The Old English Sheepdog, which is believed to be related to the Russian Owtcharka or the Bearded Collie, originated in the western region of England. Originally the Old English Sheepdog was mainly used to protect flocks and herds from being attacked by wolves.
During the middle part of the 19th century, farmers were using these dogs to drive their sheep and cattle to the market. Because they were classified as working dogs, their owners did not have to pay dog taxes for them. But the owners had to prove that these dogs were working dogs, so one way to prove it, was to cut off the end of their tails also known as tail docking. Even to this day, tail docking has remained a practice and for this reason they have nicked named the dog “Bobtail”.
During the latter part of the 1800’s, a show was held where the Old English Sheepdog participated. As a result, in the early part of the 1900’s, these dogs became a popular dog exhibit. But it wasn’t until 1905 that they were officially recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club).
Even though it took a while for these dogs to become known as house pets, during the 1970’s, the Old English Sheepdog became so popular that a lot of people brought them home and added them as a member of the family. This increase in popularity was because these dogs were being used in different roles in advertising and other media outlets.
Characteristics of the Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog is usually a gentle well mannered happy-go-lucky dog. This breed of dog loves to be around people and when they are at home they are always trying to amuse members of the family by being comical and jovial.
Since these dogs are genetically gifted for herding flock, they display the same attitude towards the children in their household showing very high levels of loyalty and protection. Old English Sheepdogs are very affectionate and are very friendly to strangers and also to other pets.
Caring for your Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog, just like any other dog, requires daily exercise. This can be done by taking long walks or medium-paced jogs on the leash. Living on a farm or on a large piece of land with other animals would be the ideal place for these dogs who truly enjoy herding.
The Old English Sheepdog does not prosper well during hot weather, but can live outdoors when the weather is cool so make sure that it can always move in and out of the house. Because they have a thick coat, they require regular grooming and you should make sure to brush them at least every other day to avoid their coat from matting. This will help their coat from picking up dirt and debris.
With this breed of dog, the main health problem is CHD (Canine Hip Dysplasia). Other minor health problems that could affect them are gastric torsion, hypothyroidism, cerebellar ataxia, otitis externa, deafness, retinal detachment, cataracts and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).