Old English Sheepdog

  • Overview

    The Old English Sheepdog is a classic shaggy dog who most enjoys frolicking with his family. He makes a faithful and protective companion for families and their children.

    Old English Sheepdogs demand quite a bit of care from their owners, but they give back all the attention and love by becoming a devoted, affable companion. These good-natured dogs will eagerly become part of the family with gentle, patient training. Their massive, impressive coats will flourish with careful grooming.

  • Personality

    His instincts as a herding dog sometimes cause him to "herd" the smallest members of his family by bumping them gently with his floppy head. Sheepdogs can be large — between 70 and 90 pounds — and they can be clumsy, so they must be taught to be careful of their size around children. However, their easy-going and occasionally docile temperaments make them excellent dogs for families with children, whom they will see as their "flock." They quickly become devoted to their families and take their responsibility as a caretaker very seriously.

    Sheepdogs are large dogs with enthusiastic mannerisms. They have a strong desire to please, but they can also be stubborn or indifferent if they would rather not do something. Sheepdogs are intelligent and love to perform tasks. They appreciate a gentle, patient trainer who can help them reach their true potential as a strong, alert herding dog. These big guys require lots of activity, especially in order to prevent them from giving in to their coach potato tendencies.

  • Coat Care

    The sheepdog's coat is his most distinctive feature. It should be profuse but not so excessive as to make him appear uncomfortable or sloppy. The bulky outer coat's hair is neither straight nor curly. The undercoat is waterproof. Sheepdogs are most commonly seen in parti-color varieties of gray and white, but they are also available in blue, merle, brown, fawn and grizzle.

Brushing

When the coat is kept full, the Old English Sheepdog requires extensive grooming and combing to prevent matting and tangles. Sheepdogs are excessive shedders, so brushing through their massive coats with a metal comb and a shedding rake will help remove dead hair and keep your pup clean. The hair needs to be brushed out with a pin brush at least every other day because it mats quickly, especially when Sheepdogs have a high level of activity.

Bathing

These dogs are not neat freaks, so frequent bathing will be necessary to keep their long coats (and your house) clean.

Hair Clipping

It is recommended that Sheepdogs are taken to a professional groomer for clipping due to the nature of their coat.Trimming the hair around the eyes and footpads help them stay comfortable.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Drop coated dogs have sensitive ears and long hair that tends to grow into the ear. Their ears need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Small dogs like Shih Tzus and Havanese are prone to developing tear stains around their eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.