Old English Sheepdog

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The Old English Sheepdog - A Shaggy-Coated, Intelligent Herding Dog

The Old English Sheepdog, or as it is sometimes called the Bobtail, is a large breed of dog that descends from the very old English pastoral type of dog. There are no records of the earliest types of herding dogs in England, but there are assumptions that some of the Bobtail?s ancestors might be the Smithfield, the Bearded Collie or the Russian Owtchar. The nickname Bobtail comes from the fact that it used to be a tradition to dock this breed?s tail.

Exhibited for the first time at a show in 1873, in Birmingham, the Old English Sheepdog is a large dog with long coat, having fur that covers its face and eyes too. It has a strong body that is square-shaped. Its head is large, showing a black nose, teeth that meet in a scissors bite and eyes that can be brown or blue. It can happen that each eye is of a different color.

The ears are of medium size and are held flat on the head. The top-line is lower at the shoulders and has a higher level toward the back end. The chest is deep. The legs are straight at the front and the hind ones are round and muscular.

The dog can be born without a tail or otherwise it has its tail amputated. However, most parts of Europe have made the action of docking dog tails an illegal one.

The coat is long and shaggy. The outer-coat is hard and textured and the undercoat is softer and stands as a waterproof shield. The Bobtail can be gray, blue gray, gray with white markings, grizzle, blue, blue merle or white with gray markings.

Males can reach 22-24 inches in height (56-61 cm) and females grow up to 20-22 inches (51 cm). Where the weight is concerned, males can have more than 65 pounds (29 kg) and females more than 60 pounds (27 kg). There are some dogs of this breed that can reach more than 100 pounds (45 kg).

Health-wise, it should be said that the Old English Sheepdog (Bobtail) is prone to Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), hip dysplasia and cataracts. It can also be sensitive to drugs that are otherwise safe for other herding dogs.

This dog is stable in temperament, friendly, easy to adapt to various conditions, faithful and intelligent. These traits make is a good and loving family companion. It is protective, yet gentle, and interacts well with children. Given its herding instinct, it may try to herd people with bumping movements. Therefore, it must be taught not to use this instinct with people. The dog requires a master that is firm, yet calm, and who can prove to be a leader for the canine. The human master must be the alpha male in the perception of the dog, otherwise the dog becomes strong willed and takes the leading role, being difficult to control in consequence. With a firm leadership, the dog will prove to be good at following commands. The Bobtail can adapt to apartment life, but will be happier with an available yard. It needs to be

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