared. You didn’t ask for advice, but have you considered getting your Shag something to tire him out? Our first thought was a perpetual motion machine, which of course doesn’t exist because of the whole violation of thermodynamics laws thing…but a giant hamster wheel?

  27. I beg to differ with your assertation that perpetual motion can not exist, it’s name is Loki!

    (this is my second attempt at a reply as Loki stepped on my keyboard just as I was about to post this the last time and refreshed the page undoing about 35 minutes of typing and editing)

    Some background information….

    I live in the woods on top of a mountain on 60 acres, I have the god of chaos and two other dogs, a bunch of chickens, wife and 3 young adult sons, and a princess of a cat.

    I have really been hoping that my other young male dog (a Rustralian Terrier 1.5 years old named Wally) would help keep Loki in check, this kind of works to an extent as Loki was circling my house, Wally would run back and forth across the back yard to catch him as he would complete his orbit. Wally does not understand how to play (he was a stray and I doubt well socialized) whereas Loki only understands play. Every time Loki would come around he house Wally would attack him and chase him. This went on till Wally wore out. Loki continued.

    Wally and Loki are both young and full of piss and vinegar, but Wally is somewhat aggressive and dominant, whereas Loki is somewhat submissive. Wally will pick fights with Loki and he always wins (yes a little 15 lb. dog can take down a 50ish lb. definition of hyper). Loki just has more go than Wally. This still does not quell Loki’s endless energy. All Loki ever wants to do is play, he loves to fetch, play with toys, and tug of war with a rope.

    I am just hoping things calm down enough to have a full night’s sleep. Loki likes to bark at 3:00 AM when he hears one of the boys snore too loudly. This makes Loki an excellent watch dog, as he will notify us if the cat leaves my son’s room, or Tinkrtbell (the third dog, a twelve year old YoYoPoo who wants little to nothing to do with these idiots, she is a sweet lil ol’ lady) makes a noise, or a random housefly decides to buzz the room.

    As previously stated, it is not all bad. He loves to go for rides in the car. He typically curls up in the back seat and enjoys the ride, unless you use the windshield wipers. If you use the wipers he will lunge into the front seat and bark/growl at them and try to get at them through the glass. So really he is a good car dog on a sunny day.

    Loki pretty much ignores my chickens, he is far more interested in us or the other dogs, or the cat, or the spider crawling across the roof, or the deer or whatever… He has a tendency to stare at the cat who kind of hisses and growls at him, until he pokes his nose at it and has it (his nose) removed by a couple of quick swipes by the cat, he then cries and retreats to another room while the cat hides. He has done this a few times and it never ends well for him, I hope he learns. SQUIRREL!!!!

    He can’t be left alone, he whines, cries and barks whenever you leave him. I typically take my dogs wherever I go, In places I cant take them inside, they stay in the car fairly peacefully (Some barking at the strangers in the parking lot), but some stores allow dogs, especially Home Depot, or North 40 (ranch store like tractor supply) or Harbor Freight Tools, the little dogs ride in a cart, while the big one walks alongside and sometimes jumps into the cart. They gets lots of attention and the employees dote over them (COOKIES!!!).

    I now believe that the people who gave me Loki kind of sugar coated him, I was told that he had two weeks of obedience training and knew at least 10 commands (which is true for a few seconds before continuing with the whole perpetual motion thing) and that he was a fantastic dog. I agree he is a fun loving dog who loves to cuddle (and jump over us in the bed, Oh the bruises!) and is in never ending play mood (right now he is chewing on a ball while lying in bed). They gave him away because “we have small children in the house and he likes to herd them”. They went to Mexico to celebrate the day after I got him (go figure). I got Loki because the owner’s cousin called out to our neighborhood facebook group to see if anyone would like to take him, it was either me or the pound, and I never want to see a dog go to the pound, and I am a sucker for dogs, especially border collies. So being that I have had 13 dogs in my lifetime, and am not a DOGNOOB, I got this dog, I am not gonna give up on him unless it kills me, I have had and met other high energy dogs before (I had a job installing, and maintaining wired and wireless internet in rural areas and you meet a LOT of dogs), but nothing like this.

    I am hoping that when summer rolls around, I will be able to keep him outside during the day to burn off energy, Right now there are two feet of snow on the ground and it isn’t expected to get above freezing for a couple weeks, so I need to keep him inside as he has a fairly thin coat and I don’t want him to freeze (his pads and ?lips? are very pink from playing in the snow).

    No. I don’t write professionally, but I am a good story teller..

    Wish me Luck… I am gonna need it with this dog…. (and Wally to a lesser extent)

    • Hal, I have been reading your story about Loki and practically dying laughing! I got a 1-year old Idaho Shag from the Dillon, MT, shelter almost 3 years ago now – so who knows what he really is – but he has been such a great little WILD BOY! His name is Shaq and he does indeed live his life as large as if he was a NBA superstar, haha. He is curled up on the bed now, but he’s pretty much a non-stop play guy the rest of the time. He loves all people, is ridiculously good natured, smart, and stubborn, and will hike or chase balls and frisbees until he drops – also loves car rides anytime, to anywhere, as long as he gets to come along with his people. (And he also bites at the windshield wipers, what the heck with that?) He is almost 4 now and I am still exhausted some days by his energy but he actually is much more chill than when I first got him and is just the most loving and happy dog – so there’s hope on the horizon for Loki to settle down (a little…)! Hang in there with him, I bet you’ll all be so glad you did!

      • Loki created a new game… He now watches out the front windshield for oncoming traffic and “attacks” them as they pass… I do not like this new game…

      • Thanks, Things are getting better.. Read my new post below to see how it is going now.. They are fun dogs, but oh wow they are active….

  28. We were hoping you’d send photos of the canine cast of characters, Hal, and there they are. You paint a vivid picture (love the windshield wipers story) and we honestly can relate to most of them, though nothing like the wonder that is Loki. We once had a Cairn Terrier – “Mean ol’ Jessica” – who delighted at sitting in the back seat of a car in a parking lot while we were in the supermarket. When she heard a shopper approaching the car next to ours, she would hit the window with the force of a Category 5 hurricane and startle the life out of them. For a long time, we puzzled why there was always random grocery items strewn around our car until one day we hid behind another car and pieced it together. It’s always an adventure with these dogs, isn’t it? Thanks for writing, Hal, keep in touch?

  29. I took those pictures while lying in bed with the laptop, composing the last message.. It was as challenge to get them to slow down to capture an image… You have no idea how many times I was stepped on while typing that (I have no idea either as I lost count), and how many things I had to throw (as in fetch this empty water bottle) to get them off me.

    It is always an adventure…

    Btw your dog sounds fantastic! just think how much you saved by collecting other’s groceries that they left as a sacrifice to Jessica!

    I will post updates as my relationship with this dog matures.. I will have had Loki 2 weeks this coming Sunday (Dec 26)

    • We got our dog as a rescue in Oregon. She’d been living in an apartment then was surrendered back to the shelter at a year old. I had no idea what we were getting. Here was a unique weird looking dog with shaggie fur and boundless energy. My first thoughts were ‘oh shit…’ The first few months she pretty much ran constantly around our 5 acres. She created racing tracks to burn off her energy. I did get a shock collar just to be able to get her to stop running when I needed her to come with me. All it took was vibration or a beep and she was good. Chasing seagulls on the beach was one of the few things that would truly wear her out. She learned after one big wave almost sucked her out that pursuing the birds into the ocean was not smart. People would ask what kind of dog she was and the best reply – ‘she’s a good dog’.
      She came with issues with food and men, wouldn’t eat until we had gone to bed and she barked at my husband every time he walked through a door. She hates feet and hates her feet being touched. We have to watch her around small children as she would go into Kujo mode.
      She is now 7 and has mellowed. She only races on her tracks a couple of times a day, usually after her daily 3-mile walk in the desert. When I’m not working she goes everywhere with me and snaps at every car that passes though the windows. We came off a river trip where she’d been bitten by rattle snake that day and she still watched and snapped the whole way home.
      We got lucky and the dog got lucky as we live on property, have access to lots of walking and when we are working she runs across the yard to her Ooma’s house so she is rarely left alone.
      Shags are amazing dogs but I would hate to see them became mainstream because they are so cute. They are bred as working dogs and I think ours may have been happiest working but she has to settle for an active, outdoor life.

  30. Luna is an amazing Idaho Shag. Super smart, energetic, motivated, easily trained, incredibly agile and loyal.

      • We have raised Fuzzy Shags in Colorado for 6 years now. They are amazing cattle dogs. Although, most relocate to working ranches, some have become services dogs, even a narcotics dog, 4-H agility obiendience dogs and companion dogs. There are truly many shag mixes out there. We have strived to maintain the shag breed that is increasingly sought after by breeding two shags to preserve their appearance, but most of all the gritty intelligent protective companion they are known for. This proven working bloodline is bred back into our future pups. We are blessed to continue providing these working Shag’s to forever homes across the US. Although we have not DNA tested our Shags, they originated from working lines out Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Shags are a high energy breed and not for everyone, please remember that if one catches your eye. It is true once a person owns a shag, especially a working one, they very seldom go back to other breeds.

        • Where in Colorado? We ask because Colorado is the home of National Purebred Dog Day, and how fun would it be to do a livestream interview with a breeder?

  31. 5 months into this shag life. Wow. Smartest dog I’ve ever had. Hardest dog I ever had in the “making tired” department. She knows when it is 10:45 she had play date/ mile walk with neighbors dog. Routine is best and if we can keep that routine as a pup we are close to golden. Important to have a job. Since we don’t have animals just acreage we help in yard – keep Canadian geese out of yard and yet allow the beautiful wood ducks to come eat. Squirrels have no business in our yard and the moles are jerked out of the ground and dead with one snap.

    Cookie had never met a stranger and loves kids. Horses are her true love

    She doesn’t shed which is the main reason I picked her but also she grows hair faster than any other dog I’ve had. Get hair cut every 3 weeks.
    She’s a lover and protector. Best dog

    • We LOVE hearing from owners to get the real skinny of living with a breed. Thank you for commenting

  32. We have raised Fuzzy Shags in Colorado for 6 years now. They are amazing cattle dogs. Although, most relocate to working ranches, some have become services dogs, even a narcotics dog, 4-H agility obiendience dogs and companion dogs. There are truly many shag mixes out there. We have strived to maintain the shag breed that is increasingly sought after by breeding two shags to preserve their appearance, but most of all the gritty intelligent protective companion they are known for. This proven working bloodline is bred back into our future pups. We are blessed to continue providing these working Shag’s to forever homes across the US. Although we have not DNA tested our Shags, they originated from working lines out Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Shags are a high energy breed and not for everyone, please remember that if one catches your eye. It is true once a person owns a shag, especially a working one, they very seldom go back to other breeds.

  33. I’ve got an Idaho Shag. He came from an Idaho ranch and has all of the characteristic traits that a Shag should have; grit, heart, tenacity, loyalty, smarts and toughness.

  34. Well it has now been a little over 2 months with Loki the god of chaos. He has invented so many new games, these include “Lets catch the water that splashes in the bath!” “(while I am on a ride in the car) Lets attack the oncoming traffic as it passes” “Lets bang up the house by throwing a 5 gallon water bottle down the stairs repeatedly at 2:00AM” “KILL THE SNOW SHOVEL” “The Sled must pay! I must destroy it” “I will catch the little red dot that randomly appears while dad giggles, IT WILL BE MINE NO MATTER HOW OFTEN IT DISAPPEARS! (laser pointer)” “Lets run all the water out of the water tank (I live on well that feeds a tank up the hill) by running the water in the bath at full blast at 3AM while the humans sleep”….. You get the idea… He has settled in now and is better behaved. This required an Rainforest Website order of a 2 dog training collar. The collar only has to beep to get him to stop whatever it is that he is doing (previous owners pumped a lotta voltage through this dog) it is so ingrained into his head that all I have to do to slow him down is say “beep beep” and he just drops to submissive.. I used the other collar on Wally who has no training (doesn’t comprehend the command “sit”) and is too growly at poor Loki. Wally is the great instigator in many dog fights (so strange for a little dog against a big one) and needs a little suggestion as to which way he should behave. I only have to use the vibrate mode to get him to cooperate, he twitches and stops growling and behaving like a little @$$#0!e. Big win without having to zap him. The only time either of them have been zapped by me is when there is a big knockdown drag out fight going on and a little zip from the collar reminds them there is some form of god that can smite them at a moment’s notice (they have no idea I did it).

    So on to this week’s news about Loki… The games have stopped (or at least slowed to a crawl) all of a sudden.. He has a new toy to occupy his vast intelligence! So… I came home Wednesday from a trip into town (which I left Loki with my mother at her house, next door to mine) and she had let Loki outside to be Loki somewhere else and as I approached the house, there was a legendary (in my neighborhood) dog walking down the driveway.. Loki saw him and charged! Their noses met, their tails raised, their butts sniffed and the game was on! 4 hours of non stop dog wrestling, pure puppy play and it did not stop even when it was time to go inside. The temperature was about 11F outside and the sun had descended below the horizon, I called Loki to come in and he eventually did with his new friend in tow. I had read about this legendary dog, so I knew his name, I called him inside to get out of the cold. This dog is Buddy the wandering Borador.. I had been reading many posts about him on the FB neighborhood group for our (RURAL) area and the photos came from several neighbors, “Is someone missing a dog?” “This dog just showed up on our porch, he is a sweetheart but doesn’t belong here”. His owner lives on the other side of our mountain, and Buddy took a walk. His owner had mentioned in the FB posts that he is bored and I really need to find him a new home where he will be happy, he has no one to play with and I don’t have the time to attend to him. SO…. I contacted his owner and she very happily agreed to hand me the reigns of her 15 month old, neutered Borador (Loki is 14 months old).. She left me all his paperwork in my mailbox and thanked me for giving him a new friend and a good dog place. So it has been 5 days with Buddy and Loki. They wear each other out, constant play while they are awake.. They play grab ass in the yard for hours. Loki still likes the bath, and his bottle and other games, but it has really calmed down. Buddy is also high strung but is regulated by Loki. Buddy wandered once and was brought back by a neighbor, but this will be resolved soon. There have been a few food skirmishes (Buddy doesn’t share yet) but nothing I cannot handle. Wally is less than thrilled, but only shows aggression toward Loki, he wants a fight but the weird mind numbing shaking that comes from his neck whenever he gets growly seems to calm him down very quickly. Buddy is fairly undisciplined. I have ordered the 3 dog persuasion collar from the Rainforest Website. He does not come back when called and generally ignores commands. His owner left him outside all the time (with a warm place to sleep and get out of the cold) so being in the house is a foreign thing to him. That being said he has grooved into sleeping on my bed (more specifically sleeping on me) and loves to be cuddled. He is a very sweet dog. Loki is a good boy (except when he isn’t) and has stopped with the nipping and biting. Wally is still a sweet dog to me and has been finding somewhere to sleep near me as the bed is getting a bit crowded(glad I have a king size).

    So.. Loki is doing well, Buddy is settling in (somewhat) Wally is mostly behaving, and Tinkerbell still wants nothing to do with these young boys (though when there is a good skirmish going on she will still try to get her 2 cents in)… So for now I have 4 dogs, and am very happy to have a Buddy for Loki, he needed it.

    So that is all I have for now, It is still winter time, and summer will bring new adventures, I am feeling better about my decision to bring perpetual motion into the house.. I will keep the updates coming as time moves on!

    • Wonderful to get a Loki update, Hal, and with such good news! It’s an old adage that a tired dog is a good dog, you just have a dog for whom “tired” means “in-a-coma.” It sounds like a win/win all around, though we suspect Wally may not agree. Thank you for this latest installment, we know everyone looks forward to them!

  35. This has been fun to read through and look at everyone’s different Shag’s! I got Archie, my first shag about 8 months ago. He is about 1.5 years, weighs 45 lbs and is wired haired. Yes he does shed (although less than dogs I’ve had in the past) but his oily wire hair cleans itself so well when dry it’s well worth it. He is very smart, stubborn, and one of the most athletic dogs I’ve ever seen scrambling across big rocks with ease. He is a bit on the protective side (barks at strangers entering or house) but generally loves everyone he meets. Good with most dogs although plays rough and not all dogs like that. I can’t understand why he was at the shelter! We were told the more goofy and less driven ones end up at the shelter because they don’t do as well on the ranch. That seems fitting for him, he can be a bit of a doof. I would highly recommend these dogs if you can give them the exercise they need (which is a looooot).

    • Archie is a cutie! Thanks for sharing your experience, Emma!

  36. Please don’t standardize them, Lorna B. Demedoff ruined the Siberian Husky with poor new AKC specks for the breed and turned into something the weren’t. She turned a fast sleek dog into more of a malamute look as malamute think is what she thought a Husky should be. The were imported from Siberia for racing but you won’t find one in a racing dog team today.

  37. My wife and I were driving near Dillion Montana, when a dog ran across the freeway, Being a dog lover, in general, the next freeway off-ramp we went back to find the doggie. There she was sitting on the side of the freeway on an off-ramp. (I believe she was waiting for us) We stopped and she came right to us, put her in my truck we knew she was our girl. Went to the local vet in Dillion Montana, she was in rough shape, the vet said when might have been a bait dog, had multiply bites on her body and ears, got her cleaned and updated shots. Was told by the vet she is an Idaho Shaggy. My wife named her Abby, she is our princess. What a great dog, all the crap people have done to her, she still loves people. We adore our little girl. A very smart girl. She still limps the vet here in Spokane. The vet is working on resolving this issue. She was waiting for us and we were waiting for her.

    • Abby is lucky to have you, and what a wonderful account of how you found each other. Though her life was very sad until you came along, we suspect you have pushed it out of her memory bank with love and kindness. Fingers crossed she gets her limp figured out. Bless you for having turned around to claim her.

  38. Contact Dave Horgan I was told his family started the original breed of the shag they live in hammer idaho

  39. Just got a BEAUTIFUL Idaho Shag to foster for about 10 days. She is in training as a working dog for search and recovery and will most likely end up working in the 911 call centers, for fire and rescue. SHE IS AWESOME! SO SMART! Such a loving dog. I will be sad to see her go, but I know it is for the best. She DEFINITELY wants to work! <3

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