The Old English Sheepdog can instantly be recognised as the ‘Dulux Dog’ and with that star quality of theirs, they’re just as likely to be spotted gracing TV shows with their presence as a much-loved family pet. But who’s the star under that unmistakable shaggy coat? Beneath their generous fluffy exterior is a solid, good-natured dog with a cracking sense of humour. Often called the ‘Bob-tail’ due to a docked tail, this sheepdog is adaptable, friendly and highly social. You’ll laugh at their sometimes clownish tendencies; they thrive in making their loving owners laugh.
Breed Group: Pastoral
Coat length: Long
Exercise: An hour per day
Grooming required?: A double coat requires almost daily grooming to stay snag-free
Despite their acclaimed rise to fame, little is known about the Old English Sheepdog’s true origin. In tribute to its name, the English Sheepdog is thought to have been bred from other pastoral dogs in areas such as Somerset and Devon as a large dog capable not only of driving cattle and sheep but also of protecting the herd. Today, they’re more likely to be bred as a family pet or show dog.
Old English Sheepdogs usually live 10-11 years. Some health concerns to be aware of include hip dysplasia, deafness, diabetes, and allergies. Their luxurious thick double coat also makes the English Sheepdog prone to skin conditions and matting can occur very quickly without proper coat care.
Despite the OES’s active past, the breed has a tendency to be a ‘coach potato’. With the right amount of exercise, the Old English Sheepdog is quite content to relax inside and can comfortably enjoy apartment life.
No wonder the Old English Sheepdog has had so many acclaimed roles, their natural inclination is to make you laugh. They take pride in your dismay at their antics and may even try to ‘herd’ you with their circling and poking tendancies. If you’re looking for a dog who loves to play with bundles of enthusiasm then the Old English Sheepdog may be for you.
Old English Sheepdogs are extremely good-natured and make for an incredibly peaceful pet. They adore their owners and want to be with them as much as possible, whether that’s as a walking companion, or just for a romp in the garden. However this breed does consider itself a fully-fledged member of your family and can become anxious if left alone for long periods of time.
Old English Sheepdogs need a firm but friendly hand to help them learn. They’re naturally intelligent and learned how to fend for themselves due to their history as herders, so you can expect an independent streak. Training and obedience should start early on and positive praise and treats will all help turn your Sheepdog pup into an admirable citizen.
Owners report that housetraining the Old English Sheepdog is straight-forward and simple.
Where to find the Old English Sheepdog
In the Old English Sheepdog’s native country it’s easy to find other OES fans – find a local breed group from the list below.
Find an Old English Sheepdog with peace of mind by using this list of Kennel Club assured breeders.
Adopt an Old English Sheepdog
Make an Old English Sheepdog part of the family by adopting one from one of the rescue centres below.