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Old English Sheepdog

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Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a square-proportioned, thick-set dog, combining agility with strength. Its compact body is broader at the rump than shoulders. A distinguishing characteristic is the top-line, which is lower at the withers than the loin. Its gait is free, powerful and ground-covering, yet gives the appearance of being effortless. This breed may pace or amble at slower speeds. Its ambling gait is sometimes described as a “bearlike” roll or shuffle. The coat is profuse, but not excessive. It consists of a waterproof undercoat and a hard, shaggy outer coat that is neither straight nor curly. The expression is intelligent. The bobtail’s bark should be loud, with a “pot-casse” ring to it.

The breed standards describe the ideal Old English Sheepdog as never being nervous or aggressive. The New Zealand Kennel Club adds that “they are sometimes couch potatoes” and “may even try to herd children by gently bumping them.” This breed’s temperament can be described as intelligent, social and adaptable.

The American Kennel Club adds that the breed has “a clownish energy” and “may try to herd people or other objects.” With wide open spaces being the ideal setting for an Old English Sheepdog, the breed is a natural fit in a rural setting, such as working on a farm; although, with proper exercise and training, they are perfectly comfortable with a suburban or urban lifestyle. Their remarkable, inherent herding instincts, sense of duty, and sense of property boundaries may be nurtured and encouraged accordingly, or subdued by their owners. Old English Sheepdogs should not be deprived of the company and the warmth of people.


History

There are a few theories about the origin of the Old English Sheepdog. One is that it is related to the Poodle and the Scottish Deerhound. Other theories are it is related to the Briard and the Bergamasco, or from Scotch Bearded Collies and the Russian Owtchar, a hairy Russian breed brought to Great Britain on ships from the Baltic. The Old English Sheepdog was developed in the western counties of England by farmers who needed a quick, well-coordinated sheep herder and cattle driver to take their animals to market. The dogs became widely used in agricultural areas.

Farmers began the practice of docking the tails in the 18th century as a way of identifying the dogs that were used for working so they could get a tax exemption. For this reason the dogs were given the nickname “Bobtail.” Each spring, when the sheep were sheared, farmers would also shear the dogs’ coats to make warm clothing and blankets. The Old English Sheepdog has been used for reindeer herding because it tolerates cold weather so well. It was first shown in Britain in 1873 and by the AKC in 1888. Some of the Old English Sheepdog’s talents include: retrieving, herding and watchdog.

 
Breed Information

Other names

OES

Origin

Old English Sheepdog 1  United Kingdom

Breed Group

Herding (AKC:1888 & UKC)

Size

Large

Type

Purebred

Life span

10-12 years

Temperament

Adaptable

Bubbly

Intelligent

Loving

Playful

Sociable

Protective

Height

Male: 22-24 inches (56-61 cm)

Female: 20-22 inches (51 cm)

Weight

Male: from 65 pounds (29 kg)

Female: from 60 pounds (27 kg)

Colors

Blue & White

Blue Gray & White

Blue Merle & White

Gray & White

Grizzle & White

Litter Size

5-8 puppies

Puppy Price

Average $1000 – $2000 USD

Source: DogBreedListinfo.org

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