One look at the Old English Sheepdog and you would see a happy, gentle dog—even if its face is mostly hidden by fur. If you’re looking for a canine buddy to share your couch space with, you might want to check out the Old English Sheepdog.
Old English Sheepdog: The Bobtailed Herding Dog
Because it is friendly and cheerful, it can be hard not to befriend an Old English Sheepdog. It started out as a farmer’s helper, mostly to herd sheep and protect the flock from predators. Nowadays, it is more common as a family pet. This smart and independent breed can be a wonderful companion to people who like to stay active and can appreciate having an energetic fur ball around. Are you one of them? Find out if this is the breed you are looking for as you read this post.
Where is the Old English Sheepdog from?
Old English Sheepdogs hail from, as the name suggests, England. It is not very clear what breeds were used to create the OES although some people speculated it descended from Bearded Collies and Russian Owtchars.
Being large and sturdy, the Old English Sheepdogs are physically capable of driving animals for many miles and were usually used for this purpose. But these hardy dogs did not just herd livestock, they protected them from potential predators as well.
Old English Sheepdogs are nicknamed ‘Bobtail’ for a reason. Back when they were working dogs, their tails were usually bobbed or docked. The purpose of docking among working dogs was to exempt them from certain taxes.
What does the Old English Sheepdog look like?
Old English Sheepdogs are recognized by their long, shaggy coat, which usually drapes over their faces and forms a beard and mustache around their muzzle. They are considered large as they stand around 22 inches and can potentially weigh up to 90 pounds.
How else would you know you’re looking at an Old English Sheepdog? Well, you have to watch out for these traits, too:
- Brown or blue eyes
- Moderately coated, medium-sized ears
- Large, black nose
- Naturally bob-tailed, if not, the tail is well-feathered and low set (cosmetic docking is considered illegal in many countries)
- Sloping top line, which basically means the loin tends to be higher than the shoulder
- Bear-like shuffle (manner of walking)
When does the Old English Sheepdog change color?
Old English Sheepdogs are actually born with white and black coats. The silver and gray part would start to emerge as they start shedding their puppy coat. This change in color may begin when the puppies are around 4 to 6 months old—and this process may continue until they are about a year old.
What is the Old English Sheepdog like?
Old English Sheepdogs are typically pleasant and easygoing creatures. They can be quite clownish at times and rather enjoy it when their owners appreciate their antics. Because of their friendly nature, they can do well around children, even supervise or ‘herd’ them. They can get along with other dogs and pets as well.
These dogs are fairly slow when comes to reaching maturity and may remain puppy-like for a longer time compared to other breeds. Although they are generally good-natured, they can sometimes be strong-willed, especially if their owners lack leadership.
Old English Sheepdogs are happy enough to live in an apartment as long as they are able to walk, jog, or run every day. They may have the tendency to be couch potatoes but they do need a fair amount of daily exercise. If not, they may develop certain habits like digging or chewing.
Loud barking is to be expected from Old English Sheepdogs.
How to groom an Old English Sheepdog?
In the past, the coat of Old English Sheepdogs was mostly maintained by shearing it off once a year. This would usually happen during spring, at the time when sheep are also sheared for wool. Many owners nowadays also choose to have their OESs clipped at least once or even twice a year.
Coat care for these dogs can be challenging. They require regular grooming to keep their coat free from tangles. To maintain the quality of their coat, brushing should be done daily or at least thrice weekly.
The grooming schedule of Old English Sheepdogs can be like this:
- Brushing of coat daily (or at least three times a week), with the use of different types of combs and brushes
- Bathing every 6 to 8 weeks or as needed
- Cleaning of ears once a week
- Brushing of teeth thrice a week
- Clipping of nails once or twice a month
What do Old English Sheepdogs eat?
Old English Sheepdogs need a well-proportioned, calorie-packed meal containing a balanced amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They can thrive on commercial food or homemade dog food. Whatever the food choice is, owners must ensure it is made out of safe and healthy ingredients.
The amount of food for each meal depends on a dog’s activity level, age, and build. Puppies typically need three meals per day while adult dogs can do well with two meals in a day. It can be hard to tell whether Old English Sheepdogs have a normal weight or not because of their thick coat. Their weight must be checked regularly to ensure they are not underfed or overfed.
Important reminders: Before you get a dog, make sure you have read some essential dog diet tips. It is important you also know what human food is good for dogs and the kind of food which may be toxic to them.
Are Old English Sheepdogs hypoallergenic?
Old English Sheepdogs are not hypoallergenic. They have a double coat and shed frequently. With shedding comes more dander, a common allergen, which is often found in dogs and cats.
Dogs which are considered hypoallergenic are typically minimal shedders and have hair coat instead of fur coat. Remember no breed is completely non-allergenic—it is possible allergy sufferers might still react to a certain allergen found among hypoallergenic dogs.
How much do Old English Sheepdog puppies cost?
Old English Sheepdog puppies can cost around USD $1,000 to $1,500. Some are even sold for more than $2,000. The cost of puppies depends on their pedigree, health, age, including their breeders’ credibility and location.
Watch this Animal Planet video to learn more about the Old English Sheepdog:
The Old English Sheepdog, with its physique and temperament, has the makings of a good family pet. But the real question is, do you have what it takes to care for such a breed? Remember it requires daily exercise, moreover, regular coat care. If you are capable of providing this dog the quality of care it deserves, then it might just be the right breed for you.
What do you think of the Old English Sheepdog? Is it the right breed for you? Let us know what you think of the OES by writing a comment below!
If you want to learn more about dogs, check out this dog breed profile about the Pomsky!
Featured image via Omlet Limited