Old English Sheepdog
Group: Herding Group
Origin: Great Britain
– Males: 22 inches (55.8 cm) and up
– Females: 21 inches (53.3 cm) and up
– Males: 80 to 100 lbs.
– Females: 60 to 85 lbs.
The Old English Sheepdog, or the Bobtail, is believed to have descended from a variety of European herding breeds and was developed by English sheep farmers to herd and drive sheep to market. The breed can be traced back over 200 years. The first Old English Sheepdog Club was founded in 1888.
He is a playful, agile dog, excellent with children and a dependable family protector. He is intelligent, adaptable and good-natured with no signs of agression, shyness or nervousness. The Old English Sheepdog is very affectionate and makes an ideal companion in the home.
Physically, he is a muscular, compact-looking dog with a very intelligent expression. The OES’s most distinctive feature is his profuse coat. It is of a fairly hard texture, shaggy but not curly. The undercoat is a waterproof pile. He may be any shade of grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle, with or without white markings.
Like all breeds of dogs, the Old English Sheepdog is susceptible to certain health problems, including:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Eye Disorders including Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
If you are considering the adoption of a Old English Sheepdog puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. For the Old English Sheepdog, breeding stock should have been x-rayed for hip dysplasia and certified by the OFA, PennHip or OVA as normal prior to breeding. In addition, males and females used for breeding should have CERF certificates indicating that they are clear of hereditary eye disorders — eye exams should be repeated every two years and recertified by CERF. BAER testing is also recommended for the Old English Sheepdog as there is a high incidence of hereditary deafness in the breed. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)
Additional Health Resources:
- OESCA Health and Research
- Health and Nutrition — Growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
The Old English Sheepdog’s coat is known to shed and can take three to four hours per week to groom but this should suffice to help maintain a mat-free coat. If left uncombed, however, the coat will quickly become dirty and matted.
- Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
- Is a Dog from the Herding Group Right for You?
- Herding Dogs — A section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes training and general information about Herding/Stock Dogs; listing of Stock Dog Clubs and Associations; listing of upcoming shows and events; and more.
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org
*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.