Forever Old English Sheepdog

Looking for a gentle giant with a wonderful sense of humour?

The Old English Sheepdog breed is well-known for being a gentle giant. They are lovable and very affectionate with their favourite humans.

If you are a confident and active dog owner that has children, then the Old English Sheepdog is a good choice. The only thing to note is that they are a very large dog (standing over 56cms in height) and so may accidentally knock smaller kids over accidentally.

What you need to know before offering a dog a home


The history of the Old English Sheepdog breed

Unlike the name suggests, this breed isn’t actually that old or thought to have originated in England. It’s actually the Scottish Collie or Bearded Collie which was thought to have played parts in the creation of this breed. Although many suggest that the Ovtcharka had a part to play too.

It’s believed that this breed originated from the need to have a large herding dog which could easily manage long distances but could also stand up to predatory animals like wolves.

According to the British Kennel Club, they are part of the ‘Pastoral’ breed group which is made up of many herding breeds which work with animals like cattle, sheep or even reindeer.

Did you know?

This breed used to have its tails docked as it was originally believed to help protect them. However, the process of docking their tails has now been made illegal. 

What does the Old English Sheepdog look like?

Underneath their big fluffy coats is actually a strongly built dog capable of having great levels of stamina. They actually thrive in an active household where they can get involved with exercise and outdoor playtime.

Prioritise play time with your puppy

It’s recommended to allow your Old English Sheepdog 2 hours of exercise per day as a minimum. Having a large and secure garden definitely helps burn through this breed’s energy levels.

Did you know? 

If your Old English Sheepdog starts chewing or digging excessively, it's often a sign that they aren't being challenged mentally or physically enough.

This breed typically takes a longer time to mature. Although they may reach adult height within 1 year, they often won’t fill out their strong frames until they’re around 2/3 years old.

Due to their large size, they are not recommended for living in smaller houses or flats as they need plenty of space to stretch and move about. Making sure they’re mentally challenged and regularly exercised is crucial for the mental happiness of your dog.

Old English Sheepdog’s coat

The first thing that probably comes to mind when picturing this breed, is that it was the famous face of Dulux paint. One of the most recognisable things about this breed is its coats.

They have long and thick coats which often contain at least some white.

The British Kennel Club actually recognises 5 breed standard colours including grey and black and white.


How do I groom an Old English Sheepdog’s coat?

The quick answer is to do it regularly. Doing it regularly will help maintain their stunning coats and make the upkeep much easier.

At least weekly, they should be thoroughly groomed all the way down to their skin with frequent baths and intensive grooming sessions.

Guide to grooming your dog at home
Other grooming options for your Old English Sheepdog

Many dog owners will opt to have regular appointments with professional groomers as it can be a challenge to maintain for inexperienced owners.

Another way to make it easier to groom your Old English Sheepdog is to give them a ‘puppy trims’. A ‘puppy trim’ is used to describe a simple trim that leaves your dog’s coat even and short.  This will help make grooming more manageable in between appointments.

Did you know?

They have a double coat which is waterproof to help protect them from the elements when working outdoors.

Temperament of an Old English Sheepdog

Any lovers of this breed will tell you that one of their favourite parts of their personality is their great sense of humour! Many of them seem to enjoy your dismay at their antics.

Their personality is often described as being intelligent, gentle, sweet, and adaptable. Although they’re not traditionally thought of as being guard dogs, they will often be quite protective of their loved ones.

Do Old English Sheepdogs get along with other pets?

It’s important to thoroughly socialise your Old English Sheepdog at an early age to make sure they’re happier to be around other pets.

They can sometimes be quite aggressive if not exposed to other animals early, particularly male Old English Sheepdogs.

However, with thorough socialisation and training, they can live happily alongside other pets. It’s just important to make sure they have their own space if be alone if desired.

Male vs Female puppies – Which is right for you?

Training an Old English Sheepdog

Due to their intelligence, they will love the mental challenge of training. However, as a general rule they aren’t normally recommended for first-time owners due to their ability to challenge you and size.

7 best breeds for first-time owners

It’s important to approach their training with the aim to make it as fun as possible. This can help get over their need for their strong-willed nature.

Remaining firm yet patient will help this strong breed to understand that they need to follow your training rules.

Guide for Positive Puppy Training
Make sure to research your breed of choice!

Whether you're considering getting an Old English Sheepdog puppy or looking at another breed, it's important to make an informed decision.

There will always be individual puppy differences, but some breeds will suit specific homes (e.g. flat living or large homes) and certain types of owners (e.g. first time owners or active owners).

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