Old English Sheepdog
- 1 OVERVIEW OF THE OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
- 2 HISTORY
- 3 OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG TRAITS
- 4 FAMILY PET BUT NOT ALWAYS IDEAL FOR CHILDREN
- 5 FOOD AND HEALTH OF THE OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
- 6 OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG HEALTH CONCERNS
- 7 RIGHT HARNESS FOR YOUR OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
- 8 OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG TOYS
- 9 GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
OVERVIEW OF THE OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
The Old English Sheepdog (OES) is the quintessential example of a shaggy dog with a thick coat, a distinctive bear-like stride, and a calm, affable demeanor. The OES is a large, active breed that thrives on new adventures and vigorous play.
Underneath its thick double coat, the Old English Sheepdog is a sturdy drover measuring 21 to 22 inches at the shoulder, with ample bone and a substantial rump. Their eyes, if seen, are either a dark brown, a deep blue, or a beautiful blend of the two. The head is capacious and quite squarely built, offering lots of capacity for brain power. And while OES walks with a bear-like shuffle, it’s renowned for its dexterity on its feet. They’re also known for their many admirable house dog characteristics: vigilance, bravery, kindness, and intelligence.
They’re wonderful with kids because they’re gentle and watchful playmates. Also, they have a reputation as vigilant guard dogs with a piercing bark.
There is credible evidence that the breed emerged in the southwest counties of England during the early 19th century. Still, it may also have descended from the Scottish Bearded Collie, the Russian Owtchar, or another breed entirely.
Writings from the era of the breed’s reported origin mention a dog that was employed to herd sheep and livestock to market. They were popularly referred to as “Bob” or “Bobtail” by their owners, who docked their tails to demonstrate that they were, in fact, drovers’ dogs.
In the late 1880s, a Pittsburgh manufacturer named W. Wade brought the OES to the United States, and the dog quickly rose to prominence. By the turn of the century, just five wealthy American families contributed to the breed’s continued existence through ownership, exhibition, and breeding.
In 1885, the Old English Sheepdog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. Even in the 1950s, the OES was firmly entrenched in the upper class’s canine hierarchy. But by the 1960s, the breed had shifted from being a sign of social class to being a beloved family member. Around 15,000 dogs were listed annually by the mid-1970s, but that number has since dropped as owners have become more aware of the time and money required to maintain the OES coat.
OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG TRAITS
Male, adult Old English Sheepdogs often stand 22 inches or more in height and are muscular in build under their thick coats. Female dogs, on the other hand, are expected to be more refined (at least 21 inches) than their male counterparts. Old English Sheepdogs can have gray, blue, or blue merle coats with or without white spots, and their coats are normally thick, shaggy, and curly.
Some people may be surprised by the weight of these dogs since they believe that they’re all hair. Males can weigh up to 85 pounds, while females can weigh up to 60 pounds.
The Old English Sheepdogs were bred to work hand in hand with their owners on a wide variety of duties. That’s why they’re highly trainable and smart dogs who thrive on the opportunity to try and learn new things. As with any other breed, if an Old English Sheepdog is not given sufficient opportunities to socialize, play and learn, it can rapidly become timid and shy around new people and situations.
Like most herding dog breeds, the OES thrives in a domestic setting with his dear ones. A successful partnership begins with constant socialization and training, beginning with the puppy’s early years and lasting throughout the dog’s life.
FAMILY PET BUT NOT ALWAYS IDEAL FOR CHILDREN
These dogs are excellent family pets, but they may not be the optimal choice for families with small children. Since the OES is a herding type, there is a tendency for some dogs to attempt to ‘herd’ children as well. Families should be aware of this behavior, educate their children on correct animal engagement and always supervise interactions.
If you’re wondering whether or not an OES is a right dog for you, it’s a good idea to consult a breeder or rescue organization specializing in OES to learn more about the breed’s specific needs and temperament.
FOOD AND HEALTH OF THE OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
Puppy owners should pay particular attention to feeding their puppies a balanced diet. Despite their great size, Old English Sheepdogs have ordinary nutritional needs that should be catered to as they mature from puppies to adults. Owners may unintentionally overfeed their pets, leading to chubby, unhealthy pups. In order to avoid overfeeding them, measure out their meals using a measuring cup and keep their treat intake to no more than 10% of their total daily caloric intake. It’s recommended to consult with your veterinarian to make sure your dog has access to high-quality nutrients.
A good breeder of Old English Sheepdogs will have to conduct necessary health tests to identify hereditary problems in the breed. Any dog, regardless of breed, must see the vet once a year.
Prepare yourself for a “Velcro” dog-like friend when you bring an OES into your home. Time spent with his owners is what makes an OSE happy. These are not the kind of dogs who bloom when left alone, and they’re too big to be kept in a kennel. The OES is a fantastic family dog; they’re dedicated to their ‘people’ and will be glad to go for long walks, camping, driving in the car, or just about anything the owner enjoys.
Without adequate opportunities for physical and mental stimulation, working dogs like the Old English Sheepdog are more likely to develop behavioral issues. This may result in irritability, restlessness, and other abnormal behaviors. It’s common knowledge that Old English Sheepdogs, like many other dogs of their breed, need a lot of daily exercise and mental challenges to stay happy and healthy. It’s a great approach to improve their quality of life and maintain their happiness by teaching them new talents, tricks, and competitive sports. Although the OES is adaptable, it’s not a good choice for apartment life because these dogs need a fenced-in yard to exercise.
These dogs are bright and can easily learn basic commands, but they quickly get tired of repetitive training. Maintain the interest of Old English Sheepdogs with a continuous (but variable) training regimen that involves positive reinforcement.
Although this breed is attentive and receptive, which facilitates training, they’re also independent thinkers. They may find a way to behave in their preferred manner rather than as instructed. When training an Old English Sheepdog, it’s essential to have a strong leader and maintain consistency throughout exercises so that the dog is less prone to think independently.
OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG HEALTH CONCERNS
By age two, 80% of all dogs are affected by dental disease, making it the most prevalent chronic condition among pets. And unfortunately, the Old English Sheepdog is more susceptible to suffering from dental issues than other dogs. It begins with tartar accumulation on the teeth and advances to infection of the gums and tooth roots. Your friend will risk losing their teeth, heart, liver, and joints if you don’t care for her dental health. It’s possible that your Old English Sheepdog’s lifespan could also be reduced by as much as three years. If you frequently visit a vet, they can remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth and provide you with tips on how to maintain a gleaming smile at home.
The Old English Sheepdog is susceptible to the same canine-specific viral and bacterial infections as any other dog breed, including parvo, distemper, and rabies. It’s recommended to vaccinate against many of these diseases because they’re very prevalent.
Old English Sheepdogs often struggle with obesity. It’s a dangerous illness that can bring on or exacerbate conditions, including arthritis, metabolic syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic back pain, and cardiovascular disease. It’s hard to resist your friend’s pleading eyes when hungry, but “loving it to death” with table scraps and dog treats isn’t wise. Instead, you should cuddle with it, brush its teeth or fur, play a game, or go on a stroll. Both of you will benefit from your dog’s improved mood.
Volvulus and Bloat Gastric Dilatation, also called GDV or bloat, affects dogs with deep and narrow chests. This indicates that OES is more prone to this disease than other breeds. The stomach of a dog undergoing bloat twists and swells with gas. The twisting prevents blood from reaching the stomach and possibly the spleen. Without treatment, the condition can be lethal in as little as 30 minutes. You may notice that your dog is restless, has an expanded abdomen, is retching or heaving (but not vomiting), and is lying in the prayer position. If you see these signs, take your pet right away to an emergency hospital.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia is a hereditary disorder that causes improper joint development and arthritis, and it can affect either the elbows or the hips. Because of your dog’s advanced age, your OES may experience problems with hip and elbow stiffness. You might start noticing that they have problems getting up from a supine position or that their legs become lame. Early intervention can reduce arthritis pain and discomfort.
Vets often recommend taking X-rays of your dog’s bones as soon as possible to discover likely problems. In rare but potentially dangerous cases, surgery may be the best option. Do not forget that overweight dogs can develop arthritis many years before their lighter counterparts.
RIGHT HARNESS FOR YOUR OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
The most crucial aspect of a harness’s suitability for your dog’s needs is its size. Without knowing your Old English Sheepdog’s actual size, you risk purchasing a harness that is either too loose or too tight. You must measure your Old English Sheepdog’s chest and lower neck circumferences when shopping for a harness. Avoid pulling the measuring tape too tight when taking the measures because you’ll end up purchasing the incorrect size harness.
The harness can either have a vest-style front clip or rear clip, or it can simply have nylon straps. The positioning of the clip distinguishes one harness from another. That’s why it should be a consideration when picking a harness. When you pull on a pet wearing a harness with a back clip, the dog’s chest is normally restrained. A front-clip harness, on the other hand, prevents pulling and facilitates control over your Old English Sheepdog.
The harnesses that have adjustable straps are a better option. They enable accommodating a variety of neck sizes. This will help you to acquire an appropriate harness for your spirited and active dog.
OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG TOYS
Old English Sheepdogs are lively and agile which is why the toys you purchase for them must reflect their personality. While OSEs are quite outgoing dogs, they also enjoy spending time indoors if they receive sufficient activity. They like variety in their playing activities and adaptability, which is easily possible if their backpack contains multiple toys. It would be pointless to purchase a toy that does not match the temperament of your Old English Sheepdog, as it would not pique your pet’s attention.
A dog toy should be the right size, neither too small nor too big. Your OSE will not have much enjoyment with a huge toy since your pup will have trouble keeping the toy in its teeth. And, smaller toys will pose the risk of choking, so they shouldn’t be your priority either. If you want your Old English Sheepdog to be able to grab and hold toys, you should choose one that is a good fit for the dog’s jaws.
The joyful temperament and tolerance for rigorous training sessions of Old English Sheepdogs stem from their history as working herders. For energetic dogs like Old English Sheepdogs, it’s best to invest in interactive toys like retrieving equipment. In addition, it’s good to provide your OSE with some strategy-building dog toys since these aid in their mental growth. Such playthings will also help you and your pet buddy bond better.
Toys created from safe, non-toxic materials should be your first choice. Typically, toys made of BPA, Vinyl and Phthalate can harm your furry buddy.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
While the OES is constantly in need of grooming, it sheds significantly less than other herding dogs. Their thick undercoats serve them well in resisting moisture, but without regular grooming, the coat will quickly get matted and knotted.
New owners frequently fail to appreciate the need for proper coats. The undercoat can become matted down to the skin without regular brushing, at which point the dog will usually need to be totally shaved. To properly maintain the OES coat, you’ll need to either invest in high-quality grooming products or schedule regular, lengthy visits to a professional groomer.