Old English Sheepdog

Breed History

Old English Sheepdog (OES), also known as Bobtail, is a medium to large size muscular, well built, thick coated dog. They are smart, calm, and trainable by nature. Long coat is known to cover their eyes if it reaches a certain length.

18th century dog that shows their earliest documentation and forward. The dog isn’t old by any measure and has all their history known unlike the oldest dogs where their origins are unknown.

Rich people have had this dog exclusively during the late 19th century. Few people who were elite would have this dog and nobody working class would have this dog.

English isn’t the only place they come others include Russia and different places in Europe. Although this is true, they are known as an English dog due to their roots in the area.

OES is not a traditional Sheepdog they are more known for cattle herding. Same job that a Sheepdog would do with sheep they just did it with a different animal.

Becoming a staple in many kid movies they always seen in fictional movies as a dog or superhero. Many television shows also host them as the family dog on fictional shows. Due to their fluffy lighthearted appearance people gravitate to them.

Bobtail is a term that refers to their appearance particularly the docked tail they possess. Long hair covers the tail portion, but it is still cut most of the time.


In 1888, after coming from England Old English Sheepdogs were in the second wave of dogs to get registration in the American Kennel Club.

Top 70 in popularity they will most likely maintain or fall further behind the newer breeds gaining popularity. After all of the films and the length of time they will be middle of the pack for the foreseeable future.

Herding Group, or Sheep Dog Group, in all the Kennel Clubs. Here are the major Kennel Clubs and their breed standard for this breed.


Male Height: 22+ inches

Female Height: 21+ inches

Male Weight: 80-100 pounds

Female Weight: 60-80 pounds

OES show males that are considerably bigger than females.

Litter Size

8 puppies are the average litter size for the Old English Sheepdog. Bigger dogs always have mothers that can hold a bigger litter than a smaller size dog. Mothers can give birth without any assistance from humans.


  • White
  • Blue – White
  • Blue Gray – White
  • Blue Merle – White
  • Brown – white
  • Fawn – white


$1,000-$1,500 is the average price for an OES. Paperwork should show them coming from England and coming to the United States afterwards. Prices can vary depending on multiple factors like location, supply, demand, and bloodline of the puppies.

Both parents must feature papers in order to receive papers. Registration will enhance the quality of the puppy because they will meet all physical standards that are for the dog.

Without papers somewhere along the way one or more of their ancestors was crossbreeding with a different dog and couldn’t receive papers. Make sure you know the breed standards before purchasing a puppy without papers.


Take the dog on a long exercise session before you start the grooming process. Calming the body and the mind will help you get to the mental space they need to be in before starting an uncomfortable process for the dog. After a few sessions properly set up the dog will always relax during grooming.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Due to the high levels of shedding you will need to brush the coat of an Old English Sheepdog multiple times per week. Get the right kind of brush for the type of coat this dog has.

Combing should happen a few times per week as well. Long hair should not deter you from combing from the skin outwards to get the entire hair to keep it from getting tangled or matted.

Bathing the dog once a month to six weeks are optimal timing to protect the coat. Busy clients prefer to bathe their dog on a schedule other choose to do it when the dog is dirty. Choice is yours.

Ears can get infections from the moisture and dirt build up. Bills can start to add up and become costly or you can clean the ears once a week to prevent any infections.

Trimming the nails will happen when you are exercising the dog every day, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise your dog, which we don’t recommend, you will need to cut them with nail clippers for dogs.

Professional help is a recommendation due to the high maintenance of the coat.

Life Span

10-12 years is the average lifespan of an Old English Sheepdog. They live a decent amount of time, but future and current owners should be aware of the time commitment they are making to this dog. Adoption is a good option due to their lifespan.

Health Issues

Hip Dysplasia – hips should have a professional exam taken to ensure the dog isn’t suffering from improper hip sockets or any of the many issues’ dogs can have with their hips. 24 months of age is the longest you should wait if you don’t see any problems such as limping or constant stopping during exercise.

Eye Examination – different problems like cherry eye, glaucoma, and cataracts should all be checked annually for about five years and then every other year. Serious conditions can lead to the dog becoming completely blind or partially blind.

Autoimmune Thyroid – Hormone imbalance will arise when the dog has issues with the Thyroid. Weird behavior like massive weight gain, excessive thirst, and a huge appetite will start to appear. Tell you vet   family vet if these have been occurring recently.

Exercise Induced Collapse – sometime the OES will pass out when they are engaging in strenuous exercise. Take particular care to monitor the dog’s limits and health before taking them on a long exercise runs.

Cardiac – heart problems are common among bigger dogs due to their consumption of dog food. Irregular heartbeats and heart murmurs are common and less dangerous but there are problems that are more serious in nature.

Breed Group

Proud member of the Herding Group and this is the perfect place to put them. Cattle herding in their homeland gave them their name to symbolize the work they have done and are known for.

Every dog in the herding group has herding in common. Herding is taking a different animal from one area into another. With large numbers of animals, it is difficult for a human to move hundreds of sheep on a farm. A dog can accomplish this much easier making them invaluable.

Here are some of the other dogs that can accomplish this task

Exercise Needs

Old English Sheepdogs need a lot of exercise. One session is the bare minimum, but you should aim to get them two workouts in one day for the best results. High energy dogs need more work than some other lazier dogs from the same breed.

You will experience different energy types that will change the way you need to exercise. One thing that will be common is that you should exercise them EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Undesirable behavior will arise and only get worse as the years go by. Dogs and humans need a lot of exercise for physical and mental health. Your dog will start to look unhealthy and off balance when not given the proper amount of exercise.

Excessive barking, whining, anxiety, over excitement, jumping, nipping, and eventually biting will all be problems you will start to face. Kids should never be around a day that isn’t getting their exercise.

Here is a basic recommendation you should use

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk or treadmill)

Younger dogs will need more runs and a lot of two session days to get them to a respectable behavior starting out. When the dog starts to calm down and behaviors decrease start to give them one session a day and see how it goes.

Adult dogs will show a decline in energy levels and will start to get one session a lot due to no behavior problems and slower recovery.

Senior dogs will need a lot of walks and close to no runs. A walk around the block will be all they can handle sometime and there is no reason to push the old guy.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Exercising will be the best decision you will ever make so many reasons. Making the dog listen to you for multiple hours every day will make them listen much better when asking them to either stop or for a command. In addition, the structure of the walk will start to increase you position as the leader without using any force. No foundation you can use will be more solid than to exercise the dog daily. 100% guarantee if you exercise for 365-700 hours per year your dog will calm down. Use the long game.

Commands are a smaller portion of the program once you give them the repetitions they deserve. Increasing repetition by using commands before they get life rewards. Sitting or laying before they eat, come out of the cage, use the bathroom outside are all high recommendations.

Socialize after you take the dog for an hour long run or walk. You want to pre exhaust the dog as much as possible and then take them to the dog park or have another dog come over. When friends and family visit always use the time before to tire the dog the night before and morning for the best results.

Correcting the dog will happen verbally, on leash or off leash. There is nothing wrong with correcting the dog but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Timing should be along the lines of prevention and before the action occurs. When you do need to touch the dog only do it when the dog isn’t paying you any attention. Like when a rabbit jets across the desert and the dog gets into full pursuit. Leash corrections will be best to get the dogs attention back.

Do Old English Sheepdogs Shed A Lot?

Yes, they shed a lot of hair excessively throughout the year. Proper grooming should help with excess hair during the times they shed the most. Expect to have hair in the house, on the couch, in the car and other surrounding areas.

Additional Resources