Old English Sheepdogs


Old English Sheepdogs

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Breed Notes

The Old English Sheepdog as it is today is not really "old" since it was developed in western England in about 1750. Possible ancestors of the breed include the Briard and the Bearded Collie. It was developed to drive sheep and cattle to market. Dogs that worked in England were exempt from taxation so drovers docked the tails at the first joint of those dogs who worked to distinguish them from those who didn't. Thus the OES also came to be called "the Bobtail." Unique characteristics of the breed today are its bobbed tail, long hair and rolling gait. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904.
The Old English Sheepdog is quiet, loveable, intelligent and affectionate. He is an excellent pet and companion. He tends to be home loving and not given to roaming. An exuberant animal, he needs lots of exercise.
The skull of the Old English Sheepdog is square. The ears are of medium size and carried flat to the head. The eyes are preferably dark in color although blue eyes in lighter coated dogs is typical. His expression is hard to see because the face is well covered with shaggy coat. The nose is always black and large. The bite is level. The neck is fairly long and arched gracefully. The dog stands lower at the shoulder than at the loin. The legs are straight with plenty of bone. The feet are small in relation to the size of the dog and round. The body is rather short and compact. The loin is well arched. Puppies are often born with bobbed tails but, if not, the tail is docked and should be no more than two inches long on the adult dog. The coat is double with a waterproof undercoat and a long, shaggy outer coat. The coat profusely covers the body. Any shade of grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle is accepted coat color. Average height is between 21 and 26 inches. Average weight is about 65 pounds.


Name withheld by request of Kentucky writes:

The most wonderful dog I have ever owned.
I ended up with my Sheepdog because a previous owner did not have enough room for him. Indeed he does need a lot of room because he loves to run. Since I lived on a farm he was very excited to come home with me. He is the friendliest dog I have ever had. I have had him in the yard with several other mixed breeds, and he gets along with them wonderfully. He also loves to play with my two young nieces. He is definitely a play dog. He is also a very smart dog. I would recommend a Sheepdog to anyone who has enough room, love, and attention to offer. They are wonderful dogs.


PSUMOM901@AOL.COM of Pennsylvania writes:

Most affectionate and loyal dogs anyone can own.
My family has owned two Old English Sheepdogs. The first one my husband and I got was four years ago. We really had no knowledge of the breed other than watching the movie, "The Shaggy Dog." She grew to be the biggest, most beautiful and smartest dog anyone could want. Every day was a new experience for my husband and me as she grew older. Then we got our second one. These two have really had a strong love and bond between them. Together they have made this a great big family.


jdgealta@yahoo.com of San Diego writes on 12/22/00:

The love of my life.
I got my OES because I wanted a large dog not one the size of a cat (which I already had 2 of). My dog is affectionate with me and with strangers (almost to a fault). When kids see me walk him at first they're afraid then when all he does is lick them they laugh hysterically. I think in his previous life he must have been a retriever because he absolutely loves water. When you say "bath" he runs to the bathroom and jumps in the tub. He's 7 years old and has arthritis in his spine so he's in swimming therapy right now and loves it. You'd swear he understands everything you say to him and he cocks his head when you're speaking to him. Even at 7 he has the energy of a puppy despite his arthritis. He is the love of my life!


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