he lends 200 ewes for the Cussac sheepdog competition

Over the three days, there will indeed be 41 competitors who will have to perform different events against…

Over the three days, there will be 41 competitors who will have to perform different tests in front of a judge, with a dog and a flock of 20 ewes: a straight line similar to a road, control of the flock in the distance, course with obstacles… “We let’s lend our sheep because we know they take good care of them here. Michèle Pellegrino, shepherdess at Fort Médoc and organizer of the event, knows what a sheep is,” explains the breeder.

A daily job

Hervé Lemarchand also competes with three of his dogs, including two at the intermediate level on Saturday, and one at the highest level today. “Dogs are a bit like members of the family, it’s part of our genes”, sums up the breeder-shepherd. He hopes to reach the French championships. And the step is high because only 16 shepherds can be selected in all of France.

It is a daily job to educate these precious animals and bring them to such a level of obedience and cohesion. An activity that is lost in the Médoc, “land of vineyards and not of breeding, where it is difficult for newcomers to access land and settle”, according to Hervé Lemarchand, who still sees some enthusiasts officer on his lands.

The competitors parade in front of the judge and perform the various tests, accompanied by twenty sheep and their dog.



Thirteen dogs, but also nearly 350 ewes: this is what occupies most of the time of Hervé Lemarchand, breeder shepherd in Saint-Julien-Beychevelle in the Médoc. The 50-year-old, originally from Île-de-France, left his job in public works in 2013 and started a career change. He finally decides to settle in the South-West, where he has been living for four years now, to develop his activity as a shepherd breeder. A first part of his work consists of raising lambs, which he sells to producers’ shops or within the framework of Amap, a group of customers in agreement with local producers.

In a second phase, rather in winter, he worked as an independent for ten Médoc grand cru vineyards, such as Château Gruaud Larose. With the help of his herds and his dogs, he participates in the maintenance of the vineyards through eco-grazing.

The principle is simple: grazing maintains the crops outside the harvest period. It avoids the weeding of the soil which reduces the vigor of the yield of the vines. It smokes and fertilizes the earth with its droppings and prevents soil compaction, due to the absence of mechanical machinery. “It is an ecological alternative. We are going back to practices that existed a long time ago and that we abandoned with mechanization”, underlines the shepherd.

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