Old English Sheepdog

Canis Lupus

Last updated: February 4, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Herve, Brigitte / Creative Commons

Intelligent, sociable and playful!

Old English Sheepdog Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis Lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Old English Sheepdog Conservation Status

Old English Sheepdog Locations

Old English Sheepdog Locations

Old English Sheepdog Facts

Diet
Omnivore
Common Name
Old English Sheepdog
Slogan
Intelligent, sociable and playful!
Group
Herd

Old English Sheepdog Physical Characteristics

Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
12 years
Weight
30kg (66lbs)

Old English Sheepdog as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Moderate
Separation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
Moderate
Pure bred cost to own
$1,200 and $1,500
Dog group
Herding
Male weight
80-100 lbs
Female weight
60-90 lbs

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With its big shaggy coat, obscured eyes, and white and gray color scheme, the Old English Sheepdog is one of the most recognizable breeds in the world. Its very appearance seems to radiate friendly and approachable energy.

This breed originated at some point in the 19th century from the region of Cornwall in southwestern England as a herding dog. Despite the name, it does not usually herd sheep. Instead, it was originally bred to move cattle along country roads between the pasture and the market. You do not need to employ this breed as a work dog to enjoy its lovable company, however. You just need to give it plenty of affection and care. It also makes for an excellent show dog that loves to perform for audiences. Alternative names for this breed include the Shepherd’s Dog or the bob-tail sheepdog. According to the American Kennel Club, it ranks about average in popularity.

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With its big, shaggy coat, obscured eyes, and white and gray color scheme, the Old English Sheepdog is one of the most recognizable breeds in the world. Its very appearance seems to radiate a friendly and approachable energy. This breed originated at some point in the 19th century from the region of Cornwall in southwestern England as a herding dog. Despite the name, it does not usually herd sheep. Instead, it was originally bred to move cattle along country roads between the pasture and the market.

You do not need to employ this breed as a work dog to enjoy its lovable company, however. You just need to give it plenty of affection and care. It also makes for an excellent show dog that loves to perform for audiences. Alternative names for this breed include the Shepherd’s Dog or the bob-tail sheepdog. According to the American Kennel Club, it ranks about average in popularity.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning an Old English Sheepdog



Pros!Cons!
Good-natured and friendly
The Old English Sheepdog has a reputation for its warm and care-free personality.
Takes time to groom
The thick double coat of fur requires a lot of care and maintenance.
Athletic and trainable
With its keen intelligence, the Old English Sheepdog is eager to work out, learn new tricks, and explore new places.
Shorter life expectancy
The Old English Sheepdog only lives about 10 to 12 years on average, which is shorter than many other breeds of dogs.
An able watch dog
This breed keeps a vigilant watch over its home.
A loud barker
The Old English Sheepdog does bark a moderate amount and may not be right for people who want a completely silent breed.


old english sheepdog isolated on white background

Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

Health and Entertainment for your Old English Sheepdog

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Old English Sheepdog Size and Weight

The Old English Sheepdog is a medium- to large-sized breed with a very compact body, a big square head, and a strong, muscular frame. Males weigh more than females on average. Here is a more complete breakdown of its size and weight:

Height (Male)22 inches
Height (Female)21 inches
Weight (Male)80 to 100 pounds
Weight (Female)60 to 90 pounds

Learn more about the best big dog breeds here.

Old English Sheepdog Common Health Issues

The Old English Sheepdog is generally a strong, healthy breed with only a few notable problems. This breed is sometimes afflicted with eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy (the gradual loss of function in the retina) and cataracts (a clouding of the eye that is often associated with old age). Another potential health issue is hypothyroidism, which results from the under production of the thyroid hormone. Potential symptoms of this condition include lethargy, obesity, temporary cognitive decline, and infertility. Canine hip dysplasia is a genetic disorder that causes a developmental abnormality in the hip socket, resulting in lameness and limping. Other common problems include heart disease, arthritis, and deafness. Cancer is also one of the leading causes of death in this breed. Fortunately, some of these problems can be caught early with an annual health checkup. To sum up the most common health problems:

1. Eye Diseases
2. Cancer
3. Deafness
4. Hypothyroidism
5. Hip Dysplasia

Old English Sheepdog Temperament and Behavior

The Old English Sheepdog is a kind and gentle soul with a very friendly and affectionate personality. It is also intelligent and playful in equal measure and just loves to experience new situations and people. Despite being very athletic and energetic, this breed is actually suitable for a variety of different living conditions in both the country and city. As long as it receives enough exercise every day, it will cause very little trouble around the home. But don’t let its laid back nature fool you. The Old English Sheepdog actually makes for a good watch dog thanks to its alert personality and a loud and resonating bark. This breed is just an all-around excellent companion wherever you live.

How to Take Care of an Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a medium- to high-maintenance pet that will give you as much effort as you put into it. You will get the best result if you socialize and train this breed from an early age as a puppy. This will form a deep lifelong bond with your dog that will encourage it to obey more often.

The Best Dog Food for Old English Sheepdogs

The Old English Sheepdog requires a high-quality dog food to support its moderately active lifestyle. The dog’s age shouldn’t be a huge factor when choosing the type and brand of food. Treats can be given to help guide your dog in training. However, this breed may have a tendency to become overweight, so it is a good idea to limit calorie consumption throughout the day.

The A-Z Animals pick of the best dog food for Old English Sheepdogs is Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food.

The beta-carotene and DHA in this food are excellent for the eyes and vision to help combat eye conditions. The natural glucosamine and chondroitin from real chicken will help sustain your Old English Sheepdog’s joints beneath their large frame for a long, active life.

Follow this link to get Eukanuba Large Breed Dog Food on amazon.

Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, 33 lb
  • FOR ADULT LARGE BREED DOGS: Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food is complete and balanced nutrition for large breed dogs over 15 months old and weighing over 55 lb
  • MUSCLE & JOINT SUPPORT: A combination of animal protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate promotes lean muscle development and joint health in active adult dogs
  • HEALTHY BRAIN FUNCTION: DHA and vitamin E support healthy brain function and help keep dogs sharp
  • SUPPORTS ACTIVE ADULT DOGS: Optimal levels of fats and carbohydrates fuel an active lifestyle
  • HIGH-QUALITY PROTEIN: High-quality chicken is the first ingredient for protein that powers their day

Old English Sheepdog Maintenance and Grooming

With its thick coat of double fur, the Old English Sheepdog is not a hypoallergenic breed. It sheds a good amount, though probably not any more often than comparable long-haired or bob-tail breeds.

In order to prevent matting, tangles, and the accumulation of dirt and grime, this breed does require very careful and thorough grooming around two or three times a week. The fur has a tendency to become quite dirty after outdoor activity and may therefore require periodic baths as well. You should also trim the nails on a regular basis to prevent any discomfort when walking or running. If you do not want the burden of grooming it yourself, then you should take it to a specialty groomer instead.

Old English Sheepdog Training

Obedience training is an important aspect of this breed’s socialization that will teach it basic commands such as sit, come, and stay. Fortunately, the Old English Sheepdog has a strong memory and a laid back, compliant nature, so training should come relatively easy to it as long as you don’t push it too hard. This breed does not tolerate confinement very well, so you should not leave it in a crate for long periods of time.

Old English Sheepdog Exercise

The Old English Sheepdog requires about one or two hours a day of moderate exercise in the form of walks and play sessions. A large yard is not necessary to keep this breed occupied, but you should make sure there is plenty of space around your home for daily activity. Despite its high energy level, this breed does know when to settle down and relax with the family after a long exercise session.

Old English Sheepdog Puppies

The first thing you will always want to do when buying a new puppy is to make sure it is fully up to date with its vaccines and health checkups. For the best results, you should purchase the puppy from a breeder that actually screens for genetic conditions. You may also notice that the English Sheepdog puppies tend to have a different appearance compared to their adult counterparts. They are born with a black and white coat of fur. The white and gray coat only develops after it sheds for the first time.

old english sheepdog puppy

JStaley401/Shutterstock.com

Old English Sheepdogs and Children

The Old English Sheepdog has a very casual and friendly demeanor for its entire life that makes it well-suited around children. It is patient and tolerant and doesn’t mind rough play. It is just an overall great companion for people of all ages. In fact, this breed is often called a nanny dog because of its kind and supportive role within the family.

Breeds Similar to the Old English Sheepdog

If you are a fan of the Old English Sheepdog, then you might want to check out the following breeds of herding dogs, though many of these are not hypoallergenic either.

  • Border Collie – Although sporting a shorter coat of fur, this highly intelligent and athletic breed was originally created in northern England for the purpose of herding livestock. It has a very alert and lively personality that requires lots of physical and mental stimulation.
  • Bearded Collie – This breed is very similar to the Border Collie, but it has a very similar appearance as the Old English Sheepdog with the long shaggy hair and white and gray coloration. It is an athletic and intelligent breed with a loyal bearing.
  • English Shepherd – With its intelligent and athletic disposition, this breed is similar to the Border Collie. In fact, both the English Shepherd and the Border Collie share a common ancestry around England.
  • German Shepherd – Although it has a more wolf-like appearance, the German Shepherd has the temperament and behavior of a traditional herding dog. It is very strong, trainable, and obedient. This makes it ideal for all sorts of tasks such as police duty, disability assistance, and search and rescue.

According to the website Pet ID Register, some of the most popular names for the Old English Sheepdog include:

  • Buddy
  • Sadie
  • Bear
  • Daisy
  • Jack
  • Lola
  • Oliver
  • Lily
  • Duke
  • Luna

Famous Old English Sheepdogs

The Old English Sheepdog has is a fairly popular breed that has appeared in numerous works of fiction and the wider popular culture. Here are just a few examples:

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt briefly owned an English Sheepdog called Tiny between 1933 and 1934. After about a year he gifted it to his friend Admiral Cary Grayson.
  • Paul McCartney owned an English Sheepdog called Martha between 1966 and its death in 1981. The dog supposedly inspired the song Martha, My Dear. Martha’s offspring, Arrow, later appeared on the cover of a live album.
  • The Old English Sheepdog was a mainstay of several powerful American families, including the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Goulds, and Guggenheims.
  • The 1959 Disney film The Shaggy Dog is about a teenage boy who transforms into an Old English Sheepdog with the power of an enchanted ring. This breed was also featured in the movies Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Old English Sheepdog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does an Old English Sheepdog cost?

That depends on how you obtain it. The cost of adopting an Old English Sheepdog is only around $300. This should cover the cost of both vaccinations and care. The cost of the Old English Sheepdog from a distinguished breeder, on the other hand, is quite a bit more expensive. It can easily run you between $1,200 and $1,500.

Are Old English Sheepdogs good family pets?

The Old English Sheepdog is probably one of the best breeds to keep for the entire family. As long as you’re willing to devote the time and resources to care for this dog, it will give a lot of love and affection back to everyone. This breed also feels a sense of protection for the family.

Do Old English Sheepdogs shed?

The Old English Sheepdog does have a tendency to shed throughout the entire year. If you want a hypoallergenic dog, then this breed may not be right for you. But it does not require any more grooming and care than a typical long-haired or bob-tail breed.

Are Old English Sheepdogs aggressive?

The Old English Sheepdog has a rather docile and friendly temperament. It can be a little protective of its owner, but otherwise there is almost no reason to worry about aggression with this breed.

What is the life expectancy of an Old English Sheepdog?

This breed has a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years. That is a little on the low side of dog breeds.

Are Old English Sheepdogs herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Old English Sheepdogs are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Old English Sheepdogs belong to?

Old English Sheepdogs belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Old English Sheepdogs belong to?

Old English Sheepdogs belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Old English Sheepdogs belong to?

Old English Sheepdogs belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Old English Sheepdogs belong to?

Old English Sheepdogs belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Old English Sheepdogs belong to?

Old English Sheepdogs belong to the order Carnivora.

What type of covering do Old English Sheepdogs have?

Old English Sheepdogs are covered in Hair.

What genus do Old English Sheepdogs belong to?

Old English Sheepdogs belong to the genus Canis.

What is an interesting fact about Old English Sheepdogs?

Old English Sheepdogs are intelligent, sociable, and playful!

What is the scientific name for the Old English Sheepdog?

The scientific name for the Old English Sheepdog is Canis Lupus.

Sources
  1. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/old-english-sheepdog/
  2. , Available here: https://petidregister.com/old-english-sheepdog/popular-old-english-sheepdog-boy-names-old-english-sheepdog-girl-names/
  3. , Available here: https://nationalpurebreddogday.com/company-rich-famous/
  4. (1970) https://www.adoptapet.com/s/adopt-an-old-english-sheepdog Jump to top

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