Shepherdess – a childhood dream

What does Claudia's dream job look like - with her sheep, her herding dogs & nature?!

For many people, the childhood experience often comes first when choosing a career. But sometimes the love of nature is just there. That’s the case with Claudia. At the age of 18, she gets her first pet – a male Labrador. Alongside her training as a tax clerk, she realizes her dream and works for a shepherd after office hours. Most importantly, her first sheep experience enthuses her. Being out in nature with them and the herding dogs in all weathers – Claudia knows this is my dream job.

What is the attraction of sheep?

Sheep are not only very useful animals in the cycle of biodiversity. Furthermore, they build a close relationship with their shepherds. Claudia experiences this in her apprenticeship and is hooked. In her early twenties she starts her own breeding with ten sheep.

“The East Prussian Skudde is a very old and robust livestock breed. My sheep live on pasture all year round. Even the lambs are outside from birth. Unfortunately, this breed is threatened with extinction. In the 1940s, very few animals survived in a zoo. They fell into oblivion at that time because they are very small and frugal. Therefore, they were not of interest for the meat industry. At that time sheep wool was imported from Australia. With my breeding I make an important contribution to the preservation of this breed.”

What is the most beautiful season with the sheep?

For Claudia, that’s the lambing season. From the beginning of April to June, she lives in a caravan directly on the meadow. To be with her sheep day and night is important to her. Sleep is scarce during this time, because it happens that the ewes do not accept their lambs. Then Claudia raises them with the bottle. One year she has eight ‘bottle-fed kids’. Surely it is an exhausting time, but the bond that develops during the first months is a wonderful reward. Even today, the ‘bottle-fed’ lambs are the first to rush up to Claudia when she enters the pasture.

Claudia’s sheep and their personalities

“Every sheep gets a name from me after birth. I started with names of sweets like Twix, Oreo, Snickers, Rafaello and Campino. Now I also use beverage names like Ginger Ale, Bitter Lemon, Ramazotti or Ovaltine.”

As varied as the names is the appearance of this breed of sheep. There are phenotypic wool colorations in white, brown, beige, gray, black, pied or even tri-color. Sometimes the wool is curly or even smooth. Some female East Prussian Skudds have horns others do not. They are a special breed and always enthuse Claudia.

The start as a shepherdess – what does it take?

Claudia works her way up to her flock and her sheep farm. As a tax clerk she first creates the financial basis and starts with her 10 animals on a leased meadow. sheep by sheep she buys in addition suitable East Prussian Skudden and now owns almost 100 sheep.  Support comes from her husband and family, who also build the mobile stable house for her sick animals.

“The fulfilling work with my animals also means many sleepless nights and no vacation. There is no substitute for my work assignment. Every day my sheep have to be looked after in the various pastures. If there is an emergency, I might have to make a difficult decision. I cannot and do not want to hand over this responsibility. At the end of winter after many hours of work outside in the dark and cold, yes – my energy is down. But then comes lambing season and everything is forgotten again.”

What are the training courses for a shepherdess?

Since her first experience as a trial shepherdess, Claudia achieves various qualifications and trainings. There is no standing still for her. With her training course as a shearer, she also takes care of her sheep wool in late spring selling the beautiful fleeces to people who appreciate the qualities of this natural material. Skilled artisans create Vegan felted skins or card the raw wool, than spin and knit the wool into unique clothing items

“The sheep shearing week is always super exhausting. But the sheep need this so that their wool doesn’t get matted. A buyer once knitted me a pair of gloves. Even in snow and sub-zero temperatures, I always have warm hands when working in the pastures.”

With sheep, there are also some symptoms of illness that need to be treated immediately. Therefore, Claudia always has a small emergency kit in the car to directly treat injuries, colic, eye infections or wounds.

What is the relationship between sheep, shepherdess and herding dog?

Sheep breeding and shepherding also include herding dogs. Claudia searches and finds her ‘Working Kelpies’. Through her education as a dog trainer and her intensive work with the dogs, she is now a sought-after trainer. So other herding dogs learn from her how to watch and herd a flock of sheep and not chase passing bicyclists and cars. In her self-made ‘herding courses’ the dogs try out the basics they have learned from Claudia. Watching how well Claudia and her Phoebe steer the sheep in the meadow is very impressive. Claudia just whispers a word and Phoebe immediately brings back the little runaway lamb to the flock.

“The sheep shearing week is always super exhausting. But the sheep need this so that their wool doesn’t get matted. A buyer once knitted me a pair of gloves. Even in snow and sub-zero temperatures, I always have warm hands when working in the pastures.”

With sheep, there are also some symptoms of illness that need to be treated immediately. Therefore, Claudia always has a small emergency kit in the car to directly treat injuries, colic, eye infections or wounds.

What is the relationship between sheep, shepherdess and herding dog?

Sheep breeding and shepherding also include herding dogs. Claudia searches and finds her ‘Working Kelpies’. Through her education as a dog trainer and her intensive work with the dogs, she is now a sought-after trainer. So other herding dogs learn from her how to watch and herd a flock of sheep and not chase passing bicyclists and cars. In her self-made ‘herding courses’ the dogs try out the basics they have learned from Claudia. Watching how well Claudia and her Phoebe steer the sheep in the meadow is very impressive. Claudia just whispers a word and Phoebe immediately brings back the little runaway lamb to the flock.

“When I hear people yelling with their dogs, I always have to smile. Dogs hear much better than humans. Unfortunately, some owners don’t even have this basic knowledge. So many dogs run free without basic obedience. Therefore, I am not surprised that often strange dogs jump into my staked sheep meadows. But the tragedy is that sheep are skittish. They are often chased by these dogs in such a way that they run full of panic into the light electric mesh fence. As a result, they sometimes get caught in the mesh with their horns or legs. If I am not called immediately by the dog owners or authorities, I than have to retrieve a dead sheep from the destroyed fence mesh the next day. Of course, this hurts me a lot emotionally and it is also a heavy loss for me financially.”

How can I earn money with the sheep and shepherding?

Claudia is known as a breeder. However, she only sells her sheep to people who see her animals as an asset. She looks at how much space is available and what her sheep can do. Then she puts together a harmonious group knowing her animals and their peculiarities. Since September, five of her sheep have found a new home on a 2000 sqaure meter lawn of a residential house in nearby Belgium. In addition, she offers sheep sponsorships through a non-profit Nature organisation. Over the year Claudia shares her life with her sheep including a coffee & cake day on her farm – her special ‘thank you’ to the sponsors. Furthermore, she also offers workshops for kindergarten and school groups so that young children get to know her animals and her work.

What does the grazing by the sheep mean?

Sheep carry the seeds of many plants, they not only fertilize the soil, but also loosen it. Unfortunately, this landscape maintenance is not financially supported by the German government. The pasture owners hire Claudia to have their sheep ‘mow’ the meadow areas and fertilize them as well. Often enough, however, there is no payment for Claudia’s work. She has to drive her sheep with her livestock trailer to the pastures. Then, after 1-2 weeks she moves them on to the next meadow. There she again sets up her portable solar panels for the protective electric fence. Every day she drives to the different pastures and checks her sheep, the fence, the shelters, salt tubs and water troughs.

How is private shepherding supported in Germany?

The agriculture department regards shepherding and the preservation of a dying breed of livestock as a private pleasure, a ‘hobby’. But there are many regulations to follow up in Germany. Official papers have to be filled in when selling livestock. And of course, stud books have to be managed in a compliant way and newly changed regulations have to be studies. Unfortunately, Claudia’s county does not offer a bonus for each new dam, like in other German states.

So why is Claudia still so enthusiastic about her strenuous work?

Certainly, there is a unique bond between her and her animals which Claudia experiences every day. In the cycle of nature, she observers what her sheep contribute to the needed nature conservation. If you also like to experience Phoebe at work with ‘Twix’, ‘Cornetto’ or ‘Ginger Ale’, then take on a sheep sponsorship. As part of the sponsor community, Claudia will show you all facets of her shepherding. Maybe then you’ll understand why Claudia doesn’t need a vacation and what it means to be out in nature with your animals.

Name: Claudia Lausberg


She is: Shepardess, Sheep breeder, sheep shearer, Professional dog trainer


To be found: between the city of Aachen and Cologne, close to the Neatherlands and Belgium, 

She likes: her morning routine “I let the dogs out and then I take a mug of coffee to check on my sheep”

“I don’t have a favorite travel destination, but I would love to go to Australia and experience farm life there.”


She admires: “My grandmother! She was always in a good mood and very empathetic. She always took care of her children and grandchildren – no matter in what life situations or times of crisis.”


Her WIASOLA tip: “Women can do everything; you just have to believe in yourself and just go for it!”


Her 5 favorite songs:

  •  Cassandra Steen ‘Stadt’
  • Sarah Conner ‚Wie schön du bist‘
  • Sarah Conner ‚Bonnie & Clyde‘
  • Xavier Naidoo  ‚Was wir alleine nicht schaffen‘
  • SOPHIA  ‚Schmetterling‘ 

To be found under:

Claudia Lausberg
Schäferei
Sheep Farm Come By
Hauptstrasse,  52146 Würselen 

Do you want to sign up for a sheep sponsership?

Here you find a film about Claudia and other shepards 

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