Intelligent, Playful, Social
There are no written records as to the origins of the Old English Sheepdog but the known earliest types of its ancestors are the very old pastoral type dogs of the early 19th century from the south western counties of England. Some suggest that this breed has a large gene pool of the Scottish Bearded Collie and the Russian Owtchar brought to Scotland by Baltic sailing ships. Others maintain that the Briard and the Bergamasco are the progenitors of this breed. The oldest portrayal of this breed on painting was done by Gainsborough in 1771 depicting the Duke of Buccleugh with a “bobtail collie.” The breed was first shown in England in 1873. In the old days, shepherds would dock the tail of the Old English Sheepdog because it was primarily used to drive sheep and cattle to market and not for herding. It was this customary docked tail which led to its nickname “bobtail”.
The Old English Sheepdog is a bright and social animal with a jolly attitude and a very flexible temperament, able to adjust to different surroundings. It is loyal and protective which makes it an excellent addition to the family. It also has a very high herding instinct which makes it a reliable guard dog.
The Old English Sheepdog is one remarkable breed. It is highly intelligent and obedient and can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, Rally, showmanship, flyball, tracking and herding trials. It needs a firm, calm and gentle owner that it can look up to for training. Like any other sheepdogs of its size, this breed is an excellent worker and is able to follow commands without hesitation provided that the owner knows how to properly train the dog
The harsh texture coat of the Old English Sheepdog is shaggy but free from curl with a waterproof undercoat. This breed requires a great deal of grooming requirements because it is covered in fur all over the body. Many Old English Sheepdog owners often end up clipping the fur because of this. However, clipping is not necessary. Daily brushing or combing with a small size, medium-teeth comb is sufficient to strip the undercoat and maintain not only a full or partial length fur but also a healthy skin underneath. It is best to do this while the dog is laying down on the floor or on a grooming table.
The Old English Sheepdog typically lives between 10 and 11 years. Among the health issues associated with this breed include:
This is a large breed that requires ample amount of exercise on a daily basis. An ideal setting for the Old English Sheepdog is a wide open space where it can run and play until it is tired. A house on a farm is the typical home for this breed, although it can be a great companion in an urban or suburban setting if it is exercised and trained properly.
The Old English Sheepdog is an intelligent and social breed which makes it highly suitable to a family with children, although it may sometimes gently bump children in an attempt to herd them. It can be as docile as a couch potato or it can be clownish at times. Because this is a large breed, adult supervision is required when the dog is playing around small children as it can easily bump a small kid during “innocent” play.