The Old English Sheepdog is trustworthy, bold, agile, active and good-natured. Old English Sheepdogs love being part of a family and are a very adaptable breed. They socialize well with other dogs, children and family pets. Old English Sheepdogs greet strangers warmly and are not particularly alert. They can be boisterous in nature and will join in every possible activity with great enthusiasm. Old English Sheepdogs want to please their handlers and rarely show dominant behavior, however training can be slow.
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Grooming with these dogs is very demanding. They require regular, thorough brushing as least once a week. When the coat is moulting its quite possible that a rubbish bag full of hair can be collected after a brush. If the coat is left ungroomed for a length of time it will quickly become matted to a degree that leaves little alternative but to clip. Old English Sheepdogs that are being shown should have a higher rear than the shoulders, which is achieved when the hair is groomed upwards. It is also important that the ears are kept free of dirt and hair and that the nails are trimmed. The excess hair between the pads of the feet should also be clipped short.
Old English Sheepdogs need a fair amount of exercise, but will not grumble if a day goes by without any. They love playing with a ball or similar activities and are best suited for rural homes with a spacious backyard. Old English Sheepdogs can do well in various dog sports.
The Old English Sheepdog has not been around as long as many other dog breeds. It is thought that they evolved from the Bearded Collie in the early 19th century and possibly with crosses from the Briard and the Hungarian sheepdog. Farmers commonly docked this breeds tails in the early 19th century to claim exemption from English taxes. This was because the longer haired 'luxury' dogs only qualified as working dogs if the tails were docked.
General Appearance: Ambling walk, shaggy, strong and compact.
Color: Grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle, with or without white markings.
Coat: The outer coat is shaggy, hard in texture and harsh. The undercoat is waterproof.
Tail: Commonly docked completely or from the first joint.
Ears: Small and carried flat against the side of the head.
Body: The body is quite short and compact. The loins are strong and slightly arched and the shoulders are sloping. The chest is well developed and the brisket is deep and full.
- The Old English Sheepdogs have been nicknamed the Bobtail, because their tails are customarily docked.
- If the coat is not properly cared for and well-groomed, it can cause skin parasites.