Dog Breeds 101: Old English Sheepdog

Dog Breeds 101 - Old English Sheepdog - WP
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The Old English Sheepdog is well known for its shaggy coat. This dog was first depicted in 1771 in a painting with the Duke of Bucceleuch. Before acquiring the adoration of royalty, these dogs were working dogs. People living in the English countryside needed a dog that could both protect livestock from predators and stand harsh weather conditions. It was not until the 1800s that this dog became popular as a house pet. [1] Towards the end of the 20th century this breed achieved great fame as the star of commercials for Dulux® paint, even earning the nickname of the “Dulux Dog”.

This breed is easily recognized by its long and thick shaggy coat which normally comes in white and gray colors. Other coat colors include blue merle, blue, and grizzle. This dog’s long hair almost fully covers their eyes and face. According to research, the Old English Sheepdog tends to remain puppy-like for an extended period of time.

Apart from their cuddly appearance, Old English Sheepdogs are preferred by many pet owners because of their remarkable personality. This dog is known for being stable, loving, friendly and good natured. Their loyal and gentle nature also makes them wonderful companions to everyone around them.

These dogs need a lot of love and attention. They will want to spend as much time with their families as possible. If they are not able to do this, they will probably get separation anxiety.

Although most of these dogs enjoy the comfort and luxury of being household pets, many still love to be trained and perform tasks. This dog’s energy and ambition combined with its intelligence makes this dog particularly easy to train. The Old English Sheepdog is also able to get along with other pets. [3]

The coat of an Old English Sheepdog makes them more adorable and cuddly, however, it is also the main reason why many owners have a tendency to surrender their pets to rescue organizations: This coat needs much attention in order to remain good looking. Monthly visits to a groomer may be necessary because matting can occur easily. To a certain extent, this can be overcome with consistent brushing at home.

Although Old English Sheepdogs can do well in apartments, it is better if the owner can provide at least a small backyard. The Old English Sheepdog has an average life expectancy of about 10 to 12 years.


[1] Stuart A. Kallen, Old English Sheepdogs (ABDO, 1998), p.7.

[2] Joan Hustace Walker, Old English Sheepdogs (Barron’s Educational Series, 1999), p.14.

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