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The Old English Sheepdog is a large, athletic dog breed developed in England. It believed to have descended from the early pastoral dog breeds. It is an intelligent but independent dog with an incredible sense of humour. It weighs 60 to 90 pounds and stands 56 to 61 centimetres at the withers. Most Old English Sheepdogs live 12 to 14 years.
Are you thinking of getting an Old English Sheepdog? Here is a brief background of this loyal family dog.
The Old English Sheepdog descended from the very ancient pastoral type of dogs of England. However, lack of records put everything about its real ancestry to guesswork. Some believe that the Old English Sheepdog could have descended from European shepherd dogs such as the Bergamasco and the Russian Ovtcharka and later bred to the Scottish Bearded Collie. Others speculate that breeds such as the French Sheepdog and the Briard were also introduced into the mix.
The Old English Sheepdog bore a resemblance to the drop-eared dog depicted in the 1771 painting by Gainsborough. Most believe that it represented the early type of the pastoral dog breed. Old English Sheepdogs were first known as "Shepherd's Dog" and was shown for the first time at a dog show in Birmingham, England in 1873. This was followed by several dog shows until the breed slowly became popular and a breed standard was established soon after. In the 1880s, the breed was brought to the United States and other parts of the world.
Today, the Old English Sheepdog remains a popular family pet and companion dog due to its adorable looks and friendly nature.
One thing to instantly notice about the Old English Sheepdog is its abundant hair that covers its body from head to the tip of its tail. Although it is a large and compact dog, weighing 60 to 90 pounds and standing 56 to 61 centimetres, it is quite nimble with a bear-like gait. Appearance-wise, this dog breed appears heavy with a broad chest and long arched neck. The head is also large and square-shaped with a defined stop, ears small lying flat against the head, and eyes are usually blue or black.
The Old English Sheepdog sports a dense and abundant coat that is neither curly nor straight. It is comprised of a harsh topcoat and a soft undercoat. Old English Sheepdogs come in a variety of colours such as grizzle, grey, blue, blue merle, fawn or brown, and often wear white markings. Typical of a breed with an abundant coat, this dog is high-maintenance when it comes to grooming. It also sheds heavily and will require to be brushed daily for hours to keep its coat healthy and tangle-free. Many owners hire the services of a professional groomer especially when it comes to bathing an Old English Sheepdog.
Other than coat care, it is important to pay close attention to other dog grooming regimens. Make sure that the ears are checked and cleaned to avoid excessive wax build-up. Teeth should be brushed at least thrice a week, preferably daily, to prevent gum disease. Trimming the nails is also important to keep the Old English Sheepdog developing overgrowth, which is quite painful for dogs.
The Old English Sheepdog is lively, affectionate and comical. It loves nothing more than to romp in the yard with the family and neighbourhood kids. It is an intelligent but independent dog breed that is always looking for something interesting to do. It is easy to train and excels in canine sports such as herding, agility, obedience, and even search and rescue.
Old English Sheepdogs are friendly characters that boast an endless amount of stamina. With this said, this dog breed is a great choice for people with a huge space such as a secure back garden. It is also best suited to people who lead active lifestyles outdoors since this breed will require significant physical and mental exercises. Then there is also separation issues; this dog does not like to be left alone for long periods of time, or it will develop bad habits.
When properly bred and socialised early, the Old English Sheepdog is a good-natured and kind family dog especially around children (often referred to as a "nanny"). Nonetheless, any interaction between children and dogs must be supervised to avoid accidents. This large dog breed is also an excellent watchdog, but must not be mistaken as a guard dog. One must be careful when the Old English Sheepdog is around small animals since it will think nothing of chasing them, but other dogs and cats it grew up with are fine.
A typical serving for an adult Old English Sheepdog is 2.5 to 4.5 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. The frequency of feeding and the type of food, albeit must be a balanced diet, will largely depend on the dog's size, age, build, activity level, metabolism, and health. Feel free to seek vet advice for its nutritional requirement.
Below is a typical daily calorie needs of adult Old English Sheepdogs weighing 80 pounds:
Basically, all dogs will require high-quality animal meat (for protein) and fewer carbs, especially for active dogs like the Old English Sheepdog. Protein from chicken, beef and lamb support muscle development. Also, in order to maintain its long and abundant coat, always include Omega 3 and 6 supplements in the dog's diet.
Old English Sheepdogs are active and generally healthy, but they can also be prone to specific health conditions. These include Hip Dysplasia, Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hypothyroidism and even deafness. If you want to possibly avoid the mentioned health conditions, make sure to look for vet advice. A trusted veterinarian can tell you which signs and symptoms to look out for and what preventive measures to take.
The Old English Sheepdog is an active breed, which apparently means it has a high energy requirement and will need plenty of daily exercises and mental stimulation. This large, athletic dog requires at least two hours of vigorous exercise to be happy
When you plan to buy an Old English Sheepdog, brace yourself for the costs. Other than its purchase price of £400 to £1000, you will also have to shell out money for its pet insurance. Of course, insuring your pet is optional but if you don't want to encounter financial difficulties ahead due to health issues it is best to get affordable pet insurance that is about £23 to £50 a month.
Since the Old English Sheepdog is a large dog, it basically means that food costs will be a lot more expensive than owning other breeds. True enough, buying commercial dog food that is high-quality and rich in protein will cost around £50 to £60 a month. Veterinary care is also a significant dent in your budget that can quickly add up to £1,200 a year.
Are you sure the Old English Sheepdog is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Are you having misgivings about buying an Old English Sheepdog? Check out our Pet Finder to help you decide on the most suitable breed for you.
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