Despite its name, the Old English Sheepdog, also known as the Bobtailed Sheep Dog, the Bobtail, the Old English or simply the OES, is not an old breed at all. It also is only partly English and is not a sheepdog. The breed was developed in western England about 200 years ago from crosses of English drover’s dogs and assorted European breeds. The Old English is an amiable, adaptable and smart dog of even disposition. He makes a wonderful household family companion, and despite his appearance is relatively easy to care for in all ways. Affectionately known as a gentle old soul, the Old English Sheepdog was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888, as a member of its Herding Group.
The adult male of this breed should stand 22 inches or taller at the withers; bitches should stand 21 inches or taller in height. Mature adults normally weigh in the neighborhood of 60 to 100 pounds. The Old English should be profusely but not excessively coated, with hair of a good hard texture that is shaggy and free from curl. They shed heavily in the spring and require regular brushing throughout the year to prevent mats in their undercoat. Many non-show owners clip their dogs’ coats every few months to make them more manageable. The Old English Sheepdog can be any shade of gray, grizzle, blue or blue merle, with or without white markings. Any shade of brown or tan is highly objectionable and should not be encouraged.