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Old English Sheepdog breed Information

Old English Sheepdog Ultimate Guide 2020

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The Old English Sheepdog is a dog breed that is big and athletic, with a shaggy coat that is unmistakable. This breed popularly called OES for short by his fans was a drover historically; he helped farmers drive sheep and cattle to markets. Nowadays, this kind dog comfortably enjoys home life yet competes still in herding trials, agility, obedience, and conformation.

Despite the fact that these dogs are purebred, they can be found in rescue groups and shelters. Remember to always adopt, if you desire to purchase a dog, don't shop!

The OES dog breed is intelligent, adaptable, and has an easy going temperament. They show all their family members affection, regardless of being large dogs, these dogs can suitably adapt to apartment life in as much as they exercise sufficiently through play sessions and walks. Even though their coat is shaggy, they don't shed excessively. If you desire a loving, protective, and loyal family companion, this breed may be your choice.

The Characteristics of the Old English Sheepdog Dog Breed


  • In general, this dog has a high level of adaptability with a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars. The dog adapts very well to apartment living, having a complete 5 stars out of 5 stars rating.
  • The dog is easygoing, takes training well and has enough resilience to recover from your inconsistencies and mistakes, so he is good for novice owners, having 4 stars out of 5 stars for this.
  • Concerning the sensitivity level of this dog breed, he scores 4 stars out of 5 stars, he is very sensitive.
  • The tolerance of this breed is low when it comes to being alone, having 2 stars out of 5 stars rating here, this breed will prefer the presence of a family member at home in the day time and or if they can be taken to work.
  • As regards tolerance to cold weather this dog breed tolerates cold weather very well, having a score rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars for this. But they don’t tolerate hot weather well, they shouldn’t exercise much in the heat, here, they have 2 stars out of 5 stars rating.

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All Around Friendliness

  • They have an overall 4 stars out of 5 stars rating as regards their all around friendliness, implying that they are very friendly generally.
  • This breed is very affectionate with their family members, they give every family member their affection, here they have a perfect score rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.
  • Regarding their level of friendliness towards kids, they rate 4 stars out of 5 stars, indicating that they are very friendly with children and they relate very well with them.
  • This dog breed also has an equally high friendly disposition towards dogs, they would prefer to play with other dogs than to fight with them. They are highly dog – friendly, having a score rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.
  • This dog breed is the kind that will greet visitors with nuzzles and waggling tails, this indicates the breed’s high level of friendliness towards strangers; here they rate 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Health and Grooming Needs

  • Their health and grooming needs are fair in general, here they have a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.
  • As regards their amount of shedding, it is very low, they hardly shed hair having a rating of just 1 star out of 5 stars. Their drooling potential is high, a neatnik might not get along well with this breed; they have a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars for this.
  • They have a very thick and heavy coat therefore, this breed is not easy to groom, having a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars. You should pay someone to do the grooming for you if you don’t have the time for it.
  • They have a very good general health condition, having a score rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars here. They aren’t very liable to many diseases and their major health concerns are few.
  • Concerning their potential for weight gains, they gain weight very easily, they have a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars. Their treats should be limited and they should adequately exercise. Being a large dog, they have a big size, their size rates 4 stars out of 5 stars.


  • Overall, they are fairly and relatively trainable with their rating for trainability being 3 stars out of 5 stars.
  • As regards how easy they are to train, they have a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars, implying that they are fairly easy to train.
  • This dog breed is very intelligent, having a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars. They require frequent brain exercising activities through tools such as interactive toys for dogs and obedience training helps too.
  • They have a low potential for mouthiness, they don’t really chew, nip, or play – bite on humans and objects. They have 2 stars out of 5 stars rating here. Their prey drive is moderate, their rating here is 3 stars out of 5 stars.
  • This breed isn’t the one to make much noise, as their tendency to Bark and Howl is rated 1 star out of 5 stars. Also, their wanderlust potential is rated just 2 stars out of 5 stars indicating a low potential for wanderlust.

Physical Needs

  • The physical needs of this dog breed are generally high, they have a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars as regards their physical needs in general.
  • Their energy level is high, here they rate 4 stars out of 5 stars. This dog needs a substantial amount of mental stimulation and exercise because they were bred originally for herding livestock, they have developed the stamina for a whole workday.
  • As regards their level of intensity, they are quite vigorous and fairly intense they rate 3 stars out of 5 stars. They still need to be taught good manners needed for living with a family.
  • This breed requires a lot of exercise, they rate 4 stars out of 5 stars for their exercise needs. They are good for active people and they can be trained to compete in high energy sports for dogs.
  • Concerning their potential for playfulness, they rate 4 stars out of 5 stars indicating they are very playful dogs. They always want to play a game with you even after they have outgrown their puppy years.

Important Stats About Old English Sheepdog

  • Dog Breed Group – Herding Dogs
  • Height –  From 21 inches tall by the shoulder
  • Weight –  60 – 100 pounds 
  • Life Span – 10 – 12

More Information About the Old English Sheepdog

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The Old English Sheepdog is very famous in children’s movies and television shows. The dog has a friendly and at times bumbling character on screen. Asides the glitz of Hollywood, who is this wonderfully shaggy dog called OES for short?

In real life, the OES who is nicknamed “Bobtail” which indicates his tail which was docked (kept short traditionally for identifying him to be a drover) is intelligent, fun–loving and easy–going. He is definitely a large dog whose weight ranges from 60 – 100 pounds, but he looks even larger because of his lavish coat of white and blue–gray. He has a wonderful temperament and he is hardworking, sturdy, and powerful.

His sense of humor is known very well by his fans. He tends to be playful and comical, but he still remains the protector and guardian of the family he belongs to.

One of the hallmark attributes of this dog breed is his hair and he has a lot of it. His coat needs abundant care than most dogs’ coats. Their hair is long and if not brushed regularly it is liable to matting. A lot of owners shorten the hair by clipping it, but the OES can’t be clipped short if he is meant to be a show dog.

His grooming would take three to four hours per week, possibly more and visits to the grooming salon every month. Not surprisingly, one common reason OES owners give rescue organizations their dogs is that the cost and time caring for the dog’s coat takes is a lot. His coat is really high maintenance. Making sure it is kept tangled–free and clean is expensive and time – consuming. He was bred originally for driving sheep and cattle, therefore he is a very active breed and he requires adequate exercise. 

This dog breed is very adaptable. To the amazement of some people, he adapts well to an apartment given that he is regularly exercised. Despite the fact that he served as a working dog historically, he isn’t the backyard dog type. He desires to be and is supposed to stay with his own family also if he is left alone for too long, he can have separation anxiety. In fact, they can exhibit destructive behaviors if you leave them alone for too long. He responds well to training by an owner that is firm, who is also consistent and kind. He relates fine with other pets and dogs.

Proper socialization and training are very much needed for the Old English Sheepdog. They are enthusiastic, bouncy, and large, but during their young stage, they can especially be rowdy. Consistent and patient training is a must. This dog breed isn’t for a clean freak. They drool a lot and shed a lot too. Also, their heavy and thick coats trap dirt and debris which eventually decorates your floor and furniture.  

If you desire a pet that is healthy, never purchase your puppy from some pet store, puppy mill, or backyard breeder. Look for a breeder that is reputable who conducts tests on the dogs she is using for breeding to know if they have good temperaments and to know their hereditary health conditions.

Having a bobbed tail, keen mind, and shaggy coat, the OES dog breed is a wonderful companion dog to any family that has the patience and time to care adequately for him.

What Is the History/Origin of Old English Sheepdog?

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Clearly, this dog breed’s origin is part of the most unclear canine origins in the world. Evidence shows that the dog breed comes from Southwestern countries in England somewhere during the early years of the 19th century, though it might have originated from the Russian Owtchar, or the Scottish Bearded Collie, or altogether another dog.

At the historical time that the breed was suspected to have originated from, a dog used by farmers to drive sheep and cattle to market was described in writings. Their tails were docked by their owners to show that they indeed were drovers’ dogs, also, they commonly nicknamed the dogs “Bobtail” or “Bob.”

The OES breed became very noticeable during the late 1880s, which was the time he arrived in the U.S, Pittsburgh Industrialist called W. Wade was the first to own the dog. In 1900, the dog breed was bred, exhibited, and owned by only five U.S families that are wealthy. The status of this dog changed in 1960 from just being a wealthy man’s dog to being a popular family pet. By mid – 1970, 15,000 OES were registered every year. However, there has been a decline in this number as a result of the effort, time, and cost the OES coat consumes. 

The breed got to Australia during the mid-19th century, and it wasn’t just a working dog, it was also a companion dog to the shepherds. This dog breed was not used as a working dog by Australian farmers any longer when most properties were fenced and when some other breeds were discovered to be better suited for the job. The OES is well-known as a spokesdog in Australia, in 1960, this dog appeared in an advertising campaign for Dulux. The dog gained so much popularity that people began to call him “the Dulux dog”. 

What Is The Average Size of An Old English Sheepdog?

Males are as tall as 22 inches and they weigh 80 – 100 pounds. Females are as tall as 21 inches and they weigh 60 – 85 pounds.

What Is the Personality of the Old English Sheepdog

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The OES is a clown who is playful and affectionate and delights in playing with both his family members and neighborhood children. In fact, his adolescence stage often extends up to age three, and even from his adult stage till his old age, he retains this wonderful playful character. 

This dog breed is intelligent, he learns really fast, and he is always searching for something fun and interesting to do. He has the capability to do many tasks, including search and rescue, obedience, agility, and herding.

The Old English Dog breed needs a substantial amount of mental and physical exercise. He hates to be left alone, without the company of his family for long time periods and he much prefers – actually needs – the company of his family members.

An OES that is properly bred is kind and good–natured, and this is why he is a great family dog and an exceptional children’s companion. People sometimes call him a nanny, a complimentary word given to him because of the stories about the roles he plays sometimes in his family.

However, this dog is not recognized as a firm and assertive watchdog. When strangers are at his home, he may or may not bark. Some of them are very protective while some others are not.

What Are The Major Health Concerns Of The Old English Sheepdog Breed?

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The OES are healthy dog breeds in general, but just like other dog breeds, they are also prone to specific health conditions. Not every Old English Sheepdog will have all or any of these specific diseases, nevertheless, it is essential that anyone considering this dog breed should be aware of these conditions.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

This health condition can be hereditary, it occurs when the thigh bone is not perfectly fitted into the dog’s hip joint. Signs and Symptoms in some dogs include lameness and pain in one both or one of the rear legs, while others may not show any signs indicating discomfort and yet they also have the disease. However, as the dog grows older, he can develop arthritis.


Cataract causes dullness on the dog’s eye’s lens, leading to poor vision. The eye(s) will look cloudy. The health condition usually happens during old age and sometimes it can be removed surgically to enable better vision.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

 This is one of the eye diseases which lead to the process by which the dog’s retina gradually deteriorates. At the early stages of the disease, the dog develops night blindness. As this disease progresses, the dog loses his daytime vision. A lot of dogs adapt very well to complete or limited loss of vision giving that there are no changes in their surroundings.


This occurs as a result of the insufficient supply of the specific hormone the dog’s thyroid gland produces. A symptom of this disease that is not severe might be infertility. More apparent symptoms and signs are irregular cycles of heat, lethargy, mental dullness, and obesity. The dog’s fur becomes brittle and coarse and then falls out, while his skin becomes dark and tough.


The cause of this health condition is said to be hereditary; it is relatively common and it can give many challenges to both the owner and the dog. Some types of hearing loss and deafness can be cured through surgery and medication, but most times deafness can’t be cured. A dog that is deaf needs a lot of time and patience and there exist several aids in the market, an example is the vibrating collar that ensures an easier life for the dog.

How To Take Care Of Old English Sheepdogs

OES loves activities due to his working background. Today, these dog breeds are skilled participants in agility trials and sheepherding, and both activities demand a physically fit and healthy dog. Make sure you dedicate an hour or two every day for exercise as a part of his routine.

Definitely, the needs of your dog vary according to his age. The puppies have plenty of energy – to the extent that if you don’t keep them busy with appropriate activities, they will make use of their energy to destroy your house. While older dogs might prefer to just lie down on your couch (with no space left) and need your encouragement to engage in exercise activities. Note, that an OES can willingly adjust to a reduced amount of exercise, though it isn’t a particularly healthy change for him.

However, you should reduce outdoor exercises during hot weather conditions. The OES’s dense coat is tremendously warm and your dog can experience overheating easily and quickly.

Every dog should be given obedience training, most especially breeds that are large dogs such as the Old English Sheepdog. The fundamental commands (“stay”, “come”, “down”, and “sit”) are essential for daily living with a dog, but when you have a muddy and wet OES coat added to the mix, you will come to realize these commands and orders are crucial. Fortunately, the OES learns quickly and he is really intelligent.

The Old English Sheepdog doesn’t take confinements well, so if your puppy is crate trained, be sure not to leave him inside the crate for too long. Let him stay out of the crate whenever you are at home; the Old English Sheepdog dog breed becomes sensitive to having his beloved family shut him off.

The Old English Sheepdog grows from one pound to sixty, during age one. When he has grown fully, his weigh might be up to 100 pounds. As a result of this quick growth, particularly between their first 4 and 7 months, the dog is liable to having bone disorders. The OES puppy should be carefully fed a low calorie, high–quality diet that will keep him from a growth that is too quick.

Additionally, the Old English Sheepdog should not be allowed to play and run on surfaces that are very hard like pavement; playing on grass normally is fine for him. He shouldn’t engage in forced jogging and jumping on solid surfaces until he is two years of age at least and all his joints have formed fully (one – inch jumps and agility classes for puppies are fine). 

What Is The Ideal Diet For The Old English Sheepdog?

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The daily amount of food we recommend for Old English Sheepdog is 2.5 – 4.5 cups full of high – quality dry dog food every day.

It is important for you to note that the amount of food your dog consumes is determined by his activity level, metabolism, age, and size. Dogs, just like people, are individuals, and they all don’t require the same quantity of food. Evidently, a very active dog definitely will need much more food than any couch potato dog. Also, the quality of the dog food is important, dog food with very good quality will nourish your OES better and your dog will be more willing to eat the food.

It is very easy to overfeed an OES dog because his fluffy coat won’t let it show. It is highly important that his weight is regularly checked and that you make sure he is not overfed.

The best dog food for the Old English Sheepdog should predominantly consist of meat. Proteins specifically gotten from meat are great supplies of the amino acids that are necessary for dogs. The larger components of any dog food consist of the few ingredients that are listed first on the package. Make sure any dog foods you buy list premium quality meats in the first sets of ingredients. At least you should see a protein that is animal–based such as beef, duck, salmon, turkey, chicken, etc. A top protein blend gives your dog balanced nutrition that will enhance joint, digestive tract, and heart health and brain growth that is proper. Any formula that you will feed your dog should also contain vegetables and real food. A rich anti–oxidant blend of Omega – 6 and Omega – 3 fatty acids, Prebiotics, and Taurine supports digestive and heart health, and keeps your Old English Sheepdog’s skin healthy and coat shiny.

The best diet for your OES is the one expressly designed for meeting the dog’s needs depending on his age, present health issues, gender, and activity level.

OES puppies regularly being fed with dog food for adults can have permanent damage. So, endeavor to check the food package whether it states that the food is formulated for every life stage or for growth. Also, when choosing a formula for your dog, choose one that is grain–free, has no preservatives, sugar, sweeteners, or chemicals. Watch out for fillers such as wheat, soy, and corn that don’t have nutritional value and are usually added to cheap dog food, they can cause allergies and frequently produce severe disease.

Recommended Dog Food for the Old English Sheepdog

Coat Color And Grooming Needs For The Old English Sheepdog

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If you like dogs that have big hair and you will want to get one, search no further, the OES is the right dog for you. They have so much hair: a shaggy and profuse coat which is neither curly nor straight. Their coat is double, an outer coat that is textured and a soft undercoat. He comes in various colors including brown, gray, fawn, usually combined with markings that are white, blue merle or blue, and grizzle.

If you desire very tasking grooming, the OES is your pick. His coat isn’t easy to maintain, grooming him takes at least 3 – 4 hours every week. If you are a novice owner, you are going to need help with learning how to comb and brush your OES. Your breeder can teach you, and in the market are many good grooming books or better still videos aimed at assisting pet owners in doing this task.

The Old English Sheepdog sheds heavily and his hair needs to be brushed daily to remove all dead hair also, to detangle his coat.

Some OES drool a lot to the extent that the part of their coat which surrounds their mouth area turns to yellow in color. If this occurs, washing him regularly, specifically after meals, will be of help. Something else you can do is to put cornstarch on his beard. After the cornstarch has dried completely, brush it away. This too works well if the dog has diarrhea.

Just as with every breed, it is essential to start grooming an OES puppy from a young age. Try to make grooming a soothing and positive experience for your puppy as he grows to become an adult dog, it will enhance easier handling of the dog for both you and your professional groomers. 

The tools you should use to groom your OES especially combing and brushing them include a slicker brush, coarse steel comb, and pin brush. Make sure you gently brush his hair to avoid hurting and pulling your dog. It is very important that your brushing always gets to his skin, not only the coat’s top layer, so as to get rid of hair trapped inside the undercoat or any debris. A useful brushing tip is that the dog should be sprayed lightly with a conditioner and or a detangler before brushing.

It is very risky for your OES to have mats, it can cause skin problems. They are exceedingly difficult to take out and, in cases that are severe, the dog needs shaving.

Asides combing and brushing out his coat, the OES requires bathing every 6 – 8 weeks. His nails need trimming once in a month, also his ears should be inspected once every week for redness, dirt, or any bad odor which can signify an infection. His ears should be wiped out using a good cotton ball moisturized with pH – balanced, gentle ear cleaner. Consistent tooth brushing using a doggie toothpaste and soft toothbrush will assist in preventing dental disease.

Many owners employ a professional groomer to keep their OES’s coat in a good condition (an addition, added to the consistent brushing the owners do themselves). Doing this is costly, and it's important for you to consider the expenses when you consider purchasing an OES.

How do Old English Sheepdogs Relate With Other Children and other pets?

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The well–socialized and well–bred Old English Sheepdogs are trustworthy and reliable children companions. Some people say he supervises and herds young children, by keeping the kids in a specific area. Some other people say this dog breed helps support a toddler learning how to walk.

However, unfortunately, some Old English Sheepdogs are exceptions to being the good and loving nanny the dog is known for as a result of poor breeding leading to neurotic and ill–tempered dogs. And note very importantly that children are never to be left with a dog unsupervised no matter the temperament or breed of the dog.

The pleasant OES is a friendly dog towards other pets and dogs, as long as he is properly trained and socialized.

Australian Based Breed Organizations for Old English Sheepdog

There exists a good number of breed organizations for the Old English Sheepdog breed in Australia. The place to acquire more knowledge and information about a puppy is a breed organization. Here is a list including the contact details of some well-known breed organizations in Australia for Old English Sheepdogs.


Contact – Maree Aitchison

Phone Number – 0362680595

Location – Southern Tasmania TAS

Website – http://www.oldenglishsheepdogsaambelon.com


Contact – Chris Moore

Phone Number – 0397071661

Location – Beaconsfield VIC


Contact – Pamela Ellis

Phone Number – 0414223777

Location – Thirlmere NSW


Contact – Tracey Weight

Phone Number – 0400388443

Location – Ningi QLD


Contact – Sue Hincks

Phone Number – 0427245745

Location – Blaxlands Ridge in NSW

Rescue Groups for Old English Sheepdogs In Australia

People usually buy Old English Sheepdogs without clearly understanding the responsibilities that come with owning one. Many Old English Sheepdogs are out there, who need fostering and or adoption. Below is a list containing the names and contact details of some rescue organizations for this dog breed. If you can’t find a rescue in your area on this list, contact a local or national breed club, they should be able to lead you to a rescue organization for OES.

  • Old English Sheepdog Club

Contact – Jill Clinch

Phone Number – 0408491542

Location – NSW

  • Adelaide All Breed Dog Rescue Inc

Contact – Heather Robey

Phone Number – 0422893914

Location – SA

  • Adelaide Animal Hospital

Contact – AdelaideVet Animal Hospital 

Phone Number – 0881699777

Location – SA

  • 9 Lives All Pet Rescue NSW

Location – ACT, NSW

  • ACT Canberra Pooch Rescue

Contact – Maree Sheahah

Phone Number – 0499266838

Location – ACT

Concluding Lines on the Old English Sheepdog

The information on the Old English Sheepdog in this article should be adequate enough for you to know if this dog breed is suitable for you or not. Before you decide finally to get this dog, inquire more about the dog; and if you are going for a puppy insist on seeing at least one of his parents in order to be sure the qualities and lifestyle you see in the parent are suitable for you.

Old English Sheepdog Photo Gallery

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