Caring for Old English Sheepdogs

By: Gerry Ronson


Old English Sheepdogs are really great dogs. There are several things you need to consider when you have an Old English Sheepdog. Most Old English Sheepdogs are friendly, couch potatoes. You will also find they have the herding instincts of most sheepdogs. While they are very protective of family and territory you will not find them the best watchdog because they tend to be more affectionate. It may not seem like this dog is very active, however they do require quite a bit of exercise and are full of life.

First you should realize that an Old English sheepdog requires both physical and mental exercise. You will need to take them for walks daily as well as provide toys that will be useful and involve their mental capacity. Old English Sheepdogs are also great rescue dogs because of their high intelligence. An Old English Sheepdog will have very long hair, often covering their eyes. Most of these dogs are going to be white and grey in colour. You will also find that they grow to be quite large and need a lot of room to play. The male dogs grow to be 70- 90 pounds and a height of 22 inches. The female dog grows to around 21 inches and 60- 80 pounds.

The herding instinct usually causes the dog to bump into their owners, trying to herd them where they want to go. They also like having the contact between master and themselves. You will find the training for this breed is quite possible. They do need a firm hand as they are strong willed, and often stubborn as a herding dog should be. However you can be successful in training due to their temperament as they are alert. As mentioned they do make great rescue dogs because they tend to herd and listen to commands due to their intelligence.

An Old English Sheepdog is usually friendly and very social, until they feel their territory invaded or feel they need to protect. In most cases you can train the dog to ignore these feelings and have a wonderful companion. There have been some cases where an Old English Sheepdog is very dangerous to young children. When the dog has been brought into a two person family and a baby is introduced they can become very jealous of the new arrival. This can make them dangerous or at least give you the feeling of danger. It may be possible to train this behaviour out of them, but in some severe cases you may have to give the dog up for adoption. Keep in mind that this is rare and depends on the training they have already had. Most psychosis can be trained out when you take the time and really that is what you can consider a dog’s jealousy.

The last caution I would throw in if you are considering this breed is their medical problems. Most breeders and vets will tell you that they need to have their tail clipped. Old English sheepdogs suffer from hip dysplasia, and the breeders feel clipping the tail will keep them from having difficulties. The tail needs to be clipped to a certain length as clipping to far can harm them. Care can also be extensive when you consider the grooming they will need with their long coats.

When you choose the Old English Sheepdog breed you will find a wonderful companion that loves to protect you and herd you. You will also find that they can be trained, and though there are minor concerns you will be happy with this choice.

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