Caring for an Old English Sheepdog

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: January 19, 2017
Caring for an Old English Sheepdog

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The Bobtail or Shepherd's Dog, currently known as the Old English Sheepdog, is an English dog breed of quite spectacular size. Old English Sheepdogs weigh between 30 and 45 kg (66 to 100 lb), and their height to the withers is about 63 cm (25 in).

However, Old English Sheepdogs are most notable because of their extraordinary thick and long grey and white coat, with hair over their eyes, which requires more specific care than the coat of other dog breeds. This is why in this AnimalWised article we'll highlight the main ways of caring for an Old English Sheepdog. Read on!

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Keeping an Old English Sheepdog healthy

Keeping them safe and healthy: Basic tips

The Old English Sheepdog needs to rigorously follow the vaccination schedule for puppies and dogs as prescribed by the vet; the legislation depends on each country, but there are common vaccines for dogs that are usually mandatory. Having your dog vaccinated is the first step towards caring for their health.

It is also essential for your Old English Sheepdog to have an identification chip. This is compulsory by law in many country's, including this breed's native United Kingdom. Besides, the Bobtail is a very attractive breed for dog thieves. The chip is the most effective way of getting your dog back if they are ever stolen.

Common diseases of Old English Sheepdogs:

As happens with many large pedigree dogs, the Old English Sheepdog is prone to hip dysplasia. The vet will pay special attention to this problem. This is even more of a reason to keep your Old English Sheepdog at their ideal weight.

Another serious ailment that can beset the Old English Sheepdog is Wobbler syndrome; a complex cervical disease that can permanently incapacitate the dog in the most acute cases.

A problem that may seem unimportant, but which is crucial in keeping an Old English Sheepdog healthy, is thoroughly looking after their coat. It is very important to remove any spines or other plants that get stuck in the Sheepdog's coat after taking them for a walk in the countryside, park or garden. These objects can dig into their skin and cause irritations and even infections, besides knots in the fur. Take special care of the Old English Sheepdog's paws, removing any foreign objects.

Given the thickness and lushness of the Old English Sheepdog's coat, it is necessary to control and prevent external parasites like fleas and ticks. Learn more about the external parasites of dogs.

It is very important to take special care of your Old English Sheepdog's facial hair so as to avoid eye, ear and teeth infections. Their"beard" sweeps the floor when eating or sniffing, so you must check this area regularly and make sure it stays clean.

Other typical ailments of the Old English Sheepdog are otitis and cataracts. Otitis is caused because of the morphology of their ears, which flop down, preventing their proper ventilation. Furthermore, the Old English Sheepdog doesn't cope very well in hot weather - another factor that makes this breed prone to otitis. Cataracts may be due to genetic predisposition.

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog - Keeping an Old English Sheepdog healthy

What is the best diet for an Old English Sheepdog?

As puppies, Old English Sheepdogs are not noted for their voracity, but after becoming adults their appetite becomes immeasurable. Therefore, it is important for the vet to give advice on an appropriate yet strict diet.

An Old English Sheepdog is capable of eating far more than their nutritional needs. Your dog should consume between 1,400 and 1,500 daily calories, provided that the vet considers this to be correct depending on the exercise that the dog does every day.

An adult Old English Sheepdog will normally consume between 500 and 600 grams of balanced dry feed per day. It is better for the feed to be low in protein. It isn't advisable to change a dog's diet if there is no nutritional need to do so; don't break the "monotony" of your pet's diet, since doing so will make them prone to diarrhea.

If you're wondering what is the best diet for dogs and what are the different types of dog food, take a look at our article.

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog - What is the best diet for an Old English Sheepdog?

Healthy exercise for an Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a dog that needs a good amount of daily exercise in order to stay healthy. Ideally, you should take your dog for 2 to 3 walks every day combined with physical exercise and playtime. The total daily time dedicated to your Old English Sheepdog for different activities should be around two hours.

Despite being a dog that can live in an apartment, you should know that a farm, house with a garden or countryside cottage will be a better home for an Old English Sheepdog, since they will be able to run around and keep themselves entertained as they exercise. Old English Sheepdogs love nature, so it will be beneficial for them to be in contact with the outdoors and have a large space to roam around.

If you live in a flat or apartment, it is advisable that you let your Old English Sheepdog run by your side as you bike.

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog - Healthy exercise for an Old English Sheepdog

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog's coat

The Old English Sheepdog's coat is their most distinctive physical feature. It is white and grey in color and it has a very rough texture, so it is recommended that a professional groomer sees to your dog a couple of times a year.

Take daily care of your Sheepdog's coat by combing, brushing and undoing knots. This routine should be started when the dog is a puppy, even if it doesn't seem necessary at the time; this way, they will get used to it. You should get your dog used to staying still throughout the coat care process. For easy styling, use good quality hair conditioners for dogs.

You should bathe and dry them well every six to eight weeks. When your dog is a puppy, you will have to wait 40 days after the last vaccination until you can bathe it.

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog - Caring for an Old English Sheepdog's coat

If you want to read similar articles to Caring for an Old English Sheepdog, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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