Old English Sheepdog (English Bobtail)

Updated: November 29, 2020
Old English Sheepdog (English Bobtail)

The Old English Sheepdog, also known as the English Bobtail, is a large dog with a square-shaped body and with a long and abundant coat that covers the entire body. If you're thinking of adopting an Old English Sheepdog, this breed sheet is perfect for you!

In this AnimalWised breed sheet, we're going to have a look into the Old English Sheepdog, its origin, characteristics, training and care. Keep reading to learn more!

  • Europe
  • United Kingdom
FCI classification
  • Group I
Physical characteristics
  • 5-14
  • 14-18
  • 18-22
  • 22-27
  • 27-31
  • More than 31
Adult weight
  • 2-7
  • 7-22
  • 22-55
  • 55-100
  • 100-220
Life expectancy
  • 8-10
  • 10-12
  • 12-14
  • 15-20
Recommended physical activity
  • Low
  • Meidum
  • High
  • Harness
Recommended climate
Type of hair
  1. Origin of the Old English Sheepdog
  2. Physical characteristics of the Old English Sheepdog
  3. Character of the Old English Sheepdog
  4. Caring for your Old English Sheepdog
  5. Training your Old English Sheepdog
  6. Health care of the Old English Sheepdog

Origin of the Old English Sheepdog

The Brie Shepherd, Bergamasco, Bearded Collie and the original Russian dogs are thought out to be possible ancestors of the Old English Sheepdog, however its origin isn't known with certainty. However, we do know that this breed was created in western England during the 19th century by shepherds that were looking for an agile and resistant dog that can take their herds and cattle from the fields to the markets.

After its first presentation at an exhibition in 1880, the Old English Sheepdog was recognized by the Kennel Club. The docked tail was a feature used in the 18th century to identify sheepdogs, so that their owners did not pay taxes for these dogs. The custom, although no longer useful, was fixed in the breed standard. In addition, those breeding lines that did not have a tail were used for breeding.

Physical characteristics of the Old English Sheepdog

Despite their large size, we could define their appearance as sweet and good-natured as they look like a giant stuffed animal. Males measure up to 61 centimeters at the withers and females about 55 centimeters. The breed standard used by the International Cynological Federation does not specify a specific weight for the Old English Shepherd, but the weight of the males is usually around 29 kilograms and that of the females around 27 kilograms.

Their compact and muscular body presents an unusual characteristic in dogs as the level of the withers is lower than the level of the loin, so the top line rises from the withers to the loin. The head of the Old English Sheepdog is square with a bulky skull. Their snout is well defined, but cannot be easily seen due to the dense and long hair that covers the head. Their ears are small and hang down on the sides of the head. Their eyes are well separated from each other and can be dark brown, light blue, or one brown and the other light blue. At the end of their strong, square and truncated snout is a large black nose. They also have strong and sharp teeth.

English Shepherds are usually born without a tail. When born with a tail, this appendix is usually completely amputated. The Old English Sheepdog has an abundant long, shaggy and rough outer coat. As the years go by, the Bobtail's coat becomes longer, harder and dense, which makes it require constant care. The outer coat should not be curled or smooth. The inner mantle is waterproof.

Character of the Old English Sheepdog

The personality of the Old English Sheepdog is known as a “very human-like dog”. This is because they are very confident, affectionate and patient dogs. They are also very smart and quickly learn how their companions communicate with them. These dogs easily adapt to different circumstances, making them a very good working dog. They are also very caring and protective of their family. Their innate instincts make them great nanny dogs and great for families with kids.

Caring for your Old English Sheepdog

When it comes to caring for your Old English Sheepdog the first thing we need to keep in mind is exercise. These large dogs will need large doses of exercise that will help keep them healthy and happy. Keep this in mind as 3 walks a day is not enough for them. This is why they make good dogs for companions that live by the countryside or who have a large area of land where the dog can run and play throughout the day.

Next, we must also keep in mind that these dogs will require coat care. They will need daily brushing to keep their hair untangles and clean. It's also recommended to have their hair cut once a year by a professional. Other than these two important points, your dog will need a high quality canine diet, training through positive reinforcement and lots of affection from their family.

Training your Old English Sheepdog

As with all dogs, we must socialize our Old English Sheepdog from puppyhood so that it respects, knows and begins its training as a member of our family. They empathize quite well with their family members if they receive a cordial, affectionate treatment based on positive reinforcement. The Old English Sheepdog is easy to train when using training and reward-based dog training methods.

Health care of the Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Shepherd is a dog with little susceptibility to hereditary diseases. With that being said, they may suffer from otitis, hip dysplasia or even stomach torsion. To prevent this, make sure to provide your dog with a high quality of life and to take them to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. You must also keep up to date with their vaccination and deworming schedule.

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Old English Sheepdog (English Bobtail)