Dog Breeds: Old English Sheepdog temperament

Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a large dog breed with a characteristic large coat of hair. This dog, historically a drover, was a helper for farmers to drive sheep and cattle.  His coat covers his face and eyes.  It still goes by the nickname Bob-tail, since his tail used to be docked.


Most of what we know about the origins of the Old English Sheepdog is speculation.  We do know that his ancestors were the old pastoral dogs of England.  This probably happened in the early 19th century.

The breed came to the United States in the 1880s, brought by an industrialist from Pittsburgh named W. Wade.  Only five U.S. families had bred and exhibited one.  The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1885.  So, during his American history until the 1960s, when it became a family dog, this pet was a status symbol.

Physical characteristics

The very outstanding feature of this large dog is his long hair.  The Old English Sheepdog tail was historically docked but today, tailed OES are common as since many countries have outlawed cosmetic docking.  The breed is lower at the shoulders than at the loins.

Males can be 22 inches tall and females can be around 1 inch shorter than that.  The weight goes at 80 to 100 pounds for males and 60 to 85 pounds in females.

Temperament and Personality

The Old English Sheepdog is a playful and affectionate dog.  Some of them will remain playful and vivacious well into their oldest years.  Of good nature and kind, he is a perfect family dog and great children’s companion.

He cannot be trusted to be a good watchdog.  Some of them might bark to strangers and some others might not.

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog

This dog is of very active nature.  He requires one or two hours of daily exercise to keep him in good shape.  When they are puppies, you need to give them something to do all the time, otherwise, they will tear your home apart.  However, when they grow older, they become a bit more of a slug.  In this case, you need to encourage exercise.

If the weather is too hot, keep him from making exercise.  The Old English Sheepdog’s fur is pretty warm and it can overheat fast and easily in hot weather.  He is very sensitive so make sure he spends most of the time close to the family he loves.


It is important for this large dog to be trained in basic commands.  He is usually easily trained since he is an intelligent dog.


The Old English Sheepdog grows very rapidly.  It goes from 1 to 60 pounds in his first year of life.  He may weigh as much as 100 pounds when fully grown.  All this makes them susceptible to bone disorders. Provide your puppy with a  high-quality, low-calorie diet to keep him from growing too fast.

Fun facts

  • This is one high-maintenance dog.  He requires constant grooming.  You might need to take him to the grooming salon at least once a month and you must brush his hair constantly.  Get your wallet ready.
  • Most of them suffer separation anxiety.  They will become destructive if you leave him alone for too long.

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