The Old English Sheepdog is a large dog with a characteristic massive, long and shaggy coat which covers the face and eyes. It is believed this breed’s lineage originated in the early 19th century in the southwestern counties of England.
While there are no records to document exactly which breeds contributed to today’s Old English Sheepdog, many agree the Bearded Collie played a significant role. However, others claim it was one of the Bearded Collie’s ancestors – the Russian Owtchar.
Old English Sheepdogs have great stamina and were widely used as a drover’s dog. By the early 1900s, they were already in the United States and were owned, bred and shown by half of the top ten wealthiest American families which included the Vanderbilts, Morgans and Guggenheims.
The Old English Sheep dog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1905.
Height: The height measured from top of withers to the ground for a male Old English Sheepdog is 22 inches (55.8 cm) and upward. Bitches: 21 inches (53.3 cm) and upward. The length and height for the Old English Sheepdog is just about the same. ~AKC Standard This breed has great symmetry.
Weight: The weight for a male Old English Sheepdog is between 80 – 100 pounds (36.3 – 45.4 kg) and for bitches between 60 – 85 pounds (27.2 – 38.6 kg).
Coat Type: The Old English Sheepdog has a profuse, shaggy and straight coat. The texture is coarse and the undercoat is waterproof. The outline and texture of the Old English Sheepdog’s coat should remain natural. Basic grooming which requires a thorough brushing about three times a week for an adult can occupy 3 – 4 hours of your week!
Color: The Old English Sheepdog’s coat color can be “Any shade of gray, grizzle, blue or blue merle with or without white markings or in reverse.” ~AKC Standard
Temperament: The Old English Sheepdog is intelligent and very even tempered. He is loving and thrives when he is with his family. It is important to be aware that this breed demands a lot of love, care and attention from his family – otherwise, behavioral problems may arise. The Old English Sheepdog is excellent with children. He will bark if something is out of the norm, making him a good watch dog (but not a guard dog). These dogs should be exercised daily – at least a long walk, jog, free play or by playing fetch.
Health Concerns: Health issues which can affect the Old English Sheepdog include: hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, diabetes, deafness HD, allergies, skin and eye problems. The average life expectancy for an Old English Sheepdog is between 10 – 12 years.
• It is believed the Old English Sheepdog was nicknamed “Bob” or “Bob-tailed” after drover’s dogs in the early 19th century. These type of dogs found in the southwestern part of England had docked tails and some claim this was for proof they were working dogs which would then exempt them from taxes.
• The Old English Sheepdog was initially known as the “Shepherd’s Dog”.
• The Old English Sheepdog has a hallmark gait which is described as a ” bear-like roll from the rear”.
• An Old English Sheepdog was featured in Disney’s A Little Mermaid and in the book 101 Dalmatians.
AKC: Herding Group
ANKC: Working Group
CKC: Group 7 Herding Dogs
FCI: Group 1 Section 1 Sheepdogs