The Canine Chronicles Directory
Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdogs are large, squarely proportioned dogs with a rolling, bearlike
gait. They have a profuse, weather-resistant long shaggy coat. The double coat consists
of a coarse outer coat and a soft, downy undercoat. The colors of the coat are usually
blue, gray, blue/gray, and blue merle. They sometimes have white markings on their
coats as well. The large, square head has a well-defined stop. The eyes are wide
set and are dark, wall or blue in color. They are completely covered with hair however
their vision is not impaired. The small ears lay flat against the head and the large
nose is black. The strong jaw should have teeth that meet in a level or scissor-like
bite. The stocky, muscular body is well-balanced and the topline slopes upward from
the withers to the loin. The chest is broad and the brisket deep. The moderately
long neck is strong and arches gracefully. It merges into laid back shoulders. The
legs should be straight with strong bones and well-developed second thighs. The
small feet should be round and tight. If this breed is born with a tail it is usually
docked close to the body or amputated.
Old English Sheepdogs are affectionate, loyal, even-tempered and adaptable. They
are cheerful extroverts, social and warmly welcome visitors. This breed enjoys being
part of family life however they can also be independent. They have pleasant natures
but they can become overly excited and play roughly. Due to this, care should be
taken around younger children. This breed is a natural protector and has a tendency
to adopt young animals and children. Their herding instincts are strong and they
will try to herd the family and small children. They will not nip heels but will
herd by bumping. They are fearless and have a resonant bark making them excellent
guard dogs. Old English Sheepdogs generally get along with other dogs and animals.
This breed tends to drool.
Male Height: 22-24" ; Weight: 65-100 lbs.
Female Height: 20-22" ; Weight: 60-95 lbs.
Prone to hip dysplasia and cataracts.
The Sheepdog will do okay living in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised.
It does best with a large yard.
This breed is very energetic and loves to run.
About 10-12 years
The coat of this breed needs constant care. It should be combed and brushed thoroughly
to the dense undercoat to prevent matting. It should be groomed three times a week.
Cut out tangles carefully so as not to nick the skin. Non-show dogs should be professionally
machine-clipped every two months. Show dogs need substantially more grooming. Trim
around the eyes and rear end with scissors. This breed is a seasonal heavy shedder.
The exact origins of the Old English Sheepdog are unknown however there are several
theories on how they were created. The first is that they are from Barbone and Deerhound.
The second is that they are from Briard and Bergamasco. The third is that they are
descended from a Russian dog called 'Owtchar'. This dog was brought to the British
Isles via trade ships from the Baltic region. The fourth theory is that they are
a cross between Bearded Collies, Owtchar's, Armant, and Bergamasco. Regardless of
how the Old English Dogs were created, they emerged in England in the mid 1700s.
They were developed in the West Country by local farmers. They used the dogs as
cattle drivers and sheep herders. In the 18th century this breed received their
nickname 'Bobtail'. During this time, tax exemption was given to drover dogs that
assisted in driving herd to market. To distinguish these dogs from others, the tail
were docked. Due to the Old English Sheepdogs herding abilities, their eagerness
and their weather-resistant coats, they were the perfect breed for this activity.
Since dogs were not groomed during this time, they were sheared each year with the
sheep. Their shearings were spun with sheep's wool into warm clothing. This breed
was first shown in a British Show in 1873 and the demand and popularity of this
breed grew throughout the world. The Old English Sheepdogs have been used for retrieving,
herding and watchdogging. They are excellent reindeer herders due to their cold
weather tolerance. By the 19th century, the breed was also widely used in agricultural
environments. They are recognized by the AKC and UKC.
AKC and UKC Herding Dog