Breed Type: Herding
Country of Origin: England
Also known as: OES, Bobtail
Males: Height: 55-61 cm Weight: 29-45 kg
Females: Height: 51-56 cm Weight: 27-40 kg
Exercise Requirements: Medium
Care Requirements: High
Lifespan: 10-13 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pet
Lots of dog owners claim that their dog’s breed is the best but it is hard to find someone more loyal than an Old English Sheepdog enthusiast. The OES is an easily recognizable dog in Australia, as he was the mascot for a paint company there in the 1960’s. Furry, lovable and playful, this large dog makes an excellent family pet for those who can cope with all that fur.
Old English Sheepdogs are very large dogs, and they appear even larger because of all that shaggy fur. Bearlike in appearance and gait, this gentle giant has a square figure and a short tail. Their thick double coat is a combination of grey and white and may also have tones of blue and silver. The OES’s undercoat is hard and waterproof and their outer coat is wavy and soft.
The Old English Sheepdog is said to have an intelligent expression, but their eyes can be difficult to find under a cascade of fur. Some of them have brown eyes, and others have blue, while rare ones have one blue and one brown eye. They have large heads with black noses and proportionately small ears. While tail docking is illegal in several countries, the Old English Sheepdog got its nickname, the “Bobtail” because its tail was routinely docked. Although the this dog has an easy going, gentle personality it can be easy to forget how strong the OES is.
The Old English Sheepdog can be best described as comical, sweet, playful, and affectionate. They love being around their family and will often steal the show with their funny antics and clownish tricks. Being bred to herd and guard sheep, this big guy takes his role of guarding and protecting his family very seriously. Do not expect your OES to be aggressive towards strangers, however. They love just about anyone who will play with them.
While adaptable and easy-going, the OES does not do well when left alone for long periods of time and due to his size and strength, can be a destructor when he is unhappy. Some are also known for being stubborn and early obedience training is important to keep this boisterous dog in check. Due to their intelligence, training can be fairly easy if given consistently and firmly.
The Old English Sheepdog, a born worker, loves having a job to do. Unfortunately, if you do not have sheep for him to herd, he may decide that herding your other pets or even children is the perfect role for him. Discourage this behavior quickly, as you dog is often unaware of his own strength and can easily bowl over smaller creatures.
While it is unknown which dog breeds are the exact ancestors of the Old English Sheep Dog, there are a few theories about specific breeds that may have contributed to their heritage. Some believe that the Bearded Collie, Briard, Poodle, Deerhound, and Russian Owtchar played a role. What is known, is that the OES originated somewhere in western England and was first used to herd and guard sheep. Later, they were also used to drive both sheep and cattle to the marketplace. Due to their profuse fur, similar in some ways to the sheep they guarded, the Old English Sheepdog was given their turn in the shearing line. Some farmers even used this fur to make blankets and clothes.
The multi-talented Old English Sheepdog was quickly recognized for her ability to dazzle judges in the show ring. In 1873, they made their grand debut in the English show ring and shortly after, in 1888, they made their first appearance in the United States. The dog gained popularity during this time period and thereafter. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the OES started his television and movie career and became widely recognized around the world for his shaggy look and playful personality. Although the OES’s popularity has declined a bit in more recent years, the breed is still a popular one today.
Care and Grooming
Get ready to make grooming your full-time job. This heavy shedder needs an average of 3-5 hours of brushing a week. Neglect your Old English Sheepdog’s coat and you may find yourself with a matted mess. Because of the dedication to grooming that is needed to keep an OES looking her best, one should think long and hard before selecting this breed. Many elect to take their pet to the groomers and this helps them manage their pet’s fur more easily.
Although the Old English Sheepdog does not need a lot of vigorous exercise and will happily become a couch potato when at home, he does need a daily walk to keep him healthy and happy. They also enjoy a good run and love playing in the yard.
While the Old English Sheep Dog is generally healthy, they are prone to some ailments. The most common of which are: deafness, cancer, and thyroid issues. Other minor concerns include skin issues, allergies, cataracts and bloat. Some are also sensitive to particular medicines and this should always be discussed with your pet’s veterinarian. Because of the OES’s thick coat, heatstroke can also be an issue. Therefore, make sure you do not overexert your Old English Sheepdog in hot weather.
The Old English Sheepdog remains puppy like for most of her life, happily frolicking about. Most owners know that when their exuberant pet slows way down that they are getting near the end of their life.
Suitability as a Pet
The easy-going Old English Sheepdog is an adaptable dog and does well in many different living environments. They do very well with other doggy siblings and pets and are exceptionally good with children (if they are taught not to knock them down during play). They are particularly cuddly and may sometimes forget that they are not a lapdog. Given the chance, this gentle giant will happily share your bed if you let him, so move over and make some room.
The ideal owner for the OES is one that has plenty of time and love for this attention seeker. Some may suffer from separation anxiety and a dog owner who is often away from home, may find that their OES is quite depressed. While content just being near you, your Old English Sheepdog thrives when getting to spend lots of time playing outside. For this reason, a rural setting is particularly good for this guy as they were born to live on a farm.
Old English Sheepdog Organisations in Australia No club information listed Old English Sheepdog Organisations in the UK The Old English Sheepdog Club Old English Sheepdog Organisations in the US Old English Sheepdog Club of America New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue Did we miss your organisation? Let us know. Contact Us