Old English Sheepdog
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Old English Sheepdog
Other names: OES, Bob-tail, Bob, Dulux Dog
Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral
Old English Sheepdogs are very distinctive with their long, shaggy coats covering stocky, well-balanced and muscular bodies. The old english sheepdog shaggy coat is hard in texture, with a water-resistant undercoat. Colours can be any shade of grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle with or without white markings. Their dark or blue coloured eyes appear to be totally covered but their vision is never impaired. From behind, their walk is a bear-like roll and when trotting show effortless powerful drive from their back legs.
Weight: 26-29 kg
Average Life Span: 9-15 years
Old English Sheepdogs are cheerful, friendly, loyal extroverts and make superb family companions as they adore children. They have lovely natures however they can be excitable and rough when playing, therefore care must be taken when young children are involved. This large breed has lots of energy and would best suit an active family with a big house/garden. They will get along with other animals.
Training basic commands is essential from a young age for a large breed like this one. Old English Sheepdogs are very intelligent and learn quickly. They can be excellent obedience dogs for competition.
Grooming demands are very high. Weekly grooming is very important to keep a coat in good condition. By 8 or 9 months of age you will start finding mats if the coat is not brushed through. Mats can lead to serious skin problems and are most uncomfortable for your dog. The coat tends to mat when changing from puppy to adult coat. Once the adult coat has emerged, you will find regular grooming will keep your dog from matting.
Because of its herding origins, an OES should be exercised regularly. Between 1-2 hours of daily exercise should be sufficient, important do not exercise him in hot weather, his big fur coat means he does feel the heat more quickly than other breeds. Click here for more info.
Old English Sheepdog Health Issues
Hip dysplasia: a malformation of the hip joint resulting in a poor fit between the head of the femur bone and the hip socket. This condition can be alleviated by surgery, at some cost to dog and owner. Because dysplastic dogs often produce dysplastic puppies, buyers should ask if both the sire and the dam of the puppy in which they are interested have been rated clear of hip dysplasia. Do not take yes for an answer without seeing a certificate, and ask for a copy to take to your veterinarian.
Cataracts: cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
Deafness Prone to deafness in old age
Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI or Wobbler’s Syndrome) – Dogs (usually in mid-life) suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms are paralysis of the limbs (front, hind, or all four). Neck pain with extension and flexion may or may not be present. Surgical therapy is hotly debated and extremely expensive with questionable success. In some surgically treated cases, clinical recurrence has been identified.
Old English Sheepdog History
The origin of the Old English Sheepdog remains a question of keen interest to Bobtail fanciers, and is still open to new theories and discoveries. However, there are traces of evidence which place its origin in the early nineteenth century, centered in the Southwestern Counties of England. Some maintain that the Scottish BeardedCollie had a large part in the making of the Old English Sheepdog. Others claim the Russian Owtchar as one of its progenitors. Writings of that time refer to a “drover’s dog” which was used primarily for driving sheep and cattle to market. It is speculated that these drover’s dogs were exempt from taxes due to their working status. To prove their occupation, their tails were docked, leading to the custom of calling the sheepdog by the nickname “Bob” or “Bobtail”. Although this dog has been used more for driving than for herding, the lack of a tail to serve as a rudder, so to speak, has in no way affected its ability to work with heavier kinds of sheep or cattle.