Old English Sheepdog

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60-80 lbs
21-22"
England
Shepherd's Dog, Bobtail, Sheepy, Bob-Tailed Sheep-Dog

As one of the oldest breeds, the Old English Sheepdog was accepted by the American Kennel Club only four years after they began, in 1888. In addition, it is currently the 75th most popular dog breed in the United States. This large and shaggy dog has been a popular breed for many television shows and movies and is a popular show dog as well. They are strong but gentle dogs who are also very intelligent and can learn how to do just about anything you want. Their thick double coat hangs over their eyes and comes in many different colors but the most common are grizzle and white; gray and white; blue merle and white; blue gray and white; and blue and white.

Purpose
sheep herding
Date of Origin
1800s
Ancestry
scottish bearded collie, russian owtchar

Old English Sheepdog Health

Sketch of Old English Sheepdog
Average Size
Male Old English Sheepdog size stats
Height: 22-24 inches Weight: 70-90 lbs
Female Old English Sheepdog size stats
Height: 21-22 inches Weight: 60-80 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Cataracts
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Otitis Externa
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Deafness
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cerebellar Abiotrophy
  • Diabetes
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Hearing
  • Skin Scraping
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination
  • Ear Examination

Old English Sheepdog Breed History

The history of the Old English Sheepdog is still a bit of a mystery as there are many theories and ideas. The name implies that it originated as a sheep herder in England so that is the most popular theory. A small version of the drop eared dogs in a 1771 Gainsborough painting is thought to be a version of the Old English Sheepdog. According to the Old English Sheepdog Club of America, the Old English Sheepdog is one of the most ancient breeds of working dogs and the most recognizable with its long fur covering its face. The Old English Sheepdog is also one of the most popular show dogs, known mostly for their beautiful long coat and excellent personality. The Old English Sheepdog used for working with sheep and cattle was bred to be more suitable for the terrain and weather conditions they frequently encounter. In fact, many sheep farmers would shear their Old English Sheepdogs right along with their sheep. It is also said that the Old English Sheepdog started with the drovers of the 1800s, bred for their courage, steadiness, and stamina. They were needed to help the drovers steer sheep and cattle over long distances and to protect both the herds and flocks from the wolves. These furry giants also protected the drovers from the bulls and oxen. Although the Old English Sheepdog is still used as a herding dog in some areas, they are mostly found as companion pets or show dogs. They became popular as pets in the 1960s when the Walt Disney movie “The Shaggy Dog” was famous. Since then, there have been numerous Old English Sheepdogs in the movies and television such as Barney in the television show “Barney”, Lat on “The Brady Bunch”, and Barkley on “Sesame Street.”

Old English Sheepdog Breed Appearance

The Old English Sheepdog is a solid and strong dog, with a waterproof pile undercoat and a long, dense topcoat that is straight but not flat, and profuse but not excessive. The head is large and squared; eyes are either blue, brown, or both; ears are medium sized and flat; level bite with black lips and strong, even teeth; and an intelligent expression. The Old English Sheepdog has a long neck, large but compact body, well-sprung ribs, and a closely docked or bobtail. They have short, stout, but well-muscled legs, round feet with arched toes, and thick pads. The coat can come in many different colors but the five most common include grizzle and white; gray and white; blue merle and white; blue gray and white; and blue and white. Fur should be thick without giving the look of being fat, shaggy but not curly, hanging over eyes, and the texture should be hard and solid.

Appearance of Old English Sheepdog
Eye Color Possibilities
blue Old English Sheepdog eyes
Blue
brown Old English Sheepdog eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Old English Sheepdog nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
blue Old English Sheepdog coat
Blue
white Old English Sheepdog coat
White
gray Old English Sheepdog coat
Gray
brown Old English Sheepdog coat
Brown
fawn Old English Sheepdog coat
Fawn
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Old English Sheepdog straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Old English Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

Due to their large amount of hair, the Old English Sheepdog needs to be thoroughly brushed on a daily basis, especially if used as a show dog. Although many owners have their dog clipped or shaved if not a show dog, there are some tips that can help prevent that. For example, if you use a comb to strip the undercoat, you can usually keep their fur at full length. Their fur is thick and they cannot tolerate much heat so stripping the undercoat helps with that problem as well. However, even if you strip the undercoat, you will need to brush your Old English Sheepdog daily to prevent mats and tangles. They shed a lot, especially in April and May, but brushing can help control it some. Your Old English Sheepdog is not a couch potato and must get vigorous exercise every day such as a brisk walk and game of catch or a trip to the dog park.

Brushes for Old English Sheepdog
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Comb
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Old English Sheepdog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Old English Sheepdog Temperament

The Old English Sheepdog is a gentle giant but still has that herding tendency, so do not be surprised to find your dog trying to herd your other pets or even small children. They are cheerful and fun with an easy disposition although they make good watchdogs and have a very loud bark. They like to play and sometimes do not know when to quit so you will have to train your Old English Sheepdog to control the rowdiness sometimes. They can be a bit of a handful when training because they are so intelligent and headstrong. You will have to use constant reminders and positive reinforcement to keep the peace. They need frequent attention and do not like to be alone. If they get bored, you may find them digging a hole in the yard or tearing up your sofa. Be sure to keep plenty of mental activities inside and out to keep your Old English Sheepdog stimulated.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
6 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
40 minutes

Old English Sheepdog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.5 - $1.9
Monthly Cost
$39 - $52

Old English Sheepdog Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Old English Sheepdog at six months
Male Old English Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 7 inches Weight: 25 lbs
Female Old English Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 7 inches Weight: 17 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Old English Sheepdog at 12 months
Male Old English Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 13 inches Weight: 47 lbs
Female Old English Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 13 inches Weight: 37 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Old English Sheepdog at 18 months
Male Old English Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 75 lbs
Female Old English Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 65 lbs

Top Old English Sheepdog Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Old English Sheepdog breeders of 2018.
Top Old English Sheepdog breeder Lawpdoodle K9 Manor
Lawpdoodle K9 Manor
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Top Old English Sheepdog breeder Cranberry Hill Kennels
Cranberry Hill Kennels
Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Top Old English Sheepdog breeder Wigglebottom Farm
Wigglebottom Farm
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Top Old English Sheepdog breeder The House of Rex
The House of Rex
Metamora, Michigan
Top Old English Sheepdog breeder Rhoad's Old English Sheepdogs
Rhoad's Old English Sheepdogs
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Top Old English Sheepdog breeder Mt. Haggin OES
Mt. Haggin OES
Anaconda, Montana
Top Old English Sheepdog breeder Shaggeybark Old English Sheepdogs
Shaggeybark Old English Sheepdogs
Richmond, Virginia

Old English Sheepdog Owner Experiences

4 Months
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Tug-of-war
Playing with toys
I walked a very young Old English Sheepdog who was very sweet! He really loved to play with his toys and seemed like he would have preferred to stay inside and play instead of go out for a walk. He brought his stuffed animal and ball over to me the moment I arrived. He was still getting used to his leash and being outside so he was a little difficult to walk but this should get better as he gets older. He also wanted to put everything off the ground into his mouth-- even things like rocks and cigarette butts. These dogs are so cute, especially when they are puppies! They have very soft fur but it can get dirty easily and may require frequent grooming depending on where you walk them.
4 months, 3 weeks ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I have walked 2 Old English Sheepdogs before (same family) and they were quite a handful. The owner let me know they may take a little bit to warm up since I was a stranger, but they were fine when I arrived. On their walk, they pulled extremely hard, especially when they saw another dog. It took me awhile to get them away from the other dog (who was barking from its yard). The owner stated it was best to keep them away from other dogs, so we did avoid them as much as possible. They were both sweet, just very strong, and possibly haven’t been socialized with others dogs all that much. I have met other Sheepdogs with friends and family and seemed to do much better with other animals. They are large, but I think if trained and socialized, they make a great addition to the family!
4 months, 4 weeks ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Run
sniff
This dog was a pleasant surprise. I was unfamiliar with this breed but when I opened the door, a very large playful pup greeted me with hands full of energy. I was smiling the entire walk as this pup was so adorable and happy to be outside and exploring the outdoors. I thought that as big as this animal was, it wouldnt have the light energy that I experience. If I had a large house with a large fenced in back yard, I would love to have a pup like this. The energy was contagious and made my day. My only concern is that the white shaggy fur seemed to get very dirty along the walk picking up leaves and muddy dirt along the way. Other than that, this is definitely one of my favorite breeds as their energy is contagious.
4 months, 4 weeks ago
7 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Hunt
Eating Snacks
Tug-of-war
Tracking
Sheepdogs are the best. Just the sight of them should bring a smile to your face. They’re giant teddy bears. They’re so hugable. They love to walk. They love to sniff. My clients love to Play tug of war. They’re so strong but so gentle. They know they’re big dogs but they want to snuggle.
5 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd