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AKC Meet the Breeds: Old English Sheepdog

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Its trademark is its beautiful, profuse coat, but the intelligent and agile Old English Sheepdog (OES) can easily complete any demanding task asked of him by a shepherd or drover. Square in build and possessing great strength, the OES enjoys working and is seen in the conformation, obedience, agility and herding rings today with their characteristic shuffling gait. His coat, which serves as insulation, can be any shade of gray, grizzle, blue or blue merle with or without white markings.

A Look Back
The Old English Sheepdog originated in the early 19th century in the western counties of England, and is believed to have descended from the Scotch Bearded Collie and the Russian Owtchar. The OES herded sheep and cattle into major city markets, earning the nickname "bobtail" due to their docked tails. The short tail signaled their working status, earning their owners a tax exemption.

Right Breed for You?
The OES is an athletic animal, filled with clownish energy, and therefore requires regular exercise or a job to do. Although affectionate with his family, he may try to herd people or other objects. If the coat is of the correct texture, the breed should not be any more difficult to groom than other long-haired dogs, provided a dog is introduced to it early.

  • Herding Group; AKC recognized in 1888.
  • Size: 21 inches tall and upward at the shoulder.
  • Sheep/cattle driver.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.

Comments (1)

  • gallatea 11 Nov, 2011

    This breed can be super gentle with children when mature at 2-3 years old. Have had 4 wonderful OES in my family through the years & share my home with a 5 year old OES currently. I keep him in a puppy cut - he is very athletic and runs/hikes with me while carrying a pack. He sleeps when I'm at work. He's tolerant and gentle with my other creatures - chickens & rabbits. Can teach him any command quickly. If left short, NO brushing needed & NO shedding. Only a bath weekly & he air dries fast!