Dog Health & More
The Old English Sheepdog is a large, athletic dog breed with an unmistakable shaggy coat. The Old English Sheepdog was historically a drover, helping farmers drive cattle and sheep to the market. Today, the good-natured Old English Sheepdog enjoys the comfort of home life and still competes in conformation, obedience, agility, and herding trials. He's an adaptable, intelligent dog with an easygoing disposition.
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The wonderfully shaggy Old English Sheepdog is a favorite in children's television shows and movies, where he's usually an affable, if sometimes bumbling, character. But, hair and Hollywood glitz aside, who is the OES?
In reality, the OES — nicknamed "Bobtail" because of his docked tail (traditionally kept short to identify him as a drover) — is an easygoing, fun-loving, intelligent dog. He's a member of the American Kennel Club Herding Group. He's certainly a large dog at 60 to 100 pounds, but his profuse coat of blue-gray and white makes him appear even larger. Known for his wonderful temperament, he's powerful, sturdy, and hardworking.
Those who know and love him are familiar with his sense of humor. He can be playful and comical, although he is also the guardian and protector of his family.
You can't talk about the OES without talking about hair, a lot of hair. This coat needs more care than most. It's long and prone to matting if not regularly brushed. Many owners clip the hair short — but if he is to be a show dog, the OES cannot be trimmed short.
Expect three to four hours of grooming per week — perhaps more — plus monthly visits to a grooming salon. Not surprisingly, a common reason that OES owners surrender their dogs to rescue organizations is because of the time and cost of caring for the coat. Anyone considering this breed must think long and hard about grooming and related care.
The OES is highly adaptable. To some people's surprise, he does well in an apartment if he is exercised regularly. In spite of his working heritage, he is not a good candidate for a backyard dog. He wants to be, and should be, with his family, and he can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too long. He is trainable and responds well to a firm owner who is kind and consistent. He gets along well with other dogs and pets.
With his shaggy coat, keen mind, and bobbed tail, the OES is a great addition to any family with the time and patience to care for him.