Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdogs bring warmth, affection and loyalty to any household. They love attention and affection from their families, but they also have an introverted side—some Old English Sheepdogs need a special place in the house where they can recharge. Though it spent generations herding cows and sheep, the Old English Sheepdog is pretty much a homebody. If you live on a large tract of land, they won’t roam too far. Rather, they’ll stay on the porch or close to the house. If you really want to find your Old English Sheepdog, the best place to look is the couch.

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog Pictures

  • Old English Sheepdog dog named Meh
  • Old English Sheepdog dog named Coco
  • Old English Sheepdog dog named Bentley K-Sue's Sir Bentley
  • Old English Sheepdog dog named Chloe K-Sue's Sasquatch
  • Old English Sheepdog dog named Admiral Drake
  • Old English Sheepdog dog named Oliver Dudley
see Old English Sheepdog pictures »

Quick Facts

  • 60 - 110 pounds
  • 20 - 24 inches

Ideal Human Companions

    • Active Singles
    • Families
    • Outdoorsy types
    • Farmers

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Trademark Traits

    • Big and shaggy
    • Loving and devoted
    • Intelligent
    • Dependable
    • Huggable
    • Homebodies

What They Are Like to Live With

Old English Sheepdogs get along famously with children. Not only are they playful, gentle and watchful, they give great hugs. Their shaggy fur and big black noses make them instantly endearing to young and old alike. However, they can definitely break out the barks when someone suspicious approaches the home. They make very effective (but not particularly frightening) watchdogs.

Things You Should Know

Bred to manage livestock all the livelong day, Old English Sheepdogs need to keep busy and active to maintain a healthy state of mind. Take them on long, daily walks and schedule some time for them to frolic in wide-open spaces. Not the best choice for an apartment companion (though they can and will manage perfectly well in an apartment), these dogs need the elbowroom of a medium-sized, fenced yard.

A healthy Old English Sheepdog can live as long as 12 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, thyroid problems and cataracts. If overfed, they can suffer from obesity. Their long, rough coats need regular brushing to prevent matting; however, they don’t shed very much. When it gets hot, some owners may choose to trim their coats.

Old English Sheepdog History

Though no one knows for sure, it’s believed that the Old English Sheepdog originated in western England as a cross between the Bearded Collie and various canines. Others claim that it descended from the Russian Owtchar. Either way, the Old English Sheepdog first appeared in the early 19th century and was used mainly as a herding dog.

The Look of a Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdogs have large, square, compact frames covered in shaggy coats. They have large, somewhat square heads covered in fir, flat ears and large black noses. Their intelligent eyes can be brown, blue or one of each. They have somewhat long necks, short bodies and big-boned legs. Their tails are usually docked, and their coarse coats are abundant without being too profuse. They usually come in blue, gray, blue gray or blue merle, with or without white patches. Overall, Old English Sheepdogs have a strong, balanced look.

Talk About Old English Sheepdogs 

Sweet and gentle

I love my Old English Sheepdog. I'm always getting compliments on how cute he is. I have owned many breeds, but he has topped them all.

He is so sweet and vary gentle with my children and other animals. He is well behaved, even though he is only seven months old -- he acts much wiser and was really easy to train and housebreak. He is laid back and doesn't act like a puppy at all.

They want so much to please you. They are good with children and small animals, and they love their people. They are couch potatoes and love to curl up by you.

~Tracy, owner of an Old English Sheepdog

These guys need grooming

I've had two Old English Sheepdogs and they are super great. They do not bark very often but will alert you if something is going on. They want their family all together so they tend to go and spend time with each family member if not all in one room.

They love people and have a gypsy heart. They do not shed but note that you need to take them to the groomer at least four times a year. They get along with other dogs and cats.

I've had other breeds before and loved them all but these are just the best. You'll fall in love with those gorgeous eyes!

~Angie T., owner of two Old English Sheepdogs