Old English Sheepdog


A large sized Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdog Quick Summary
Also Known AsBobtail
Height (at withers)21-27in (53-68.5cm)
Weight60-100lbs (27-45.5kg)
Hair Colour(s)Grey, white
Lifespan12-15 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size5-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsHigh
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Old English Sheepdog is a large and robust dog. The body is square and sturdily built with a short back, straight forelegs, and the tail is normally docked. The head is square with a strong and short muzzle, dark eyes normally hidden by hair, and small ears carried flat against the head. The characteristic shaggy coat is long and harsh in texture with a water-resistant undercoat, and the colouring varies but includes blue, grey and white.


Old English Sheepdogs are adaptable and loving dogs with stable temperaments. They love company and attention and can be very entertaining with their clownish ways. Being very friendly and sociable, they making good family pets but need a fair amount of attention and interaction, otherwise they can become bored and destructive. Early socialisation is often required in order to guarantee well balanced personalities and temperaments, and to reduce tendencies towards timidness. Loyal, affectionate and protective of their loved ones, these dogs are intelligent too, with no signs of aggression. However, they can be stubborn at times, which can make training more difficult, and so they are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training rather than novices. Old English Sheepdogs love and get along well with children, but due to their large size are only suitable for smaller kids. They love the company of other pets too and will tend to be polite around strangers. However, their herding instincts may still be evident and they may try to herd people and animals, often by nipping at the ankles. These dogs make effective watchdogs and will bark to raise the alarm.

History & Skills

Old English Sheepdogs originate from England, as indicated in their name, and were first developed in the early 1700s in the counties of Devon and Somerset and the Duchy of Cornwall. They were bred to drive sheep and cattle to market and were known as Drover dogs. As pet dogs were taxable in those days, their tails were often docked to prove they were working dogs and thus not liable to tax, and so also came to be known as Bobtails. These days they make fine family dogs and companions.

Breed Specific Ailments

Old English Sheepdogs are tend to live between 12-15 years and are a pretty healthy breed. Some health concerns that have been noted, however, include hip dysplasia, PRA, cataracts, glaucoma, entropion, thyroid problems, deafness, diabetes, allergies, skin problems, and heatstroke.


English Sheepdog Grooming are average shedders and so may not be suitable for those with allergies. Their grooming requirements are fairly high, and the long coat will need brushing several times a week to keep it mat-free, which may not sound too bad intially, but each grooming session can take between 1-2 hours. Clipping may also be required several times a year.

Exercise & Environment

Old English Sheepdogs are not suitable for smaller homes as they will not adapt well to confinement. They tend to live indoors as they like plenty of attention, and with their coats insulating against heat, cold and dampness, they can adapt to most climates. They will need a daily walk plus a yard or garden area in which to play.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

Coming soon!

Owners Gallery

Pretty empy right now. If you would like to see you dog here please email a photo to BFD Photos along with your name, your dog's name & age, breed and rough location (please keep image file sizes reasonable!).

This is Tarfa, pictured at 3 years old. She is an Old English Sheepdog, who lives near Ottawa, Canada.

Tarfa the Old English Sheepdog