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Old English Sheepdog

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.

Temperament 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.
Height, Weight Male Height: 22-24" ; Weight: 65-100 lbs.
Female Height: 20-22" ; Weight: 60-95 lbs.
Health Problems Prone to hip dysplasia and cataracts.
Living Conditions The Sheepdog will do okay living in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It does best with a large yard.
Exercise This breed is very energetic and loves to run.
Life Expectancy About 10-12 years
Grooming 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.
Origin 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.
Group AKC and UKC Herding Dog