shepherd vs shepherdess in The NL

In Dutch, the definition of a ‘herder’ is a male shepherd. A shepherdess has been traditionally defined as the wife of a shepherd. She is not necessarily a shepherd.

In recent years, it’s great to see the profession opening up to women in The Netherlands and elsewhere. No longer seen as ‘the wife of’, these female shepherds (and not called shepherdesses)  are entrepreneurs in their own right. I met two female shepherds in Die, France, when walking with their sheep to mountain pastures, and recently in The Netherlands Ester Floor. One of two shepherds of Balloo is Marianne Duinkerken. And there are many more.

Recently in the news, Cailey Chase of Alberta, Canada has been given contracts to maintain Calgary’s city parks with her herd of goats.


cailey-chasephoto: Cailey Chase, photo by Anis Heydari of the CBC

weed-eating-goatsphoto: Calgary park with Cailey Chase’ goats, photo by Anis Heydari of CBC

Screen Shot 2018-10-16 at 17.20.34photo:Jeanette Hall, goat shepherd, Edmonton Alberta, taken as a screen shot from CBC The National, Oct 6, 2018 reportage. See link below

IMG_0190photo: Shepherds Ester and Werner Floor, The Netherlands, Cynthia Hathaway 2018.

And the main news channel of Canada called The National, featured Jeanette Hall and her goats maintaining the parks of Edmonton, Alberta. It’s a pilot project for three years, and a 100,000 Canadian dollar contract. And what is also exciting, is the creation of a new position in Edmonton’s city hall called ‘Goat Coordinator’, presently held by Joy LeCann. Great to see this city taking shepherdry seriously!

Good going Gals!

featured image: The Shepherdess by William- Adolphe Bourgereau, 1889





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