Old English Sheepdog: The Ultimate Dog Guide


The Old English Sheepdog, affectionately known as the “Bobtail,” is a breed steeped in history. Originally from the western counties of England, this breed was developed for herding sheep and cattle. Interestingly, their bobbed tail, a distinguishing feature, was a sign of a working dog, exempting owners from taxation. Old English Sheepdogs are large, athletic animals covered with an abundance of shaggy fur. They are as intelligent as they are agile, making them perfect for tasks requiring physical and mental adeptness. Their characteristic ‘bear-like’ shuffle and kind, intelligent eyes concealed beneath their shaggy coat, make them easily recognizable and a favorite among dog lovers.

Attribute Description
Origin England
Tamaño Grande
Altura 21-22 inches at the shoulder
Peso 60-100 pounds
Duración de la vida 10-12 years
Coat Type Double coat; hard, shaggy outer coat and soft, waterproof undercoat
Coat Colors Blue, blue merle, grizzle, gray, often with white markings
Temperamento Gentle, intelligent, adaptable, playful
Exercise Needs High; requires regular exercise
Aseo High; requires regular brushing and professional grooming
Dieta A balanced diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals
Common Health Issues Hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, certain types of heart conditions

Detailed Description of the Old English Sheepdog

Physical Characteristics

Old English Sheepdogs stand at about 21 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 60 to 100 pounds. Their most distinctive feature is their double coat, with a hard, shaggy outer coat and a soft, waterproof undercoat. The coat color varies from blue, blue merle, grizzle, and gray, often with white markings.

Behavioral Traits

Known for their adaptable and intelligent nature, Old English Sheepdogs are excellent companions. They are generally gentle and playful, great with children, and get along well with other animals. Their herding instinct might come through at times, causing them to try to “herd” family members, especially children.

Care and Maintenance of the Old English Sheepdog

Dietary Requirements

Like all dogs, Old English Sheepdogs require a balanced diet to stay healthy. A diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals is essential. Portion sizes should be monitored to prevent overeating, as the breed can be prone to obesity.

Grooming and Coat Maintenance

The Old English Sheepdog’s thick coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Brushing several times a week and professional grooming every two months can help keep their coat in top condition.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Despite their laid-back appearance, Old English Sheepdogs are quite energetic and require regular exercise. Daily walks, playtime in the yard, and mentally stimulating games are crucial for their well-being.

Health and Wellness of the Old English Sheepdog

Common Health Issues in Old English Sheepdogs

While generally a robust breed, some health issues can occur. Common ones include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and certain types of heart conditions. Regular check-ups with the vet can help identify potential problems early.

Lifespan and Aging

With good care, Old English Sheepdogs can live up to 10-12 years. As they age, their activity levels might decrease, and they may require specialized care to maintain their health and comfort.

Training an Old English Sheepdog

Early Socialization

Socialization from an early age is important for Old English Sheepdogs. Exposure to a variety of people, animals, and environments can help them grow into well-rounded dogs.

Basic Obedience Training

Their intelligent and eager-to-please nature makes Old English Sheepdogs generally easy to train. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key during training sessions.

Living with an Old English Sheepdog

Suitable Living Conditions

Old English Sheepdogs can adapt to a variety of living conditions, but they do need ample space to move around. They’re best suited to homes with a yard where they can play and exercise.

Interaction with Family and Other Pets

Old English Sheepdogs thrive on companionship and do well in homes where they can spend plenty of time with their family. They also generally get along well with other pets.

Adopting and Buying an Old English Sheepdog

Factors to Consider Before Adoption or Purchase

Before bringing an Old English Sheepdog home, consider factors like the size of your living space, the time you can devote to grooming and exercise, and any allergies in the household.

Choosing a Reputable Breeder

If buying, ensure to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament over appearance. They should provide health clearances for both parents’ dogs.

Old English Sheepdogs in Popular Culture

Famous Old English Sheepdogs in Movies and Television

Old English Sheepdogs have been featured in various movies and TV shows, like ‘The Shaggy Dog,’ and ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,’ showcasing their charm and distinct appearance.

Influence on Literature and Art

Their unique appearance and loving nature have also made them popular subjects in literature and art, further increasing their popularity and appeal.

Fun Activities with Your Old English Sheepdog

Competitive Obedience and Agility

Old English Sheepdogs excel in competitive obedience and agility trials due to their natural agility and quick learning. These activities provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation, making them a great choice for this breed.

Herding Trials

Since Old English Sheepdogs were originally bred for herding, many still have the instinct and enjoy participating in herding trials. This can be a fun and enriching activity to do with your dog.

Traveling with Your Old English Sheepdog

Preparation and Safety

Traveling with an Old English Sheepdog requires some preparation. Make sure to have a sturdy leash, a comfortable crate for car rides or plane travel, and enough food and water for the journey.


Old English Sheepdogs can adapt to different environments, making them great travel companions. They would enjoy trips to the beach, mountains, or even dog-friendly urban locations.

Responsible Breeding and Preservation

Importance of Responsible Breeding

Responsible breeding is essential to maintain the health and temperament of the Old English Sheepdog breed. Breeders should adhere to guidelines set by breed clubs and kennel clubs to ensure the best for the breed.

Preservation Efforts

Preservation of the Old English Sheepdog breed is vital. Joining breed clubs, participating in dog shows, and supporting responsible breeders can all contribute to the preservation of this unique breed.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

Myths About Old English Sheepdogs

There are some common myths about Old English Sheepdogs, such as them being lazy or excessively stubborn. In reality, while they may have a laid-back demeanor, they are active and intelligent dogs.

Addressing Misconceptions

Addressing these misconceptions is essential to understanding and appreciating the breed fully. By doing your research and speaking with breed experts, you can learn more about the true nature of the Old English Sheepdog.


Owning an Old English Sheepdog is a commitment of time and care, but the reward is a loyal, loving, and intelligent companion. Their adaptability and playful nature make them great additions to the family. Before adopting or buying, ensure you are ready to meet the needs of an Old English Sheepdog. With the right care and environment, these shaggy companions can bring a lot of joy and happiness to your home.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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