Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a big, agile dog who enjoys exploring and a good romp. They are gentle, easygoing, intelligent and friendly.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Old English Sheepdog is a challenge to groom, as the coat is very high-maintenance, even for experienced dog owners. Three to four hours per week is the minimum requirement for keeping the coat healthy and free of tangles and mats.
They shed heavily and need to be brushed every day in order to remove dead hair and keep the coat tangle-free. Sheepdogs drool heavily and the hair around the mouth can become discolored, so the face must be washed several times a day, and always after meals.
His rear end will also need to be cleaned after he relieves himself. Cornstarch can be applied to the beard and the rear end, allowed to dry and then brushed out, in order to help maintain these sensitive areas of the body. If mats form, they usually need to be cut out, and in severe cases, the dog will need to be shaved.
Many owners solicit the services of a professional groomer when it comes to bathing an Old English Sheepdog, as bathing and drying this breed can be a daunting task. In summer months, it is a good idea to trim the hair short to prevent the dog from potentially dangerous overheating.
The ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog’s ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.

Exercise Tips

The OES certainly requires a good amount of space to really feel like it’s at home, which is why the old English farms were perfect places for these dogs to feel needed. These dogs have a good tolerance for walking and even running, but keep in mind that you’re taking your dog for a walk and it’s not taking you for a walk.

Feeding Tips

A good diet for the Old English Sheepdog will include lean meats and whole foods. While this dog is relatively larger, keep in mind that it is still about a half or a third size of most humans and requires a similarly small diet. It can be hard to tell if your dog is gaining weight because of its thick coat.
Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to gettingoverweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level.Treatscan be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity.
Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Health Tips

The average life span of the Old English Sheepdog is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may includebloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus),cataracts, canine ataxia, cerebellar abiotrophy,congenital deafness, dilated cardiomyopathy, epilepsy, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia, congenital elbow luxation, nasal carcinoma,progressive retinal atrophy,cryptorchidismandhip dysplasia. Old English Sheepdogs are prone to having adverse reactions to high doses of Ivermectin and Milbemycin, which can cause tremors, ataxia, coma and death.


As with many assertive and sometimes strong-willed breeds, the training will be crucial. Old English Sheepdogs come from a clear hierarchy both in dog packs and in the farming structure in western England, which means they need to feel like they have a place within your home’s own hierarchy. Good training, setting boundaries, and even giving your Old English Sheepdog a job to perform are all good ways of establishing this hierarchy.
Most Old English Sheepdogs are quite intelligent and have a biddable nature. After they learn something, they do not forget it. They do get bored with repetitive, robotic training exercises. If you want to participate in some of those activities, you need to change things up and make it new and fun. As with all dogs, earlysocializationin puppyhood is vital.
A particularly weak-willed owner can sometimes find the Old English Sheepdog to be a handful, especially as the dog gets older and becomes more set in its ways.


There are a few theories about the origin of the Old English Sheepdog. One is that it is related to thePoodleand theScottish Deerhound. Other theories are it is related to theBriardand theBergamasco, or from ScotchBearded Colliesand the Russian Owtchar, a hairy Russian breed brought to Great Britain on ships from the Baltic.
The Old English Sheepdog was developed in the western counties of England by farmers who needed a quick, well-coordinated sheepherder and cattle driver to take their animals to market. The dogs became widely used in agricultural areas. Farmers began the practice of docking the tails in the 18th century as a way of identifying the dogs that were used for working so they could get a tax exemption.
For this reason, the dogs were given the nickname “Bobtail.” Each spring, when the sheep were sheared, farmers would also shear the dogs’ coats to make warm clothing and blankets. The Old English Sheepdog has been used for reindeer herding because it tolerates cold weather so well. It was first shown in Britain in 1873 and by the AKC in 1888. Some of the Old English Sheepdog’s talents include: retrieving, herding and watchdog.