Old English Sheepdog Dog Breed
Aliases: Bobtail, OES, Bob
|Life Span:||10 -12 years|
|Litter Size:||4 - 8 puppies, average 6 puppies|
|Group:||Herding, AKC Herding, Working|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Black/White, Grey/White, Grey, White markings, Black markings|
|Male Height:||22 - 24 inches (56 - 61 cm.)|
|Male Weight:||65 pounds (29 kg.)|
|Female Height:||20 - 22 inches (51 cm.)|
|Female Weight:||60 pounds (27 kg.), although some can grow to over 100 pounds (45 k|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
The Old English Sheepdog is a large and well-proportioned dog, and has become a legendary dog in England and Europe. Its body is naturally stocky, well-balanced, and muscular and the unusual topline on this dog is an important breed characteristic. The chest is broad and the brisket is deep. The forelegs are straight, and the dog has small round feet that point directly forward. The dog has a well-defined stop, and the small ears lie flat. Overall, its appearance often looks disheveled and unkempt; however, with proper grooming and care this dog can look clean and well-defined naturally.
The nose of the Old English Sheepdog is large and black, and the teeth may not meet in a level position. This dog is often born without a tail, or the tail may be amputated. The dog has a long double coat and soft downy undercoat; this helps to insulate the dog, and it has survived many harsh conditions. The most common colors are blue, gray, or blue gray and it is often associated with white markings. White is sometimes the predominate color, and the breed has a rolling, almost bear-like gait. It is known for its distinctive loud-ringing bark, and the sound also has a low pitch that may be picked up by other animals and even prey.
The Old English Sheepdog is trustworthy, sincere, and lovable; it is naturally affectionate and has an even temper. Training the sheepdog is not diffiuclt, and these dogs learn well with direct training and will work with their masters. The sheepdog is a friendly part of the family, and enjoys working. It\'s not uncommon to find this dog working side by side with its owner, and it is especially loyal, mature, and fun-loving.
The coat of the Old English Sheepdog is thick, soft, and dense; it has a fairly thick texture and soft undercoat. It can look quite unkempt at most times, and is often considered a \'shaggy\' dog. Still, with regular brushing and grooming, the coat can become quite smooth. The most common colors of this dog are white, grey, and black.
The Old English Sheepdog has been used as a herding dog and pet for thousands of years in Europe. There are many theories as to the true origin of this dog, and many believe that it is related to the Barbone and the Deerhound. Others think that it may be related to the Briard or Bergamasco, as well as being a descendant of the hairy Russian dog known as \'Owtchar\' that was brought to the United Kingdom from the Baltic region.
It is likely that cross breeding occurred throughout England and Russia, especially with the Bearded Collies and other animals brought in from France and the Baltics. The Old English Sheepdog was first used by many farmers in England\'s West Country, the groups of people in need of cattle drivers and natural sheep herders. The breed became very common in the 19th century, and has been used widely in many agricultural areas.
The dog has often been called the \'Bobtail\' because of it\'s lack of a tail or short stump. The dog\'s tail was customarily docked as a way to identify tax-exempt herding dogs during the 18th century. In the spring time, farmers often sheared this dog along with the sheep and then used the dog hair to make blankets. Clothing and blankets trading were another part of the old English economy, and the prevalence of the Old English Sheepdog made this a natural commodity.
The Old English Sheepdog has also become famous for herding, watch dogging, and retrieving. Still, it is a fine herding dog and one that has even been used for reindeer herding because of its ability to tolerate cold weather. Show dogs are another popular activity for these dogs; they were first shown in Britain in 1873, and are well-received in a variety of competitions and show dog circles.
The Old English Sheepdog has a strong work ethic and naturally stays busy. They are energetic both indoors and out, and although they welcome attention, they also fare well by spending time on their own and staying busy with activitieis. The breed has historically been recognized as fierce, untrustworthy, and undependable. However, they are naturally gentle and loving, and have proven to be wonderful family members and pets.
The dogs have a strong herding insticnt and may even attempt to herd family members nad young children. It is important to train them to respect other people in the household, and this must be done at an early age to avoid missing the prime learning opportunities. The Old English Sheepdog tends to stay close to home, and will rarely venture off on their own. These dogs are strong-willed and will overpower their masters and owners if they are not managed appropriately. These dogs take instructions very well, and will anticipate commands at times. They are independent and can become gruff; it is important that they are given formal instructions and they can become quite submissive with the right approach.
Motivation works well for the Old English Sheepdog, and they will enjoy consistent attention and formal training. The bark of the Old English Sheepdog is quite unique, and has similar sounds to a cracked bell. The breed continues to be a \'young\' type with plenty of energy and a high affinity for learning. These dogs make wonderful family companions and love children. They are naturally intelligent and understanding, and will follow direction when they understand the lines of respect from their master. They are bubbly and playful by nature, and are especially intuitive.
Thyroid Disease - High Risk
The Old English Sheep Dog ranks #3 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding. It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
- Hip Dysplasia: Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) can cause mild to severe lameness.
- Cataracts: problems with the eyes and vision
- IMHA: Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia.
- Epilepsy: a neurological seizure disorder. There is no test for this.