Breed Spotlight: the Old English Sheepdog

The ancestors of the Old English Sheepdogs remain quite a mystery, as the dogs have been used in England for centuries, yet no documented accounts of the breed exist beyond 1771. They are believed to have descended from old pastoral types of unknown origin, as well as the ancestors of today’s Bearded Collie, Bergamasco, Briard, Russian Ovcharka, Scottish Deerhound, and the now-extinct the Smithfield. 

The breed was traditionally used as a drover of sheep. His tail was docked to show that he was exempt from taxation, and that was how he earned the name “Bobtail,” by which he is known in his country of origin today. His abundant coat offered protection from harsh weather conditions and terrain. In winter it was allowed to grow out, and in summer time, he was shorn along with the sheep.

Want to learn more about the Old English Sheepdog? Click here for the full breed standard.

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