Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breed Profile: Old English Sheepdog

Once upon a time, when there were wolves in England, shepherds needed a sturdy steadfast dog to defend the flocks.  The Old English Sheepdog was developed from the Bearded Collie and/or the Russian Owtcharka.  By around the mid nineteenth century, the Sheepdog's main job was to drive sheep and cattle to market.

According to legend, the sheepdog earned the nickname Bobtail because of a Tail Tax.  Working dogs had their tails docked.  If a dog had a tail he was considered a luxury item and was subject to taxation.  Some Old English Sheepdogs are born without a tail, some with a tail.  Today, even though Tail Taxes are no longer in effect, many modern Old English Sheepdogs born with a tail have it docked before they have a chance to miss it.

Some Old English Sheepdog Facts
- height:  22-26 inches
- weight:  60-90 pounds
- length is roughly equal to height
- life span:  10-12 years
- eyes are brown or blue
- some folks spin the hair into yarn for clothing (it's nice and soft)

Old English Sheepdogs get along well with children, other dogs and other pets.

Old English Sheepdogs are bright and learn quickly.  Very loyal to their people and animal family, they are not likely to roam.  This is a dog with lots of power and stamina, so it is important that they get daily exercise.  Over the years, the OES have gotten an undeserved reputation for bad behavior and meanness.  Most likely these dogs had pent up energy that their owners failed to give them appropriate opportunity to defuse.  You know the old saying, a tired dog is a good dog.

The Bobtail has a long thick coat usually described as profuse.  The coat color is white with gray.  Shades of gray range from dark gray to blue to silver.  As a puppy, the gray areas are black.

All that hair requires attention.  Those who are unwilling to do a great deal of brushing sometimes choose to trim the hair.

Old English Sheepdog Manifesto

- I am not silly.  I am jolly

- my herding and droving instincts are intact.  Prepare to be rounded up and driven

 my bark is sometimes characterised as "pot-casse".  I prefer to call it distinctive and beautiful

Next Breed Profile:  Greyhound!


  1. I love your dog's hairstyle. It's so chic.


  2. Aw, I've always like sheepdogs, but I couldn't deal with all that hair!

  3. I've always thought sheepdogs beautiful but had never seen a sheepdog puppy before. They're adorable!

  4. I've always thought these ones were magnificent dogs.

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