Other Names : OES, Bobtail, Bob
Country of Origin : Great Britain
Dog Group : Working Dog
Despite the name 'Old English', records do not confirm that the breed is either 'Old' or all 'English'. The breed emerged in England in the mid 1700's and it seems likely, given its characteristics, that it is linked to ancient herders, including the Bergamasco, the Bearded Collie, the Briard and the Armant. The nickname 'Bobtail' is significant in its history. In England in the 18th century, tax exemption was granted to drover dogs, which helped drive the herds to market. To mark these dogs, their tails were docked. OES's were excellent at this job because of their eagerness and weather-resistant coats. However no one in these days groomed the dogs and they were sheared annually along with the sheep. The farmers' wives spun the dog shearings as well as the sheep's wool into warm clothing. In 1873, the breed made its first appearance in a British Show and demand was soon to follow in America, Canada and other countries around the world.
Old English Sheepdogs are distinctive the world over with their long, shaggy coats covering thickset bodies. Their 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 extension with a powerful drive from the hindquarters.
Feeding & Ownership
As puppies care must be taken to follow the breeder's recommended diet sheet to ensure the correct nutrients are given to promote healthy bones. OES's are not fussy eaters and, indeed, considering their size, are not big eaters.
Old English Sheepdogs are cheerful extroverts and make superb family companions. They have lovely natures but can be excitable and rough when playing, therefore care must be taken when young children are involved. They will join in every possible activity with enthusiasm. They are fearless and make excellent guard dogs, especially with their resonant bark which is sufficient to frighten off any intruder. They will however, get on well with other animals and dogs. Being as social as they are, visitors will be warmly welcomed.
Grooming needs are great and should be started from a very young age. When puppies shed their adolescent coats, it is imperative that you spend the necessary time to ensure the old coat does not become matted with the new one. If left for any length of time, the coat can become so matted that the only solution is to clip which defeats the purpose of owning a long-haired dog! Regularly check the inside of their ears and remove dirt and excess hair to prevent infections setting in. Ensure their claws are kept short and clip them as necessary. Any excessive hair between the pads on the feet should also be trimmed regularly. Owning an OES is extremely hard work and time-consuming, it is not always like the advert shows: they constantly shed their coats, their pads must be checked after every outing to ensure nothing is stuck to the hairs and they are prone to having dirty back-ends which will obviously need cleaning up. Should you decide to show your OES, be prepared for hours of work to maintain the coat to show-ring standard.