Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdogs are famous the world over, with a teddy-bear-like appearance, you will probably recognise them from the Dulux Paint commercials or the Looney Tunes cartoons. Their long, shaggy coats cover thickset bodies, but we don't judge. Their eyes appear to be totally covered by hair, yet remarkably their vision is still spot on—it's not impaired at all. From behind, their walk is a bear-like roll and when trotting their fur ripples and bounces. Adorable.

Other Names
OES, Bobtail, Bob
Country of Origin
Great Britain
Colour
Any shade of grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle with or without white markings. Browns and fawns can also be seen.
Size
Large
Height / Weight
Bitches measure 56cms at the withers, dogs 61cms; there are no upper height limits. Bitches' weight starts at 30kgs, dogs at 36kgs. Again no upper weights can be given, it will depend on the size of the animals.
Health
Hip Dysplasia is a real problem in this breed and screening of both parents is a must so you know what you're in for! Wobbler syndrome is also reported and usually shows up early, between 3-12 months-of age. Sadly, this can result in total quadriplegia. Deafness is reported in some lines, and care must be taken when grooming to catch any skin or coat problems early on. Less commonly reported are: juvenile cataracts and prepubertal vaginitis in the girls, which usually clears with the first oestrous cycle. Other common ailments include bone issues like hip dysplasia; deafness, endocrine issues, acromegaly, hereditary cataracts.
Life Span
12-13 years
Intelligence
This is an intelligent breed who needs firm handling during training to overcome their strong wills. However, they do want to please their handler, and if you're a strong enough leader, they'll agree that that is you. They can get a bit obstinate if they think themselves superior, mind you. Early training is imperative to control the breed's boisterous behaviour.
Exercise
High
Suitability (Children)
High
Feeding

As puppies care must be taken to follow the breeder's recommended diet sheet to ensure the correct nutrients are given to promote healthy bones. Though they're a big dog, fear not! Your food bill isn't going to break the bank. Sheepdogs aren't fussy eaters, and aren't even BIG eaters, especially considering their size.

Feeding Cost
More than $20
Other Cost
Grooming can get pretty pricey if you have to get it done professionally but you can learn to do it yourself.
Excercise
Bobtails need owners who are super dedicated to giving them a lot of exercise although care must be taken when they are puppies to ensure no bone problems develop through over-exercise. So if you're training for a marathon, you will be a great owner for a Sheepdog, as they need to be taken on a daily walk, jog or run. Make sure they stay at your heel, though, as the leader of the pack should be at the front, and you definitely want the leader to be you.
Ailments
Hip Dysplasia is a real problem in this breed and screening of both parents is a must so you know what you're in for! Wobbler syndrome is also reported and usually shows up early, between 3-12 months-of age. Sadly, this can result in total quadriplegia. Deafness is reported in some lines, and care must be taken when grooming to catch any skin or coat problems early on. Less commonly reported are: juvenile cataracts and prepubertal vaginitis in the girls, which usually clears with the first oestrous cycle. Other common ailments include bone issues like hip dysplasia; deafness, endocrine issues, acromegaly, hereditary cataracts.
Hair Shed
Heavy
Grooming

Grooming needs are high and should start from a pup. When puppies shed their adolescent coats, it is imperative that you spend the necessary time to ensure the old coat doesn't get matted with the new one. If left for any length of time, the coat can become so matted that the only solution is to clip the whole thing off, entirely defeating the purpose of owning a luxuriously long-haired dog! They constantly shed their coats and, like sheep, they are prone to having dirty back-ends which will obviously need cleaning up.

Regularly check inside their ears. Ensure claws are kept short and clip them as necessary. Any excessive hair between the pads on the feet should also be trimmed regularly. 

Grooming Frequency
Daily
Trimming
Frequent
Despite the name, Old English, records are fuzzy as to whether the breed is either Old or even all English. The breed emerged in England in the mid 1700s and it seems likely, given its characteristics, that it is linked to ancient herding dogs, including the Bergamasco, the Bearded Collie, the Briard and the Armant. The nickname Bobtail is significant in its history: in England in the 18th century, tax exemption was granted to drover dogs, which helped drive the herds to market. To mark these dogs, their tails were docked, giving them a bobtail. OESs were excellent at this job because of their eagerness and weather-resistant coats. However there were no doggie spa days to send them off to keep their coats in supple condition, so instead they were sheared annually along with the sheep. The farmers wives spun the dog shearings as well as the sheep's wool into warm clothing. So many people actually wore clothes made from wool and sheepdog. In 1873, the breed made its first appearance in a British Show and demand was soon to follow in America, Canada and other countries around the world.


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