Old English Sheepdog
Life span: 9-10 Years
Height: 27 – 29 inches (male), 25 – 27 inches (female)
Weight: 130 – 150 lbs. (male), 110 – 130 lbs. (female)
Originating from England, the Old English Sheepdog is a large breed of the herding type. They are known for their exceptionally long coat of blue and merle, grey, or grizzled hair, which often covers their adorable facial features. The Old English is a highly trainable and active breed that loves to spend the day working in the field herding animals.
This gentle and loving breed is best known for its herding skills. Although it is now considered a family pet, these are still active, which might result in it trying to herd children or small pets. They are playful and need to be entertained.
Their ears are large and flop down, with a small tail that is usually cut, but is not recommended due to its cruelty. The eyes can be brown or blue, with a black nose. Their coat is straight, dense, long, waterproof, and soft to the touch. Coat colors include brown, light brown, blue, grey, and white.
Its exact origin is unknown, but many believe it originated in England as a sheep herder. A painting from 1771 depicts a dog similar to this breed but smaller, and is believed to be a version of the breed. The Old English Sheepdog Club of America believes that the dog is one of the most ancient breeds, and is highly recognizable due to its particular coat, which also makes it a popular show dog. Originally, however, they were bred to be herders and be able to handle rough terrain to care for the sheep, even being sheared at the same time. Drovers, which are people who move livestock, were also believed to have started the breed on its herding in the 1800s. Their popularity as household pets did not rise until 1960, with the Walt Disney movie “The Shaggy Dog”. After that, they became common mostly as household pets, but are still used as herders in some areas.
This loving breed is affectionate and gentle with its family. However, it may attempt to herd children or small household pets. They are great watchdogs, although generally calm, and will let you know with their powerful bark when someone is within their territory. They are extremely playful, but never want to stop playing, so be sure to include that in training. Keep them entertained, or they might become destructive.
This breed may suffer from many diseases, including:
Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
Deafness, complete loss of hearing since birth.
Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
This breed needs to be brushed once a week, have their hair trimmed regularly and be bathed regularly as well. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They need to be exercised daily, but a short walk should suffice. Training can be difficult, as they get bored easily. Sessions must be kept short, entertaining and varied.