The Old English Sheepdog: A Complete Guide

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Famous for its bear-like fur coat, the Old English Sheepdog undoubtedly qualifies as one of the fluffiest dog breeds in the world.

The breed might have a mellow and adaptable nature, but physically it is a big and sturdy dog known for its powerful gait and a shuffle that is akin to that of a bear’s.

Much unlike its name, the breed is not completely English by blood, nor is it even a sheepdog.

The Old English Sheepdog has its roots in Russian, European, and Scotch lineage, and in the earlier centuries, the canine was primarily used to herd sheep to and from pastures and into town markets.

Owing to its heritage, this is a very athletic breed and one that also finds comfort in not only its agility but also in obedience and conformity.

So if you want to go in for a new best friend that will easily adjust right into your home and family life, the loyal Old English Sheepdog, or “Bobtail”, is the right match for you.

Before dwelling into the breed’s nature, however, it is important to know what it takes to look after this furry fellow.

Albeit, it might be cute to look at, and the fur does have a certain sense of appeal, particularly for children who are fond of furry stuffed animals, there are certain guidelines to follow.

This guide is for those of you who want to get a clear picture of what it will look like to not only purchase this kind of dog but also whether you have what it takes to make this canine a part of your family.

So read on to find out if you check all the boxes before deciding whether this dog breed is right for you.

If you and your home fit the criteria, get ready to welcome a new friend into your life!

The Old English Sheepdog Puppies – Before You Buy…

Four Old English Sheepdogs sitting in a bed
Old English Sheepdogs are friendly and jovial.

Before going in for a buy, you need to understand that a dog is not just another purchase; it is a companion that you would be responsible for.

When undertaking such a responsibility, it is essential that you ask yourself some basic questions before making the purchase:

How much budget do I need to afford an Old English Sheepdog puppy?

Where will I find a reputable and trusted breeder for this breed?

Will my home or my family prove to be an adaptable environment for the new puppy?

What price are the Old English Sheepdog puppies?

On average, an Old English Sheepdog puppy will cost you anywhere from $1200 to $1500. In euros, that translates to about 950 to 1100 pounds.

The price that you end up paying for the pup will depend on the breeder, and even more so on the quality of the litter that it comes from.

The most reputable breeders can even charge $1,150 for a pup, and that too without any papers to show breeding rights or serve as proof of quality.

A top quality pup from a highly superior lineage and proof of quality can cost you much north of the average cost, with prices that can even reach as high as $5,800 (according to

Having said that, the price is largely contingent on factors like supply and demand of the breed, size of the litter, reputation of the breeder, and the breeder’s location.

How to find reputable Old English Sheepdog breeders?

A white Old English Sheepdog sitting in the snow
An Old English Sheepdog is ideal for a family with children.

To ensure that a breeder is trustworthy, there are certain questions that you can ask your breeder.

For starters, it is important that the essential health checks are done, and that your breeder is willing to let you meet the mother of the puppy that is about to be sold to you.

It shouldn’t be hard to gauge the kind of relationship that the breeder has established with the mother, because the love and affection put into raising this kind of breed can be detected very easily.

Although visiting the pet store is often the first idea that pops into anyone’s head when they decide to go in for a new pet, it should be noted that this is a big no-go for the Old English Sheepdog.

Owing to the fact that most puppies of this breed that are available in pet stores come from puppy farms, there is a large risk that the quality of the pedigree may be compromised.

Finally, giving a home to a rescue dog is always an option. If you did your research, you would easily find rescue centers that are breed-specific and cater to sheepdogs only.

3 Little-known facts about the Old English Sheepdog puppies

  • They seek attention wherever they go.

A pet that is otherwise very calm and friendly, if let alone or cut off from its family, the dog can resort to destructive means as a way of seeking attention.

It is because of their extremely people-loving nature that one of the few issues that can arise among the breed is that of separation anxiety, which is exactly why once you bring this furry fellow into your home, it will be almost impossible to part with it.

  • Their double-coat needs special attention and grooming.

Goes without saying, this breed is notorious for its thick and luscious double-coat. While the outer coat will usually be rough and feel wiry to the touch, the undercoat, on the other hand, will be downy and soft.

In order to maintain the fluffiness of the coat, thorough and regular brushing is imperative.

Matting can be prevented by brushing down till the undercoat to keep the dog tangle-free and give it the appearance of being a fat ball of fur.

  • Training the Old English Sheepdog can be a challenge for first-timers.

Owing to their people-pleasing nature, it is highly crucial that these pups get the best kind of training, along with a lot of socialization, in their formative years.

The adorable puppy-dog eyes may melt your heart and make you want to give in to its demands, but being patient and firm with this breed is key to raising an obedient and loyal sheepdog.

Physical Traits of the Old English Sheepdog

A black and white Old English Sheepdog running on grass
An Old English Sheepdog is full of life.

The physical features of the sheepdog are perhaps the most interesting aspect of this breed.

Their characteristic curly double coat can take many colors, and even combinations of colors, including pure black, black with white, blue or blue merle with white shades, and grizzle.

It is this thick fur-coat that gives the dog its bear-like appearance.

Other noticeable features of the breed include their long, floppy ears, as well as a large, square head and pointy muzzle.

How big is a full-grown Old English Sheepdog?

Owing to its genes, this is a relatively large breed, with male adult sheepdogs reaching heights of up to 22 inches and females standing not far behind at 21 inches.

When weighed with all that thick fur, the male sheepdogs can easily range from 70 to 90 lbs., while the females usually weigh 60 to 80 lbs.

What is the life expectancy of the Old English Sheepdog?

The Old English Sheepdog doesn’t mature that quickly and is known to sustain its youthful traits for a significant portion of its lifespan.

The average range of longevity for this breed is 10 to 12 years, but many dogs of this kind are also known to surpass this range and live for up to 14 years as well.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Old English Sheepdog

With an endearing and adaptable personality, the Old English Sheepdog steals the show wherever it goes.

Sheepdogs flourish in a nice, homey family environment, and while they are exceptionally friendly, they can adopt a rather protective instinct when it comes to their owners or families.

Despite being a highly territorial dog, this breed isn’t used for security purposes due to its responsiveness to affection and thus, the ability to make friends very easily.

The sheepdog family also ranks among the most intelligent of dog breeds, and the age-old herding instincts are also present amongst them today.

Aggression is never an issue with this breed, nor is this a shy dog.

However, the sheepdogs do possess the habit of bumping into people, which stems from their herding instincts as they try to push their families, but this is a harmless trait.

In addition to their intelligence, being strong-willed and independent is a dominant personality trait amongst the breed. This is why a firm, guiding hand is required to train these dogs from the very start.

As a source of humor and joy around the house, the sheepdog is remarkable at displaying its goofy antics that can put anyone, especially children, in a good mood almost instantly.

The most important trait to take into consideration when keeping a sheepdog is that they need attention, and will act out in frustration when neglected or ignored.

This frustration can even lead them to bark out loudly or start digging and chewing away at your furniture.

Therefore, it is best to keep them engaged in various social activities, both with other animals and people.

More suited for country life, obedience has to be inculcated into these dogs at a very early age.

If you fail to train the sheepdog, know that your pet will take over the training session if it senses that you are unsure of what you are doing.

To keep up with this lovable dog you’d undoubtedly need a lot of energy, but once you establish a solid relationship, you would’ve had yourself a loyal best friend for years to come.

The Old English Sheepdog’s Diet

There are a variety of different foods that you can add to your sheepdog’s diet. Despite its large appetite and ability to eat more than the nutrition it needs, any vet will advise you to set a strict diet for your sheepdog.

On average, your pet should essentially have an intake of 1400 to 1500 calories per day.

The daily intake for an adult Old English Sheepdog will normally be between 500 to 600 grams of dry food, given that it contains balanced amounts of nutrition i.e. at least 30 to 40 percent of protein, 20 percent fruits and vegetables, and about 10 percent of oil and essential fats.

A high-quality formula rich in real meat should be perfect for this breed.

If you can get your hands on a good large-breed puppy formula to feed your sheepdog, rest assured that it would be protected from any health concerns or abnormalities during its formative years.

How much Exercise does an Old English Sheepdog need?

In order to keep it healthy and occupied, the Old English Sheepdog needs ample amounts of exercise every day.

In addition to the standard two to three everyday walks, it would be fruitful for both you and your pet if different physical games and activities were incorporated into your pet’s playtime.

Since they are nature lovers, the more contact they have with the outdoors, the happier they’d be. Large spaces to run around are crucial for the sheepdog to keep itself entertained and content.

The recommended number of daily hours that you should dedicate to your pet is at least 2 hours, if not more.

The Old English Sheepdog Health and Conditions

The first step that you should take after getting a sheepdog is to get proper vaccinations done, as is the case with any other domestic pet.

As far as health troubles go, the Old English Sheepdog is prone to bloating, which is a serious health concern and should be looked into by a medical expert.

This can occur if the dog is fed only once a day, or fed too much for its stomach to store.

To avoid this, a puppy can be fed two meals a day, whereas an adult should be fed no more than three controlled meals a day.

Another health concern is that of hip dysplasia, a common occurrence among the breed. Keeping a close eye on your dog’s weight and keeping it at the ideal level can avoid this issue altogether.

Another crucial consideration when looking after your sheepdog is that of its fur coat.

Keeping the coat clean is highly important to prevent foreign objects or insects from digging into your dog’s skin and causing infections.

A bath every six to eight weeks will be ideal to keep the coat free from any impurities.

My final thoughts on the Old English SheepdogTwo Old English Sheepdog looking at you

An overall friendly and jovial dog, the Old English Sheepdog is ideal for a family with children, as their resemblance to a stuffed toy will make toddlers fall in love with your pet instantly.

What is even better is that the sheepdog is instinctively protective, and will never leave the side of the family that it was raised and loved in.

Not only is the sheepdog full of life, but it also has the tendency to reciprocate any form of love or affection offered to it, which ensures the compatibility and adaptability of the dog with your surroundings.

So if you’re looking for a friendly and gentle companion for your family, and have the willpower to keep both your pet and your family entertained for hours on end, the energetic sheepdog will prove to be the right choice for you!

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