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Old English Sheepdog - Breed Profile:
Physical characteristicsThe Old English Sheepdog large dog with a strong muscular build and profuse shaggy coat. The body is square-shaped, rather short, compact, and well-balanced. The topline is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed: it should stand lower at the withers than at the loin. The chest is deep and wide. The front legs are perfectly straight, with good boning. The head is large and somewhat square, with a well-defined stop. The large nose is always black. The jaws are fairly long, strong, square, with teeth meeting in a tight scissor or level bite. The eyes can be blue or brown, or one of each colour. The medium size ears are carried flat to the side of the head. The Old English Sheepdog can be born tailless is either born tailless or the tail is docked close to the body. The gait is powerful, rolling and bearlike.
The Old English Sheepdog's weight averages 90 pounds for makes and 70 pounds for females. The height is usually over 21 inches.
TemperamentThe Old English Sheepdog is an affectionate, gentle and even-tempered teddy bear. Adaptable, friendly, sociable and people-oriented. Devoted and protective. Needs a lot of human companionship and loves children. Likes to stick close to home; can make a good couch potato. Highly intelligent, this breed is very good at taking instructions and can even anticipate commands. It can, however, do things in its own way if the dog thinks its way is better. Can be somewhat headstrong and wilful with meek, low-spirited owners. Firm, calm, confident, and consistent human leadership is important and may prevent many behaviour problems including the desire to herd family members and small children (herding instincts are very strong in this breed). A well-balanced Old English Sheepdog makes a truly wonderful family companion.
Coat and groomingThe long double coat has coarse guard hair and a soft downy undercoat. It is profuse, good in texture, shaggy and free from curls. The undercoat is waterproof; it can, however, become less thick after grooming or seasonal shedding. When kept in full coat, the Old English Sheepdog needs extensive (daily) brushing to prevent matting. If the dog is not being shown, the coat can be shaved to about 1 inch long.
The Old English Sheepdog comes in blue, grey, grizzle, blue grey and blue merle colours, with or without white markings. Sometimes white is predominant, with markings of the above-listed darker colours. In show dogs, any shade of brown or fawn is not encouraged.
HealthProne to hip dysplasia, cataracts, and obesity. Do not overfeed. Tends to drool.
Other interesting facts- The breed has been nicknamed "Bobtail" and "Bob" for its docked tail.
- The bark of the Old English Sheepdog sounds like a cracked bell.
- The Old English Sheepdog remains young and active for many years, then suddenly becomes old.
- Herds by bumping, not nipping.
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