The Old English Sheepdog is a big-sized shepherding dog. It is strong, symmetrical, with a harmonious structure and completely covered by plenty of fur. It is a dog with a tolerant temperament, excellent to coexist with children and other pets.
It is uncertain which dogs took part in the Old English Sheepdog’s formation. The possible ancestors are the Briard, the Bergamasco Shepherd, the Bearded Collies and the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. What it is certain about this breed is that it comes from the West of England during the XIX century, and its breeders were sheepherders who looked for an agile and resistant dog which could lead their cattle and flock of sheep from the fields to the market. After its first appearance in an exhibition in 1880, the Old English Sheepdog breed was recognized by the Kennel Club.
The docked tail was a used characteristic during the XVIII century to identify shepherding dogs, and so their owners did not have to pay taxes for these dogs. This tradition, although it is no longer useful, is in the breed’s Standard. Moreover, it was used for the breeding of those lineages which did not have tail.
It is characteristically covered by plenty of rough fur. It is a strong dog with a square shape, chubby and muscular structure. It has a big and squared head with small ears in both sides. Its head, neck, front limbs and the lower part of its belly are White, and the markings can be grey or blue.
It is a big-sized shepherding dog, with a height to the withers of 63cm and a weight between 30 and 40 kg. The tail is usually docked, or there are specimens that are born without it. That is why it has the nickname of Bobtail; it is thought that this habit was developed because of the breeders’ ambition of not paying taxes for these dogs, because they were considered to be a luxury. This dog has a characteristically deep and penetrating barking.
The Old English Sheepdog is a docile, loyal, and adaptable dog with a good temperament. This dog tends to be part of families with children because it can easily adapt to different circumstances, is resistant and playful. However, it has a noticeable shepherding instinct, and it may be seem pushing children with its body.
It can turn lazy if it is not stimulated with exercise and games. It also needs its own space to be alone and it tends to get on with other pets at home.
Its coat demands a lot of attention; the puppies are born with a short and soft coat but it will son grow until it is longer and thicker, that is why it needs to be cleaned up daily to keep it healthy without cutting it. The easiest way to do this is to make it used to this habit since it is a puppy with a daily brushing between 5 and 10 minutes, which if it is deep and intense, can keep its coat flawless for the rest of its life. It is important to keep in mind that because of its coat it is not a breed which can live in warm places.
One of the Bobtail’s weaknesses is the fearsome hip dysplasia and the “Wobbler disease”.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/016g01-en.pdf