Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdog pictures
Old English Sheepdog suitability

In my own words


“Want to find me? I’m usually on the couch where it’s comfy and sociable. I’m not lazy AT ALL though, in fact I’m far from it. My breed is known for working extremely hard on farms, our speciality is herding sheep. Oh I love to herd, I’ll herd anything. I’ve even been known to herd the family now and then. Old habits are hard to get rid of you see... Not that I have many bad habits. I’m a wonderful family dog due to my docile and laid back personality. I’ll even make a good watch dog as I’m fiercely loyal and protective. Not that I ever get aggressive, and I’m certain intruders won’t be scared of me, but the intentions there!

Nah, I like the couch because its somewhere where I can be surrounded by my family, I love to be included. I get on very well with everybody, especially the children. They see me as a living teddy bear I think, it’s easy to make that mistake with all the fur I have.  My fur needs to be groomed so I look my best; it’s my handsome rugged looks that make me so popular and endearing. Also having so much fur means I am an excellent hugger. I’m very gentle and affectionate so enjoy a good cuddle now and then. Being a gentle teddy like dog doesn’t mean my head is also full of fur! I’m very intelligent and enjoy being out in the open where I can exercise and explore. Just don’t be alarmed if I start herding your neighbours!”

My ideal owner(s)


Active Singles

Outdoorsy types



What they say about me







What do you think? Read on to see if my other qualities are just perfect for you!

Is this Old English Sheepdog for you?

Test your knowledge about the Old English Sheepdog

Information essential about the Old English Sheepdog


Kennel Club Group:  Herding/ Pastoral


Size: Large


Weight Male 70-90lbs Female 60-80lbs


Height Male 20-24” Female 20-24”



The Old English sheepdog is a well- known and loved breed and very recognisable due to their distinct appearance. Famous OES include; the ‘Dulux’ paint dog and brand mascot since the 1960s, Max in The Little Mermaid, Paloming in One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Martha, Paul McCartneys‘dog.

Breed History:


Despite the name ‘Old English’, records do not confirm that the breed is either ‘Old’ or all ‘English’. The breed emerged in England in the mid 1700’s and it seems likely, given its characteristics, that it is linked to ancient herders, including the Bergamasco, the Bearded Collie, the Briard and the Armant. The nickname ‘Bobtail’ is significant in this breeds history. In England in the 18th century, tax exemption was granted to drover dogs, which helped drive the herds to market. To mark these dogs, their tails were docked. OES’s were excellent at this job because of their eagerness and weather resistant coats. However no one in these days groomed the dogs and they were sheared annually along with the sheep. The farmers’ wives spun the dog shearings’ as well as the sheeps’ wool into warm clothing. In 1873, the breed made its first appearance in a British Show and demand was soon to follow in America, Canada and other countries around the world. The breed was exported to the United States in the 1880s, and by the turn of the 20th century, five of the ten wealthiest American families bred and showed the Old English Sheepdog.



Still a herder at heart, the Old English Sheepdog has been known the regularly bump or sometimes push members of their family trying to herd them. Although this trait can be trained out of the breed, it is seen as harmless and adds to the dogs’ quirky personality. The OES is even-tempered and faithful; you will rarely encounter this dog becoming aggressive or nervous. Be careful that this breeds’ laid back persona doesn’t lead to him becoming a couch potato!



The OES is perfect for home life due to his sweet and protective personality. He can be an excellent watchdog, but is not very scary! Like a giant teddy, this breed is fantastic with children and enjoys playing with them, watching over them and giving excellent hugs. Very sociable by nature, the OES gets on with pretty much everyone. They are very good with other animals, and join in activities with great enthusiasm. This dog does wonderfully in a country setting, but is adaptable to other ways of life also.



The Old English Sheepdog has a rather long double coat. Outer coat should be coarse and harsh, sometimes wiry, while the undercoat should be soft, downy and wavy. Coat should be fluffy, yet not too fluffy, giving the dog the appearance of being overweight.

This breed has large, square, compact frames covered in shaggy coats. They have large, somewhat square heads covered in fur, flat ears and large black noses. Their intelligent eyes can be brown, blue or one of each. Their eyes appear to be totally covered by fur, but their vision is never impaired. They have somewhat long necks, short bodies and big boned legs. The feet should be small, round and tight. Their tails are usually docked, and their coarse coats are abundant without being too profuse. They usually come in blue, grey, blue grey or blue merle, with or without white patches. Overall, the OES has a strong and balanced look.



Any shade of grey, grizzle, blue, blue merles, with or without white markings. Browns and fawns can also be seen.



The OES does wonderfully in herding, and is rather intelligent. This sheepdog requires a firm handler as they can be strong willed and stubborn. A variety of training methods is recommended as this breed tends to do things the way he sees fit. A range of training techniques will keep him interested and alert.

This is a breed that needs firm handling during training to overcome their strong wills. However, they do want to please their handler. Early training is imperative to control the breeds’ boisterous behaviour.


The OES does best with a medium sized yard, however if given regular opportunities to exercise, no yard would be fine. This breed loves a long brisk walk or a nice run as they were originally bred for working. Due to their working nature, the OES need to keep busy and active to maintain a healthy state of mind. Take them on long daily walks and schedule some time for them to frolic in wide open spaces.

2 hours a day is sufficient exercise time for the OES; this breed will need a dedicated owner to keep them fit and healthy.



The OES coat must be brushed down to the undercoat in order to prevent tangles or matting. Brushing and coming regularly will keep the coat soft and tangle free. The OES is a heavy shedder during warmer seasons which makes clipping this breed ideal if not being used for show. Grooming needs to be started from a very young age. When puppies shed their adolescent coats, it is imperative that you spend the necessary time to ensure the old coat does not become matted with the new one. Ear checks to remove excess dirt and hair will prevent infections. Claws must be trimmed, as should excessive hair between the pads on their feet.

Owning an Old English Sheepdog is hard work and this must be considered before making the decision to adopt one.



Common health issues include hip dysplasia, thyroid problems and cataracts. If overfed, they can suffer from obesity. This breed is not fussy eaters, nor is they big eaters, especially considering their size. Nutrition is important to promote healthy bones.

Hip Dysplasia is a major problem in this breed and screening of both the parents is a must. Deafness is also known in some lines. Care must be taken in grooming to catch any skin or coat problems early on.

You may also like:

If you like Old English Sheepdogs, you may be interested in breeds of the same size »

Curly Coated Retriever Poodle Standard Portugese Water Dog Alaskan Malamute Eurasier

If you like Old English Sheepdogs, you may like other breeds with similar characteristics »

Miniature Poodle German Spitz Jack Russell Terrier West Highland Terrier German Shepherd

If you like Old English Sheepdogs, you may be interested in these other pastoral dogs »

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Belgian Shepherd Malinois Maremma Sheepdog Cardigan Welsh Corgi Finnish Lapphund

Advice on choosing your breed »

Find an animal shelter or rescue home where a Old English Sheepdog is waiting for a new home »


The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if an Old English Sheepdog is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1= strongly disagree, and 5= strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog ideal for a family with children, scroll down and you will see in red the Old English Sheepdog score is 5, this means he is ideal for a family with children. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your final choice.

Be the first to rate this breed »

Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion5/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming3/5
Likes learning new tricks4/5
Likes to hunt3/5
Likes to fetch5/5
Good gundog/retriever3/5
Barks a lot3/5
Gets easily jealous3/5
Friendly with strangers4/5
Expensive to insure1/5
Expensive to feed1/5
Happy to sleep outside5/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment4/5
Prefers temperate climate4/5
Prefers hot climate3/5
Prefers cold climate3/5
Moults a lot5/5
Requires lots of grooming5/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly5/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children5/5
Good watch dog5/5
Good guard dog5/5
Good with other pets5/5
Good with other dogs5/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs5/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs5/5
Requires lots of exercise3/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners5/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall5/5
Easy to train3/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

Take our breed compatibility test

Old English Sheepdog Pictures & Videos



barnaby noahs dogs