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Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog is a large sized dog full of energy and enthusiasm. These herding dogs originated in England and were primarily used to drive sheep and cattle to the market. These well coordinated dogs were widely used by farmers in agricultural areas.

Various theories have been propounded regarding the origin of Old English Sheepdog dog breed but the exact truth regarding the origin of this breed of dogs still remains a mystery.

Certain theories associate these dogs with Briard and Bergamasco breed dogs, some relate them with Poodles and Deerhounds whereas certain other theories consider that Old English Sheepdogs descended from Scotch Bearded Collie and Russian Owtchar dogs.

Physical Appearance

The shaggy Old English Sheepdog dog breed with the particular bear like shuffling gait is characterized by a square, muscular and compact build. The large nose is black in color and the eyes are blue, black or one of each color.

The medium sized ears are carried flat to the side of the head. The long hair coat tends to cover the eyes as well but does not cause obstruction in vision. The neck is arched and quite long. These dogs are also known as Bobtails because their tails are usually docked close to the body.

Color: Old English Sheepdogs are generally grey, blue, grizzle or blue merle in color. White marking may also be present.
Height: The average male Old English Sheepdog height is about 22 to 24 inches. The females are generally 20 to 22 inches in height.
Weight: The dogs are usually about 65 pounds in weight and the bitches are generally around 60 pounds in weight.

Health Problems

Old English Sheepdog breed dogs are prone to health issues like Hip Dysplasia, Wobbler’s Syndrome, Deafness, Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, Diabetes, Thyroid Disorders and other related health diseases and common dog diseases.

They are also susceptible to skin problems and eye diseases like Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Retinal Dysplasia, Entropion etc.

Life Expectancy: The average lifespan of these dogs is around 10 to 12 years.
Litter Size: Old English Sheepdog average litter size is about 5 to 8 puppies.

Grooming Requirements

The long, dense and weather resistant hair coat of Old English Sheepdog requires a good amount of regular grooming and care. Therefore, it should be brushed and combed daily or at least two to three times in a week to avoid matting and maintain the coat in perfect condition.

The double coat consisting of soft undercoat and coarser outer coat sheds heavily, particularly during the spring season. The dogs not being used for show purposes can be professionally machine clipped about every two months.

In addition, clean the dog’s beard on a regular basis and trim the hair around the paw pads and the eyes from time to time. Check and clean the ears periodically to avoid ear infections.


Old English Sheepdog breed dogs are pleasant, energetic, extrovert, intelligent, alert, affectionate, faithful, adaptable and friendly in temperament. These fun loving dogs are extremely playful and protective around children.

But, because of the enormous size, an Old English Sheepdog should never be left unsupervised with small children. They tend to get along well with other pets as well. These smart dogs have the capability of learning quickly.

Hence, Old English Sheepdog breed dogs can be trained easily. However, they can be stubborn at times. Therefore, lack of socialization and adequate attention can give rise to destructive dog behavior. Old English Sheepdog dog breed can be entrusted with watchdog duties too.

Key Points

These exuberant dogs do best under the leadership of active dog owners who are ready to spend a great deal of time with their beloved and devoted Old English Sheepdog.

They need to be exercised vigorously to keep them physically fit and healthy. In addition, retrieving games and interactive play sessions also help to provide them adequate mental stimulation.

Being fairly active indoors, they do well in apartment situation when given access to at least an average sized yard for running and playing. Though, they should not be left outdoors for longer durations, especially in cold climates. Moreover, do not exercise the dog in extremely hot weather to avoid overheating.