Old English Sheepdog

    Old English Sheepdog

    Training and Exercise
    Health and Nutrition
    Living with an Old English Sheepdog
    Breed Standards and Guidelines
    The Future of the Old English Sheepdog Breed
    Frequently Asked Questions

    Introduction to the Old English Sheepdog Breed

    The Old English Sheepdog is a large breed of herding dog known for its distinctive shaggy coat and friendly temperament. The breed has a rich history, with its origins believed to descend from either the Scottish Bearded Collie or the Russian Owtchar. The breed was first registered in 1873 and recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1890. Originally bred for herding sheep, the breed quickly gained popularity as a farm dog in the United States. Today, the Old English Sheepdog is loved for its unique appearance and affectionate nature.
    The Old English Sheepdog is a large, powerful breed with a compact and balanced physical appearance. The breed is known for its characteristic shaggy coat, which requires regular maintenance to prevent matting. The coat is typically gray in color, although it can also be white, blue, or black. The breed's friendly and gentle temperament makes it an ideal family pet, and it is known for its love of children. However, early training and socialization are a must, as the breed can be independent and stubborn.
    The Old English Sheepdog has remained a popular breed over the years, with its friendly temperament and unique appearance winning the hearts of many. The breed is often used in advertisements and media, with its shaggy coat and bear-like gait making it a recognizable and beloved figure. Potential owners should be aware of the breed's grooming and exercise needs, though.

    Coat of an Old English Sheepdog

    The Old English Sheepdog is known for its thick, double coat, which requires above-average maintenance. They shed a moderate to heavy amount of hair year-round and also undergo shedding twice a year, in the spring and fall. While shedding can vary from individual to individual, they are considered to have moderate to heavy shedding throughout the year. The double coat serves to protect the dog from harsh weather conditions, but it also requires regular care to prevent matting and tangling.
    Proper care is essential to maintain the Old English Sheepdog's coat and overall health. Grooming needs include regular brushing, bathing, trimming, and cleaning of ears and teeth. Brushing should be done at least once a week, and it can take up to an hour to thoroughly brush the entire coat. Regular bathing is also necessary to keep the coat clean and healthy. Trimming the fur around the paws and ears is important to prevent matting and maintain a neat appearance. Cleaning the ears and teeth is also crucial to prevent infections and dental issues.
    Common grooming tools for the Old English Sheepdog include a slicker brush, pin brush, comb, scissors, and clippers. The slicker brush is used to remove loose hair and prevent matting. The pin brush is used to remove tangles and smooth out the coat. The comb is used to eliminate any remaining tangles and check for mats. Scissors are used to trim the fur around the paws and ears, while clippers are used to trim the body hair. Using the appropriate tools and techniques is essential to ensure the dog's coat is maintained properly.

    Training and Exercise for an Old English Sheepdog

    Early socialization and training are crucial for the Old English Sheepdog. Like any dog breed, temperament is influenced by a combination of factors, including heredity, training, and early socialization. Therefore, it's important to expose Old English Sheepdogs to a variety of different people, animals, and environments during their critical socialization period. Early socialization can have a significant impact on the dog's behavior throughout its life. Proper training and socialization can help the Old English Sheepdog become a well-behaved, obedient, and sociable family member.
    Old English Sheepdogs have moderate exercise needs and require regular physical activity to maintain good health. Daily walks and targeted activities such as hiking, swimming, or playing fetch can help keep the dog physically fit and mentally stimulated. Mental stimulation is also important for the breed, as they are intelligent dogs that require plenty of mental enrichment. Engaging the dog in activities like obedience training, agility, and interactive puzzles can provide the necessary mental stimulation and prevent boredom.
    Creating a safe and enriching environment is important for the Old English Sheepdog to thrive. The breed is known for its gentle nature and sociable temperament. Therefore, it's important to ensure that the dog has plenty of opportunities for socialization and interaction with people and other animals. Additionally, providing mental and physical enrichment through activities like training, playtime, and interactive toys can help prevent behavior problems and promote overall well-being. By providing proper training, exercise, and enrichment, owners can ensure that their Old English Sheepdog remains happy, healthy, and well-behaved.

    Health and Nutrition

    Old English Sheepdogs are known for their lovable personalities and shaggy coats, but like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health issues. Some common health problems for Old English Sheepdogs include hip dysplasia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. It's important for owners to be aware of these issues and closely monitor their dog's health. Regular vet check-ups and preventive care can help catch any potential health problems early and ensure the dog receives appropriate treatment. Additionally, owners should be attentive to their dog's behavior and any changes in their health, such as weight loss or lethargy, and bring them to the vet for evaluation if necessary.
    Diet and nutrition are also crucial for maintaining the health of an Old English Sheepdog. Owners should provide their dog with a balanced, high-quality diet that includes plenty of protein and nutrients. It's important to avoid homemade food, as it can be challenging to measure the appropriate levels of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Additionally, owners should be mindful of their dog's weight and ensure they do not overfeed, as obesity can lead to various health issues. Regular exercise and playtime can also help keep an Old English Sheepdog healthy and physically fit.

    Living with an Old English Sheepdog

    Living with an Old English Sheepdog can be a delightful experience, but it's important to ensure that the living conditions and environment are suitable for this breed. The Old English Sheepdog is a large breed that requires ample space to move around and exercise. They are also known for their thick, shaggy coat, which requires regular care and maintenance to prevent matting and tangling. As such, it's essential to consider these factors when deciding if an Old English Sheepdog is the right dog for your home and lifestyle.
    The Old English Sheepdog is a family-friendly breed known for its gentle temperament and behavior. They are intelligent and easy to train, making them an excellent choice for families with children and other pets. They are also affectionate and loving towards their family members, enjoying spending time with them. Additionally, they have a playful and humorous personality that endears them to many people.
    When living with an Old English Sheepdog, it's important to ensure they receive proper socialization and training. They are a herding breed and may have a tendency to try to herd children or other pets, which can be problematic if not addressed early. However, with proper training and socialization, they can coexist peacefully with other pets and family members.

    Old English Sheepdog Breed Standards and Guidelines

    The Old English Sheepdog is a breed known for its distinctive appearance and charming personality.
    The breed is characterized by its long, shaggy coat, which requires regular maintenance. Additionally, the Old English Sheepdog is known for its admirable qualities as a family dog, including vigilance, courage, kindness, and intelligence. The breed standard for the Old English Sheepdog is strict and includes guidelines for physical characteristics such as a compact, muscular build and a long, shaggy coat.
    The Old English Sheepdog is recognized by various kennel clubs and organizations worldwide, including the United Kennel Club and the English Kennel Club. These organizations provide guidelines for breeding and showcasing the breed, which must be followed by breeders and owners. It's important to purchase an Old English Sheepdog from a reputable and approved breeder to ensure that the dog is healthy and meets the breed standards.
    Breeding and exhibition requirements for the Old English Sheepdog include compliance with breed standards, as well as proper training and socialization. In addition, exhibition rules and guidelines should be followed when showcasing the breed. Despite its popularity as a family pet and show dog, the Old English Sheepdog is considered a vulnerable breed, and organizations like The Kennel Club are making efforts to preserve the breed's genetic diversity.


    Old English Sheepdogs are beautiful and loving dogs that make wonderful pets. Unfortunately, some of these dogs end up in shelters or rescue organizations due to various reasons such as family deaths, relocation, or the dog being too much work for the family. Fortunately, several rescue and adoption organizations are dedicated to finding these dogs forever homes. New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue Inc. and Red River Old English Sheepdog Rescue Inc. are just a few examples of such organizations. These organizations rely on the help of volunteers and donations to provide care and support for these dogs until they can be placed in their new homes.
    Adopting an older dog, such as an Old English Sheepdog, has its advantages and challenges. Older dogs are often already trained and can be less demanding than puppies. They can also be more relaxed and better suited for a calm household. However, they may have health issues that require extra care and attention. Potential adopters should consider these factors before deciding to adopt an older dog.
    Preparing for adoption and bringing a new pet home requires careful consideration and planning. Potential adopters should research the breed and its specific needs, as well as consider their own lifestyle and life situation. They should also ensure they have the necessary supplies and resources to properly care for their new pet. Once the adoption is complete, it's important to give the dog time to adjust to its new surroundings and establish a routine. With patience, love, and proper care, an adopted Old English Sheepdog can become a cherished family member for many years to come.

    The Future of the Old English Sheepdog Breed

    The Old English Sheepdog, with its distinctive shaggy coat and bear-like gait, has been a beloved breed for many years. However, the breed faces several challenges and concerns today. One of the major concerns is the declining population of the breed, putting it at risk of becoming endangered. Additionally, the breed is prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and deafness, which can raise concerns among breeders and owners. These challenges have raised questions about the future of the Old English Sheepdog breed.
    Despite these challenges, efforts are underway to preserve and protect the breed. Breeders and enthusiasts are working to increase the breed's population through responsible breeding practices and by promoting the breed to potential owners. Additionally, ongoing efforts are aimed at addressing the health issues associated with the breed, such as genetic testing and responsible breeding practices. These efforts are crucial for the breed's continued existence and well-being.
    Looking to the future, there is potential for the development and innovation of the Old English Sheepdog breed. As the breed's popularity grows, there may be opportunities for new breed standards to emerge. Additionally, advances in veterinary medicine and genetic research can help address the health problems associated with the breed. With their gentle and patient nature, Old English Sheepdogs are wonderful family pets for children.


    In conclusion, the Old English Sheepdog is a wonderful breed known for its shaggy coat, friendly nature, and versatility as a family companion. They are gentle and patient with children, making them great playmates. However, it's important to note that their thick coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues, but with proper care and regular vet check-ups, these can be managed. Old English Sheepdogs are intelligent and trainable, although they may have a stubborn streak at times. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. While they do shed heavily, their loyal and loving nature makes up for it. Overall, if you're looking for a loyal and affectionate companion, the Old English Sheepdog may be the perfect addition to your family.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Old English Sheepdogs

    What is an Old English Sheepdog?

    The Old English Sheepdog, also known as the Bobtail, is a large breed of dog known for its distinctive shaggy coat and friendly nature. They were originally bred in England for herding livestock, particularly sheep.

    How big do Old English Sheepdogs get?

    Old English Sheepdogs are a large breed, with males typically weighing between 70-90 pounds (32-41 kg) and females weighing between 60-80 pounds (27-36 kg). They can reach a height of around 22 inches (56 cm) at the shoulder.

    Are Old English Sheepdogs good with children?

    Yes, Old English Sheepdogs are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them great companions for families with children. They are patient and tolerant, making them excellent playmates for kids.

    Do Old English Sheepdogs require a lot of grooming?

    Yes, Old English Sheepdogs have a thick, double coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and keep it looking its best. Daily brushing is recommended to keep their coat clean and free from tangles.

    Are Old English Sheepdogs prone to any health issues?

    Like all dog breeds, Old English Sheepdogs can be prone to certain health issues. Some common health concerns for this breed include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and hypothyroidism. Regular vet check-ups and a healthy diet can help prevent and manage these issues.

    How much exercise do Old English Sheepdogs need?

    Old English Sheepdogs are an active breed and require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are important for their well-being. They enjoy activities such as obedience training, agility, and even herding trials.

    Are Old English Sheepdogs easy to train?

    Old English Sheepdogs are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them generally easy to train. However, they can also be independent and stubborn at times, so consistent and positive reinforcement training methods work best with this breed.

    Do Old English Sheepdogs shed a lot?

    Yes, Old English Sheepdogs are known for their heavy shedding. Their thick coat requires regular brushing to remove loose hair and prevent it from spreading around the house. They typically have two major shedding seasons per year.

    Are Old English Sheepdogs good with other pets?

    Old English Sheepdogs can generally get along well with other pets if properly socialized from a young age. However, their herding instincts may cause them to try to herd smaller animals, so supervision and training are important when introducing them to other pets.

    How long do Old English Sheepdogs live?

    On average, Old English Sheepdogs have a lifespan of around 10-12 years. With proper care, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups, they can live long and happy lives.

    Remember, if you have any specific questions or concerns about Old English Sheepdogs, it's always best to consult with a reputable breeder or veterinarian who can provide tailored advice based on your individual circumstances.

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