Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

There are three kinds of people in the world: “wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs.” The sheep who go about their business, the wolf who feeds on the sheep, and the sheepdog who protects the flock.

The origins of the sheepdog analogy comes from Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman’s book,

On Combat

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman credits an “old war veteran” with first telling him about wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs. Like a parable or fable, it helps us understand reality.

The Sheep

“Most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.”

Most have no capacity for violence. You might say that most are peaceful (although most have not been truly ‘tested’).

The conflicts and ethical dilemmas that most people regularly face rarely rise to the level of life and death, good versus evil. Mostly, the sheep deal with challenges that are more annoyances than true crises. And when faced with conflict, they generally try to do the right thing, avoid making waves.

The sheep largely move about with those who are like them, and do as others do. They are content to subsist in a predictable and routine sphere. As they live and graze, they cannot envision anything disrupting their peace or routine, and imagine that each day will proceed like the last.

The Wolf

“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.”

If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. 

Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

They are the the predators. The criminals. The ‘bad’ element. There are evil men (and yes, women) in this world, and they are capable of evil deeds. The wolf will prey and feed on the sheep without mercy. They have a capacity for violence and no empathy. They are aggressive sociopaths.

The Sheepdog

Then there are the sheepdogs. They live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.

The sheepdog looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog is not intent on harming the sheep. Instead, the sheepdog will protect the flock.

The sheepdog is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night.

A sheepdog, a warrior, often walks the un-sheltered path, and will confront the wolf.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog, and they pretend that the wolf will never come.

Some people may be destined to be sheep while others might be genetically disposed to be wolves or sheepdogs.

[ Read: Don’t Ever, Never, Trust The Scorpion ]


  1. i try to be a sheepdog for my family and neighbors but i identify with the wolves. God put sheep here to be eaten.
    right or wrong, good or bad, it’s just how am.
    natural selection; The process in nature by which, according to Darwin’s theory of evolution, organisms that are better adapted to their environment tend to survive longer and transmit more of their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations than do those that are less well adapted.
    WOOF : )

  2. I believe there is one more player that was not mentioned.

    The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep or cattle, leading them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared.

    Kind of like RINO’s in Government working against the Constitution.

    1. hermit us,
      in the Bible it’s referred to as the False Prophet, in Revelations.
      Question everything and make your own judgments.

  3. The past two years of Covid mandates, control, hysteria and lies have shown there are a lot more sheep and wolves than sheepdogs. The real problem comes when the sheep start believing the wolves are their friends then support and demand that the wolves destroy the sheepdogs.

    1. Sheep dogs are too much effort to hunt and track down and they fight back. I think the wolves are happy enough eating the sheep. “Let them eat sheep”. I’ll hide and watch. Maybe eat a sheep here and there myself, and maybe the occasional wolf. They make great coats. :-)

      1. LMAO… “Let them eat sheep.” Agree 100%. I would add that there is one other variant. The fox. The fox observes. The fox is cunning. And the fox always carries a spare mag.

  4. Too many sheep and wolves and not enough sheepdogs. I never thought I would see this country in this sad shape in my life time. There is a big for sale sign for everyone to see.

  5. SS,
    yea, i would be scared of them coming after me with a sharp stick, a pizza box or a sharpened starbucks cup.
    it wouldn’t end well for them

    1. – – When I was in the Army, a lot of hot air and wastepaper were involved in a new concept called “Combat Lifesavers”, regular troops pressed into service as field medics. Medics thought this was great, because it got them out of going into the field for training exercises. People who had to deal with the injured regardless, referred to the fact that “Combat Lifesavers” only came in one flavor, and that was *cherry*.

      – Newly declared wolves, former sheep, will *not* be particularly effective, and will become casualties and have their goods shared out between the true wolves and sheepdogs, depending on who is there first. Just be aware.

      – – Papa S.

    2. nyscout: thats hilarious, i can just see someone coming at me with their starbucks cup.

      1. Dad gave me a demonstration once. It was in terms of the stupid restrictions on airlines when they forced people to stop carrying pens and so on, and he said he could kill someone with a paperclip or the page of a book.

  6. Many species of animals have turned feral and dangerous when the survival instinct kicks in – hogs, dogs, cats, …. perhaps sheeple will be no different. Hundreds in a pack will be a problem.

    1. hermit us,
      i guess it depends on where you live and the population density.

  7. Never forget that there is the shepherd. Think Schwab. He is back there overseeing it all.

    1. Les? Charles? Helen? A few Schwabs but maybe I missed one and am confused.

  8. It was Klaus Schwab who said,”You will own nothing and be happy.” He is a leader in The New World Order and he said it at the World Economic Forum in Davis, Switzerland.

  9. The older I get, the meaner this sheepdog becomes. I sleep less and watch more. Don’t anyone come after me and mine.

      1. Yeah. Badgers are solitary critters, avoid others, crawl into their den to escape trouble. But boy howdy, if you ever try to cross one or dig it out of its den.

        1. I let them alone here on the farm. They eat skunks and snakes and bugs. I respect their attitude though, just want to be left alone.

  10. I suspect this topic will bring a lot of comments. I suspect many won’t give it the thought it deserves. I suspect many will classify themselves as “sheepdog”…when in fact they are sheep that grew a backbone out of necessity, finding there are no sheepdogs around.

    What if a true “sheepdog” is more related to a “wolf” than to the flock it protects…which it really is? The only difference is motivation and desire. Either could easily slaughter the sheep.

    I believe it’s in the DNA…a deep-seated sense of right and wrong, a revulsion for bullies and anyone taking advantage weaker folks, a need to run in packs for courage and strength …triggers an instinct to stand up a protect.

    If you have that DNA…that instinct…you better prepare yourself, train…’cause you’re going be in fights…fights you are able to win…’cause those types of fights, if you lose…good people die.

    1. I think you’re correct. Some are inherently sheepdogs for whom situational ethics is like fingernails on the chalkboard. There’s people who reflexively defend, not just themselves, but others even at great cost to themselves.

      1. MamaLark,

        Occasionally we see a news story of a passerby coming to the aid of a police officer under attack…saving them from a beating or worse…I would call that person a wolf dog. You have to wonder how many folks who identify themselves as wolf dogs drove by before a real wolf dog, driven by instinct, put their life on the line.

        Stephen Willeford, a true sheep dog, did not hesitate when he was told of shots being fired inside the church near his home in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Without thinking of his own safety, he armed himself and went to do whatever he could to stop the attack on his friends and neighbors. He was a plumber by trade, didn’t think of himself as anything special…a regular guy who enjoyed training with firearms. He had skills, never intending to use them against a fellow human…until his instincts were put to the test. Barefooted, he grabbed a rifle and ran to their aid.

    2. Dennis, When beloved offspring was an infant a colleague asked me what would happen if someone hurt my child. I said I’d kill him. He said that was the correct answer. He was a new father at the same time I was a new mother. I like to live peaceably. However, I became quite familiar with what I called the feral mother syndrome. I think we’re beginning to see a lot of this as parents are fighting to free their children from state-imposed brainwashing and masking. Folks are realizing there is an option to being viewed as prey.

  11. Assume everyone is a wolf (including those you know) and NEVER, EVER underestimate a sheep.

    1. Yes some have horns and very hard heads. Think of those up in the mountains who can also walk on very narrow rocky paths.

    2. From the Merck Veterinary Manual: “Sheep are a prey species, and their only defense is to flee. … Flock dynamics are apparent in groups of four or more as evidenced by willingness to follow a leader or flee in unison. Separation from the flock can cause stress and panic. Isolation from other sheep can cause severe stress and should be avoided. Mirrors can be used in the absence of other sheep. Sheep are likely to be more intelligent than generally regarded. They respond readily to food calls, may problem solve, learn their names, carry packs, and can even be clicker trained.” Hmmm… sounds like a lot of humans I know! I guess for humans, Insta and FB take the place of mirrors, right? Will have to keep in mind the “clicker training.” Just some humor / reality?? for the day ….

    3. That number one in war never underestimate your enemy. USMC RETRIED

  12. I wonder about the self-proclaimed sheepdog who said “I don’t need food storage. I have my guns, if I need food I’ll come get yours.”

    If braced on it I’m sure he would say he was joking. I’m sure he would never consider himself a wolf, but just the fact that he said it indicates he had thought it. Probably a wolf, given the right incentive.

    Then there’s the story of Lambert the Sheepish Lion, who was raised as a sheep, thought he was a sheep–until a wolf attacked the sheep and he found out otherwise.

    1. Lauren,
      One of the hardest parts of a true SHTF will be finding out those that we thought were good and strong were really weak and evil. Last year I had someone I thought was a friend and had trusted for years only to find he was a self-centered fraud so I kicked him to the curb as I do not associate with anyone I can’t trust. I’m glad I found out how he really is before I got into a situation where I needed to rely on him. Trying times will put many friendships and families to the test and unfortunately many will fail and disappointment will be in abundance.

      1. Unfortunately some of those will be family members. We have an advantage with family members (in an odd way) because we can see them for what they are long before we have to rely on them. If we’re watching.

        1. Lauren,
          Very true. Unfortunately we have several family members we don’t trust for one second. They’re not welcome at our house right now and would be considered a threat and treated as such if they showed up. Blood may be thicker than water but it can also be more poisonous.

    2. “I wonder about the self-proclaimed sheepdog who said “I don’t need food storage. I have my guns, if I need food I’ll come get yours.””

      Then they are a wolf!!!

    3. Lauren, Had very similar thought. Have known someone who said he didn’t need much in the way of food preps because he had lots of ammo. He meant it. Was truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  13. “If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.” Lt. Col. Grossman

    “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” Alexander the Great

  14. I was raised by sheep to be a sheep just like my parents. I left college to go to police academy not knowing if I had it in me to do the right thing when the moment presented itself.

    Within a few years I discovered that there are wolves that wear the uniform and carry the badge and gun. If they did not exist, there would be no such thing as internal affairs within police agencies. The wolves within a department tend to not last long because they get sniffed out pretty quick. I tried my best to be an honest cop for the years I did that job. After my first OIS (Officer Involved Shooting) I was thinking about quitting but some folks within my department met with me during my time on the beach and encouraged me to stay on. I had a short, violent career in Southern Ca. law enforcement. When I turned in my badge and gun for the last time, I was offered and called for lots of private security work.

    Despite my efforts to convert back into a sheep or to don sheep’s clothing, I am a sheepdog whether I like it or not. I confront bad people and rogue animals either for a living or in my off time. I do not take advantage of the vulnerable and try to do the right thing because I know that God is watching me. ( the one, true shepherd). We are all tempted to take money from the scene of a drug bust, jewelry or valuables from a dead or injured person, To do so is not only illegal. It is what the wolf would do. To say that: “If times get bad I may do some things…” I interpret that as turning into a wolf. I’ve done the right thing in the past. I intend to keep doing the right thing in the future even if it gets me injured, shot or killed. Predators and meat eaters generally live short lives and die violent deaths in the wild. Predators that run with packs do somewhat better. I know my place within the community. There is no shortage of work for sheepdogs and I found out that I did not need to have a badge on my chest in order to have honor.

    1. Calirefugee,

      Don’t quite know what to say, except thank you. People like you will, I hope, keep other sheepdogs conscious of the biggest picture of all. He’s always watching, and there are no good reasons to become a wolf for a person of faith. Being the happy owner of a livestock guardian, I also know there’s a time to use the fangs and claws, not as a predator, but as a protector. Blessings to you and yours.

    2. The truth is at this time of humanity there is no totally evil human. Not yet.

  15. Humans are naked apes with great big brains. From my years of driving ambulance to working uniform patrol and doing some high risk police work (serving felony warrants), I have seen great acts of bravery: 1. Heroin addicts that pulled small children from the path of an oncoming truck. 2. Police officers that are found to be dirty after a long and successful career on “the job”. (see: Rampart division of LAPD: Major Crimes unit) 3. Cops wetting their pants hiding behind cover while being sniped at. 4. Parents running into the burning building to try saving their children. (not all of them lived)

    Good citizens can be capable of acts of extreme bravery as can “common criminals” with rap sheets that are 5+ pages in length. Meanwhile, those that are paid to protect and serve us can hesitate and not do what needs to be done at the critical time. Humans are complicated creatures capable of great acts of heroism as well as low acts of treachery. I do remember being yelled at my first police academy: “This is not the place for heroes. If you wanted to be a hero, you should have joined the Fire Department.” Funny I remember this 40 years later.

    1. Calirefugee,

      I laughed out loud at that first sentence. True, that.

      It’s amazing, isn’t it, how some people can surprise, in either direction. I’ve met many an ‘upstanding citizen’ I wouldn’t trust with my compost, and some supposed degenerates I’d trust in a real fight. Those who concern me most, are those who most loudly proclaim themselves to be sheepdogs. The sheepdogs I know, sleep during the day. They’re most active when night falls.

  16. Reply to Farmgirl: I guess the reason I posted 2x within an hour on this topic is: The label of sheepdog is earned or granted to you by others. Some have uniforms and badges along with their weapons. (but not all). For people to loudly proclaim themselves to be a sheepdog to me without my asking is poor form and I distrust them. Young people who are in Academy or are headed that way, I consider them to be untested. Old experienced guys that are kinda quiet and standoffish, we spot each other from across rooms, at parks walking our dogs, shopping for groceries. We are always looking around us without being obvious and we watch people and animals. Our hands are never or rarely within our pockets and we are good at spotting who is packing amongst us.

    Even among pack hunters, there is one type of true bad-ass: The rogues – the one that will not kill to eat or to feed their pack but they kill multiples because they enjoy it. Among animals, these are called Rogues and they are difficult to take out because they are smart. (they can blend into a pack when it is convenient to blend in). Among humans, they are called pychopaths. these are the serial rapists and serial killers. A lot of similarities between the animal kingdom and the human condition. At least I was able to take out the rogue animals with a rifle. Government institutions will not let me do the same with the human versions.

  17. To follow up on Joe Friday’s comment:

    Beware of the “Old Fart’s”
    They are not aggressive, BUT…….
    They probably are smarter/more-experienced than XYZ
    They probably have more “Toys/Hardware” and know how to use them better than XYZ
    They probably are a LOT more calm/patient/sneaky that XYZ
    They probably know their area a LOT better and know where to ambush XYZ
    They probably think if they are prosecuted for disposing of XYZ that’s just a long, paid, Bed & Breakfast vacation, remember the three “S’s”
    They probably have a LOT less time left in life, so they really don’t care if they “handle” XYZ, if XYZ harms their Family or dose something stupid to them
    And lets not forget, “Old Fart’s” do get to the point whereas they don’t have the attitude to put up with the Bull-Ship from idiots aka ‘Sheep’ or the XYZ’s (Wolves) out there.

    Y-all have a GREAT day
    Life is good here on Lightning Point
    Ole Blue says ‘Hi’

    1. that reminds me of a news article out of florida a few months back. a person attempted a home invasion on a 80yo vietnam vet. the vet killed the invader with a shotgun, he did not shoot him, he beat him to death with it. – no ammo? or just saving it for something serious?
      you never know who is standing next to you at wally world. i have known some granny’s tougher than the grandpa’s.
      give Blue a pat on the head for me.

      1. nyscout:
        Will agree with you there.
        Don’t worry to much about Grandpa, remember Grandma had his “6” for decades.
        Ole Blue appreciates the attention. Thanks

      2. In “Last of the Breed” the Yakut hunter (can’t remember his name) is burdened with a group of town boys. They run across a woman living in a tiny hut on the edge of a river and she’s totally dismissive. One of the young men says he’s going back to “teach her a lesson,” and the hunter says if he goes back she’d take his gun away and spank him with it. Then he says if the kid keeps talking about it he’ll SEND him back.

  18. Limiting people to only three types is truly and oversimplification of the real world. The officially designated “Sheepdogs” (law enforcement) will unapologetically turn on other sheepdogs if ordered to do so by their master (government). Even the most docile sheep can morph into something totally different and dangerous should society crumble and the likelihood of punishment for criminal behavior is gone. We all would probably be alarmed to know what is really going through the mind of Mr. Nice Guy living next door but whose acting out on his fantasies are held in check by the threat of severe punishment. Reality is a tangled ball of string.

  19. Please note the date of this posting.
    I would like to add to the list of sheepdogs the name of Brandon Tsay, resident of SoCal that stopped the actions of a mass shooter that came from Monterey Park where the shooter killed 11 and wounded 9 people. The initial interviews with the young unarmed man revealed a lot about his inner character: “I hesitated and I realized I could die right here. I did something because he had to be stopped right now” Unknown if this young man had any training. Due to the politics of his location, he did not have a weapon or personal firearm on his person. He was a part time employee of the location where he took action. Unknown what his plans are for the future. I would like to see this young man be offered scholarship offers and I wish his success in his future plans and endeavors. Whatever his hopes and dreams are, he knows who he is today.

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