The Vampire Dog of Ennerdale

For 65 years there was a vampiric creature,many say it was a dog, that hunted sheep all over England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1810 to 1874 and again briefly from 1905 to 1906. The first report of the animal came in May 1810 in the town of Ennerdale, located near the English and Scottish border. Described as a large dog whose tracks were long and deeply set in the ground, it was reported as killing six or eight sheep a night, ripping holes in their throats and draining all of their blood. None of the carcasses were ever found eaten or even partially consumed.

In early September of that same year, a large black dog was spotted in a cornfield and shot. The killings stopped for a brief period of time and resumed again, only this time in Ireland. The idea of a wolf was dismissed as the last one had been spotted back in 1712. The vampire dog was blamed and it was reported to be killing as many as 30 sheep a night by then, its hunger obviously having increased. The sheep were slain as they had been back in England—throats bitten out and drained of blood. The paw prints that were left behind were again described as long with deep and obvious claws.

On April 11 the large dog was again shot, this time by an archbishop, only to be sighted again ten days later and a hundred miles away. Again it was shot and again it was sighted, another hundred miles away. All along and throughout, sheep were having their throats ripped out and their blood drained away.

In Limerick, Ireland, it bit a man who shortly thereafter went insane and was admitted to Ennis Insane Asylum. On and off the cycle continued. The dog was sighted, the sheep were slaughtered, the dog was shot, and some distance and days later the killings began again. Eventually, in 1874, the dog was shot one final time, and as the people waited for it to reappear, it never did—until nearly 30 years had passed.

The London Mail reported on November 1,1 905, that sheep were found slaughtered in Badminton, their throats ripped out and their blood drained. It was reported as having been shot and killed near Gloucester on November 25 and then again on December 16, in Hinton. On March 19, 1 906, 51 sheep were killed in a single night near Guildford. That was the last report of the vampire dog. Throughout its last killing spree, both a hyena and a panther were blamed for the killings, said to have escaped from a menagerie, but no reports of such animals escaping any zoo were ever reported in the papers.

Throughout its career, the Vampire Dog of Ennerdale was credited with killing in all 237,250 sheep, which averages to ten sheep a night. If the numbers are accurate, then the vampire dog consumed 1,594,320 liters of blood, enough to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools.


  • Bradley, The Badminton, 380­87;
  • Forte, Lo!, 1 50;
  • Hallam, Ghosts of the North, 36


Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology Written by :Theresa Bane ©2010 Theresa Bane. All rights reserved