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Adaptable and gentle, the Old English Sheepdog is iconic for his profuse coat, bear-like gait, and a delicate nature. Big and energetic, this archetypical shaggy dog is adaptable and intelligent, with an easygoing disposition.
See the fact file below for more information on the Old English Sheepdog or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Old English Sheepdog worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Without a doubt, the Old English Sheepdog (OES) is among the breeds with the most debatable and vague origins. Evidence shows that these dogs came from the southwestern countries of England, somewhere in the early 19th century, though it may owe its roots to the Scottish Bearded Collie or the Russian Owtchar.
- At the time of the Old English Sheepdog’s suspected origins, writings illustrated a dog that was used to drive cattle and sheep to market.
- Owners cropped a part or all of their tails to prove their significance as drovers’ dogs. They were commonly called “Bob” or “Bobtail.”
- The OES rose to popularity in the latter part of the 1800s, when he came to the United States, where he was initially owned by Pittsburgh industrialist W. Wade.
- In the 1900s, the OES was kept, exhibited, and bred by five rich families in the United States.
- This led one show superintendent to encourage the judges at the 1904 Westminster Show in New York to “take plenty of time; the dogs in the ring are the property of some of our leading Americans.”
- In 1904, Henry Arthur Tiley established the Old English Sheepdog Club of America. He and his brother, William Steeds Tilley, were the proponents in founding the OES breed standard. Most of the dogs that they bred can be found in the pedigrees of modern OES strains.
- The American Kennel Club acknowledged the Old English Sheepdog in 1885. As late as the 1950s, these breeds still kept their title as the rich man’s dog.
- By the 1960s, however, the Old English Sheepdog drifted from being a status symbol to a household pet.
- In the mid 1970s, 15,000 Old English Sheepdogs were registered yearly; but that number decreased as more people realized the cost and effort needed to look after their coats.
- Their name is something of a misnomer. As breeds of the late 1700s, the Old English Sheepdog is not specifically old by canine standards.
- By blood, they are not completely from England, and technically, they are not even sheepdogs.
- Male OES stand 22 inches and weigh around 80 to 100 pounds.
- Females, on the other hand, reach 21 inches tall and weigh between 60 to 85 pounds.
- Old English Sheepdogs are strong, compact, and well-balanced breeds.
- He has an intelligent expression – his eyes can either be dark brown or pearl blue, his ears are medium-sized and carried flat to the corners of the head, and his stop is well-defined, with a fairly long and truncated jaw.
- The OES’ neck is long and curved gracefully. His body is broader at the rump than at the shoulders, with well-sprung ribs and deep briskets.
His front legs are straight and well-laid back, while his hind legs are round and muscular with well-let down hocks.
- An Old English Sheepdog’s coat is abundant, but not so excessive as to make him look overly fat, shaggy and free from curls. His undercoat is a waterproof pile when not shaved off by grooming or season. His thick double coat protects him during chilly, wet winters and warm summers.
- Coat colors may range in the shades of grey, black, grizzle, or blue merle, with optional white markings. Puppies are naturally born with black and white coats, and it is only after the puppy coat has been removed that the more common grey or silver shaggy hair starts to grow.
- According to the AKC breed standards, the Old English Sheepdog’s tail should be “docked close to the body, when not naturally bob tailed.”
- Playful and loving clowns, the Old English Sheepdog loves to mingle with his family and neighborhood children. In fact, adolescence in the breed often reaches to about age three, and an adult OES will keep his playful demeanor well into his old age.
- An intelligent breed, the Old English Sheepdog is a fast learner, always curious and looking for something interesting and fun to do. He is able to work with a number of tasks, including herding, agility, obedience, and search and rescue.
- Old English Sheepdogs need physical and mental exercise. He doesn’t love being left alone for long periods of time and needs to be in the company of his family.
- However, the OES don’t make good and assertive watch dogs – sometimes he may bark at strangers, sometimes he may not. Some of these dogs are highly protective and territorial, while others are the complete opposite.
- A properly bred OES is kind and gentle, making him a wonderful companion to kids and a super family dog. He is sometimes referred to as a “nanny,” a term of endearment that rose to popularity from stories surrounding the roles he takes on within his owner’s family.
- Canine hip dysplasia. An abnormality in the hip socket, causing crippling lameness and painful joint inflammation, such as arthritis.
- Cataracts. An eye condition that causes difficulty seeing, usually affecting dogs in old age. This happens when the Old English Shepherd’s eyes have a cloudy appearance on the lens.
- Progressive retinal atrophy. An eye condition that may lead to blindness.
- Hypothyroidism. Underactive thyroid glands that are believed to cause epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, dark patches on the skin, and other skin disorders.
- Deafness. This is a fairly common condition and can provide a number of challenges for both the dog and the owner. Some forms of deafness can be treated with medication and surgery, but some cases cannot be cured.
- Since they were originally bred to be working dogs, the Old English Sheepdogs love activities. Modern OES are very talented in sheep herding and agility trials, both of which need a healthy and physically fit dog.
- Refrain from any outdoor exercise when the temperature is hot. The Old English Sheepdog’s dense undercoat is extremely warm, and the dog can overheat quickly and easily.
- Obedience training is highly recommended for all dogs, especially for these large shaggy breeds. Basic commands, such as “sit,” “down,” “come,” and “stay,” are important for everyday living with any dog, and the OES is very smart and learns fast.
Old English Sheepdog Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Old English Sheepdog across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Old English Sheepdog worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Old English Sheepdog which is iconic for his profuse coat, bear-like gait, and a delicate nature. Big and energetic, this archetypical shaggy dog is adaptable and intelligent, with an easygoing disposition.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Old English Sheepdog Facts
- Meet OES
- Breed Standards
- Fetch Some Facts
- OES Growing Up
- OES FAQs
- Two Shaggy Dogs
- Famous OES
- Taking Care of OES
- Pros and Cons of OES
- Adopting OES
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Link will appear as Old English Sheepdog Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.