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BaxterBoo Blog
May 28, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Old English Sheepdog

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  • Height: 20"- 24”
  • Weight: 60-65+ pounds. Males can be up to 100 pounds.
  • Historical function: Sheep herder and cattle driver
  • Modern function: Retrieving, herding, companion
  • AKC classification: Herding

Physical Characteristics:

The Old English Sheepdog is a large, squarely built athletic dog, though the actual shape and athletic build is somewhat hard to detect under all of that shaggy fur. The coat may be gray, silver, blue-gray, grizzled, with white. The eyes are brown, blue or may have one of each color. The teeth come together in a scissors bite. They are either born tailless (hence the bobtail name) or may be docked, though the practice is now illegal in many European countries.

History of the Breed:

The Old English Sheepdog was bred to herd sheep and drive cattle. Their coats were sheared in the spring along with the sheep to make clothing. These dogs were quite popular among the Western counties of England. They were given docked tails as a way to designate them as working dogs, which would also make them tax exempt.


The Old English Sheepdog is a happy hard worker. They are clever and often think independently as a way to manage livestock well. They are loyal, protective, and energetic. As  a large, independent thinker, it is wise for the trainer to be firm, clear, concise, yet kind to get the best results.

  • Best suited for: Active families who have some room in their home.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers to have a job.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This coat requires regular brushing and/or shaving in the spring.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk, or run.
  • Life expectancy: 12-12 years or jog. Work in the field can also be helpful.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia, anemia, and cataracts.

Breed Club Links: Old English Sheepdog Club of America Perfect Pairings: Zanies Barnyard Grunter for Large Dogs, Sheep.

Have any stories about a Old English Sheepdog? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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