The Old English Sheepdog is from Great Britain. In the 1800s he was exempt from taxes because he was a working dog. The tail was docked to show his tax exempt status as a working dog which led to the nickname “bobtail”.
It’s easy to remember the Old English Sheepdog with their iconic long, shaggy coat that even partially covers their face. They almost look like living, breathing, excitable mops. How can they even see with all of that hair covering their eyes?! In the past, they assisted their owners (typically farmers) by herding sheep and cattle to the market.
Nowadays, Old English Sheepdogs enjoy the comforts of home life, though they can be trained to compete in herding trials. They excel in agility, obedience, and intelligence. To top it all off, Old English Sheep Dogs are very laidback about life and are good-natured.
Body: Short, compact, sturdy, wider in the rear, well-balanced, deep, full brisket, well-sprung ribs, and well-boned, with shoulders lower than loins and a characteristic rolling gait.
Coat: Shaggy, abundant, and hard, with a waterproof undercoat (sometimes removed by the groomer). The coat insulates them from both cold and hot weather conditions.
Color: Gray, grizzle, blue, blue merle.
Ears: Medium size, moderately covered with hair, and carried flat against the sides of the head.
Eyes: Brown, blue or wall-eyes (one of each), wide set, and expressively intelligent.
Feet: Small and round with well-arched toes and thick, round pads.
Head: Large and arched with a prominent stop, square muzzle and distinctive black nose with wide open nostrils.
Legs: Forelegs are straight, strong, and well-boned, shoulders well laid back. Hindquarters are round and muscular with well let down hocks.
Neck: Long, well coated with hair, and gracefully arched.
Weight: 65 – 67 pounds
Height: 21 – 22 inches
Tail: Short and docked or a natural bob tail.
- Recommended for experienced dog handlers
- Good with children
- Shed year round but never profusely
- Best suited for country living
- Good-natured and trustworthy
The Old English Sheepdog is affectionate, comical, intelligent, non-aggressive, and good with children. He’s boisterous and loving with a need for lots of attention and family interaction.
AKC Standard says, “An adaptable, intelligent dog of even disposition, with no sign of aggression, shyness or nervousness.
He is protective of his family (“flock”), obedient, and easily trained. As a sheep-herding dog he was responsible for rounding up any strays and coaxing them back into the herd. As a family dog, he will do the same thing by trying to keep you herded together. Whether you are in the house or out for a walk, you will likely feel him push against your side to move you closer together so he can keep a close eye on you and keep you safe from predators.
He will become easily bored if left alone for extended periods of time. Early training is important to control his strong demand for constant attention. Use positive encouragement, gentle correction of errors, lots of praise, treat-type rewards, and a pat on the back for a job well done.