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Old English Sheepdog Breed Image

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog is a playful, agile dog breed that sometimes plays the clown. They are extremely fond of children and are regarded as dependable family protectors.

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

The name Old English Sheepdog is something of a misnomer since the breed has only been known in Britain for a little over 200 years. The ‘bobtail’ is believed to have descended from a variety of European herding breeds and was developed by English sheep farmers to herd and drive sheep to market. The practice of docking the tail began as a way of identifying the Old English as a working dog, thus exempting its owner from taxes. One of the questions frequently asked about the breed is, “How can he see to work with all that hair?” First, it should be noted that working dogs didn’t carry the abundant coat seen on show specimens.

General Appearance: A strong, compact-looking dog of great symmetry, practically the same in measurement from shoulder to stern as in height, absolutely free from legginess or weaselness, very elastic in his gallop, but in walking or trotting he has a characteristic ambling or pacing movement, and his bark should be loud. Taking him all round, he is a profusely, but not excessively coated, thick-set, muscular, able-bodied dog with a most intelligent expression, free from all Poodle or Deerhound character. Soundness should be considered of greatest importance.

Size: Twenty-two inches (56 cm) and upwards for dogs and slightly less for bitches. Type, character, and symmetry are of the greatest importance and are on no account to be sacrificed to size alone.

Coat and Color: Coat is profuse, but not so excessive as to give the impression of the dog being over fat, and of a good hard texture; not straight, but shaggy and free from curl. Quality and texture of coat to be considered above mere profuseness. Softness or flatness of coat to be considered a fault. The undercoat should be a waterproof pile, when not removed by grooming or season. Colour any shade of grey, grizzle, blue or blue-merled with or without white markings or in reverse. Any shade of brown or fawn to be considered distinctly objectionable and not to be encouraged.

Head: Skull: Capacious and rather squarely formed, giving plenty of room for brain power. The parts over the eyes should be well arched and the whole well covered with hair. Muzzle: Fairly long, strong, square, and truncated. The stop should be well defined to avoid a Deerhound face. (The attention of judges is particularly called to the above properties, as a long, narrow head is a deformity.) Nose: Always black, large and capacious. Mouth: Teeth strong and large, evenly placed and level in opposition. Eyes vary according to the colour of the dog. Very dark preferred, but in the glaucous or blue dogs a pearl, walleye, or china eye is considered typical. (A light eye is most objectionable.) Ears: Medium sized, and carried flat to side of head, coated moderately.

Neck: The neck should be fairly long, arched gracefully and well coated with hair.

Forequarters: The shoulders sloping and narrow at the points. The forelegs should be dead straight, with plenty of bone, removing the body a medium height from the ground, without approaching legginess, and well coated all around.

Body: The dog stands lower at the shoulder than at the loin. Rather short and very compact, ribs well sprung and brisket deep and capacious. Slabsidedness highly undesirable. The loin should be very stout and gently arched.

Hindquarters: Should be round and muscular with well-let-down hocks, and the hams densely coated with a thick, long jacket in excess of any other part. Feet small, round, toes well arched, and pads thick and hard.

Tail: It is preferable that there should be none. Should never, however, exceed 1-1-1/2 inches (4-5 cm) in adult dogs. When not natural-born bobtails, puppies should be docked at the first joint from the body and the operation performed when they are from three to four days old.

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

Faults: Softness or flatness of coat to be considered a fault. Any shade of brown or fawn to be considered distinctly objectionable and not to be encouraged. A long, narrow head is a deformity. A light eye is most objectionable. Slab-sidedness highly undesirable.

Links: Old English Sheepdog club USA ; UK