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Old English Sheepdog

Quick facts

Old English Sheepdog AKC Group: Herding
Height: Male: 22-24 inches, Female: 20-22 inches
Weight: Male: 65 pounds, Female: 60 pounds
Colors: Grey and white; blue merle
AKC recognized in: 1888

True to its name, the Old English Sheepdog traces its roots to the earliest herding dogs of England. This "Shepherd's Dog" was first shown and exhibited in Birmingham. Today, it remains one of the most popular showdogs in England and America.

In appearance, they more like the "Shags" and "Beards" of the hairy herding breed. They could be related to both the Poodle and Deerhound. They may have originated in part from the hairy Russian Owtchar. Most experts agree that the Old English Sheepdog could have been developed from the original stock of the Bearded Collie.

Complete with floppy ears, this shaggy sheepdog looks endearing with its very long fur that covers its face and eyes. Its silky hair is usually colored grey and white. A back view of this bear-like dog shows a rear closely resembling that of a panda's. It is nicknamed the "Bobtail" due to its docked tail and "Dulux Dog" after the paint product it popularly promotes.

Cute and loveable as the Old English Sheepdog is, you're dealing with a square and compact dog. It makes a strong showing with its deep, broad chest and straight, muscular legs.

Any farmer on his way to market would say that this pastoral dog makes an efficient sheep-herder and cattle-driver. Due to its thick coat, it can tolerate herding even in cold weather. Thus, it's perfect as a herder, retriever, and watchdog.


Old English Sheepdog Summary
Affection five paws
Cold Tolerance four paws
Ease of Training three paws
Energy level four paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals four paws
Friendliness: Other Pets four paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance three paws
Playfulness four paws
Protection Ability three paws
Watchdog Ability four paws

It is not in the Old English Sheepdog's nature to be nervous and aggressive. Instead, its personality is more of intelligent and good-natured. It can easily adapt to the household setting and socialize with family members, including children.

Clownish in appeal, you will like its bouncy energy. Happy and outgoing, it thrives in the company and warmth of people. As a friend, expect it to be loyal and protective of you. Due to its innate herding instinct, it can even attempt to "herd" you off to safety by bumping you and gently at that.

Never underestimate how the Old English Sheepdog can protect and watch over you, because it has a strong sense of duty. It is territorial on property and will show displeasure when boundaries are crossed by strangers and unwelcome guests. Thus, rather than barking out your commands, be firm yet consistent in teaching it to be obedient.

Just to show how adaptable this creature is, watch it adjust to either a rural or urban setting. Ideal for agricultural work as a herder on a farm, it is just as fit as a family dog to keep you company in the city or suburbs. But now and then, it will always need the wide, open spaces where it can exercise and relax.

Health and Exercise

The Old English Sheepdog has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

The Old English Sheepdog will remain active and puppy-like for years until it suddenly matures between ages 10 to 12. That is when you could start to observe diseases like deafness, eye cataracts, hip dysplasia, along with incidences of cancer and heat stroke.

By the way, do clip those tangles but don't trim hair too short over your sheepdog's eyes. In effect, you would be removing that protective filter which reduces eye damage from sunlight.

Visitor Comments

This is your chance to add your feedback. Do you have a Old English Sheepdog in your family, or know one in someone elses? Do you have a story to tell related to that Old English Sheepdog? Or maybe you have more questions that either or another of our visitors might be able to help you with? Feel free to add your comment or question below.


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