Breeds 101

Old English Sheepdog


In 1961, a British paint manufacturer launched television advertisements, using the Old English Sheep dog as its symbol. Sales of this breed subsequently increased as rapidly as did the manufacturer's paint sales.

A relatively new breed, the Old English Sheepdog originated in the 1800s in the west of England, probably a descendant of the Scotch Bearded Collie and the Russian Ovcharka. The dogs drove sheep and cattle to market, and were known as “Bobtail” because of their docked tails (a sign that they were working dogs and exempt from taxes).

Its old, aggressive instincts occasionally rise to the surface – however, early training is necessary more to control the breeds intense demands for affection. Although this burly dog is capable of behaving like the proverbial bull in a china shop, it is an excellent companion and guard.

The dog’s coat insulates it from cold, heat, and dampness.

Though the profuse coat can be a deterrent, the Old English Sheepdog is an ideal house dog.

Size: Large:
females 21 inches and up, 60 to 80 pounds; males 22 inches and up, 70 to 90 pounds.

Gray, grizzle, blue, or blue merle, with or without white.

Energetic, adaptable, intelligent, gentle, and clownish. Devoted, thrives on companionship; protective of family members and will herd children. Can be headstrong or bossy.

Medium energy level.

Best Owner: Active, confident owner; families, if someone has time for grooming.
Daily exercise (consider herding), fenced yard, human contact, serious brushing every other day to prevent matting.

Life expectancy: 10 to 13 years.