VCA Raleigh Hills Animal Hospital

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

Basic Old English Sheepdog Information

  • Lifespan: 10 - 12 years
  • Height: 21 - 22 inches
  • Weight: 60 - 80 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Old English Sheepdogs

Old English Sheepdog Traits

  • Joggin Partner
  • Lap Dog
  • Good with Children
  • Warm Weather
  • Cold Weather
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Barking
  • Ease of Training

Old English Sheepdog History

  • The first picture that may be of an Old English sheepdog dates from 1771, although whether it is actually an OES is unknown. More evidence exists that the breed originated in the west of England in the 1800s. It was developed to fill the need for a strong dog that could both defend flocks and herds, and to drive them to market. It may have been derived from the bearded collie or Russian owtcharka.
  • At that time there was a tax on many dogs. Working dogs, evidenced by their docked tails, were exempt. As a drover's dog, the OES had its tail docked, or "bobbed," to avoid taxes. The tradition of tail docking persisted after the taxes were lifted. The OES is sometimes called the bobtail.
  • By the early 1900s the breed was as popular, or more so, in the show ring as in the pasture.
  • The AKC recognized the OES in 1905.
  • In the 1970s, the OES became a popular media dog, appearing in movies and television. This helped spur its popularity as a pet for many years. Since that time its popularity has decreased gradually.

Old English Sheepdog Behavior Concerns

  • Makes a gentle and entertaining companion.
  • Devoted to and protective of its family.
  • Good with children.
  • Good with other dogs and pets.
  • Does best with reward-based training involving games or food.
  • Learns quickly, but can be headstrong.

Old English Sheepdog Suggested Exercises

  • Makes a well-mannered housedog, given adequate exercise.
  • It needs a moderate to long walk, or a good run or play session every day.
  • Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
  • Enjoys cold weather, but cannot live permanently outside in it.

Old English Sheepdog Grooming

  • Coat is long, hard and shaggy, with a thick waterproof undercoat.
  • It needs brushing and combing every other day or thick mats will form.
  • Shedding is average to below average.
  • The long hair around the eyes is usually tied back for everyday life so that it doesn't interfere with vision.

Suggested Old English Sheepdog Nutritional Needs

  • OESs tend to stay in good weight.
  • Changes in weight can be difficult to notice under the thick coat, so you must feel at least weekly.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.

Did you know?

  • Grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs.
  • Some dog parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your dog.

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Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency during normal business hours, please call us immediately. If you have an emergency outside of our normal business hours, please contact a local emergency animal hospital.