old english sheep dog
Bi-colour old English Sheepdog – image by public domain pictures from pixabay

The Old English Sheepdog is a large, active breed with a characteristic shaggy coat. In the past, the OES assisted farmers in driving their cattle and sheep to markets.

The OES is a versatile, wise dog with a laid-back personality. Despite being big dogs, they can live comfortably in apartments as long as they get adequate activity through walks and playtime.

They are affectionate with all members of their families, and they also don’t shed as much as you might expect from their shaggy coats. This breed can suit you if you’re seeking a devoted, watchful, and affectionate family member!

Breed Overview

Breed group Herding dogs
Height 21 – 24 inches at shoulder level
Weight 27 – 45 kg
Lifespan 10 – 12 years
Temperament Playful, friendly, intelligent, loving, adaptable, vibrant
Coat Double coat
Coat colour Blue, grizzle, grey, blue merle
Trainability Easy to train
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Brief History

oes dog breed
Old English Sheepdog puppy – image by Sara Miller from pixabay

The Old English Sheepdog unquestionably has one of the canine world’s most hazy ancestries.

The breed may have descended entirely from the Scottish Bearded Collie, the Russian Owtchar, or another dog. Although there is evidence that it began in the southwest counties of England in the early 19th century.

Writings from the era of the breed’s alleged inception mention a dog that was employed to herd sheep and livestock to market. Owners often gave their dogs the moniker “Bob” or “Bobtail” after docking their tails to establish that they were drovers’ dogs.


The Old English Sheepdog is a cheerful, loving clown who enjoys having fun with his family and the young people in the area. An OES’s adolescence typically lasts until age three, and an adult OES will maintain his fun manner well into his senior years.

The OES is a clever breed that picks things up quickly and constantly seeks out enjoyable activities.

Old English Sheepdogs are competent in various activities, including herding, agility, obedience, and search and rescue.

Health Issues Prevalent Among The Old English Sheepdog

Canine Hip Dysplasia

This heritable disorder causes the thighbone to not fit tightly into the hip joint.

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Some dogs exhibit pain and lameness in one or both of their hind legs, but a dog with hip dysplasia may not show any discomfort.


This condition results in opacity on the eye’s lens, impairing vision. The dog will appear to have hazy eyes.

Typically, cataracts develop as people age and can occasionally be surgically removed to enhance vision.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This condition causes the retina to deteriorate gradually. Early on in the illness, dogs develop night blindness.

They also lose their ability to see during the day as the disease worsens. As long as their circumstances don’t change, many dogs can reasonably adjust to partial or complete visual loss.


Deficits of the thyroid gland’s hormone are the cause of hypothyroidism. Infertility is a medical symptom that can be mild.

Obesity, mental drowsiness, lethargy, and erratic heat cycles are more pronounced symptoms. The skin gets tough and black, while the hair is coarse and brittle and falls away.

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Being deaf presents several difficulties for the dog and the owner and is relatively common. Although some types of deafness and hearing loss can be managed with medicine and surgery, deafness is mostly incurable.

A deaf dog requires patience and time, but numerous tools, such as vibrating collars, are available to simplify your life and the dog’s life.

How To Care For Your  Old English Sheepdog

The OES enjoys action because he comes from a working background. Its daily program calls for one to two hours of exercise.

Of course, depending on age, your dog will have different needs. Puppies have a lot of energy, which they will use to wreck your house if you don’t keep them occupied with enjoyable activities.

While the OES may quickly adapt to less activity, it’s crucial to remember that this isn’t particularly beneficial for him. However, when it’s hot outside, limit your outdoor exercise. Due to its thick coating, the OES can easily and quickly become overheated.

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All dogs require obedience training, especially a big breed like the OES. Fortunately, the OES is brilliant and picks things up quickly.

Suppose you are crate training an OES puppy. In that case, you must be careful not to keep him inside for an extended period because the breed does not always tolerate confinement.

The OES is sensitive to being cut off from the family he adores; therefore, he should be out with you whenever you are home.

Over the course of a year, the OES grows from 1 pound to 60 pounds. They are vulnerable to bone diseases because of their rapid growth, especially between four and seven months.

If you want to prevent your OES puppy from growing too quickly, provide him with high-quality, low-calorie food.

Additionally, he shouldn’t run or play on surfaces that are too rough, like pavement; regular play on grass is acceptable. Avoid forcing the dog to leap or run on hard surfaces until his joints fully develop and the dog is at least two years old.

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Feeding The Old English Sheepdog

The recommended daily allowance is 2.5 to 4.5 cups of premium dry food. OESs are particularly easy to overfeed because their fluffy coats make extra weight easier to conceal. You must routinely check your dog’s weight and take care not to overfeed him.

Grooming The Old English Sheepdog

This breed has a thick, shaggy, neither straight nor wavy coat and abundant hair. The breed has a double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and an outer coat with texture.

You will need to spend at least three to four hours every week grooming it due to the difficulty of maintaining its coat. If you’re new to the world of dogs, you’ll need help learning how to brush and comb your OES properly.

The OES sheds a lot. Therefore, brushing daily to eliminate dead hair and protect the coat from getting tangled would be best. Brushing should be done gently to prevent pulling and injuring the dog.

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To get rid of any dirt or hair stuck in the undercoat, it’s crucial to always brush down to the skin, not just the top layer of the coat. One brushing suggestion is to lightly mist the dog with a detangler or conditioner before brushing.

For the OES, mats can cause skin issues and danger. They are challenging to eliminate, and you must shave your dog in difficult situations.

The OES requires bathing, brushing, and combing out the coat every six to eight weeks. Once a month, you should cut their nails and examine their ears for dirt, redness, or an odour that might be an infection.

Old English Sheepdog With Children And Other Pets

A dependable playmate for kids is an Old English Sheepdog that has received proper training and socialization. Some claim he will watch over and herd small children, keeping them in one place. Others say that the OES supports the toddler who is learning to walk.

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It is crucial to remember that no matter the breed or temperament, kids should never be left alone with dogs. The amiable OES gets along well with other dogs and animals as long as he receives the appropriate socialization and training.

We’ve reached the end of the article that talks about The Old English Sheepdog – History, Overview & Temperament. Stay tuned for more articles related to The Old English Sheepdog. You might find the article: The Komondor: The Hungarian Sheepdog interesting.

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