A Guide to the Old English Sheepdog, The Shaggy Dog What Makes This Breed Unusual

Old English Sheepdogs photo
Large Breed Hip Dysplasia Cataract Old English Sheepdog


  • 1 Old English Sheep Dogs are most commonly identified by their thick, beautiful coat, which requires frequent grooming.
  • 2 Old English Sheepdogs are large and strong and thrive on plenty of exercise or hard work.
  • 3 Old English Sheepdog puppies should be started on a grooming process as early as possible.


Bred to be a natural sheep-herder that can cope with extreme climates, the Old English Sheepdog assisted farmers in the western counties of England for a little over a hundred years. Thought to be a crossbreed of the Poodle, Deerhound, Briard, Bergamasco, and Scotch Bearded Collie, Old English Sheepdogs were widely used by English farmers to herd sheep and cattle. In 1888, the Old English Sheepdog was recognized by the AKC.

Quick Facts

  • img


  • img

    10 -12 years

  • img
    Hair Length


  • img
    Male Height

    22 - 24 inches (56 - 61 cm)

  • img
    Male Weight

    65 pounds (29 kg)

  • img
    Female Height

    20 - 22 inches (51 cm)

  • img
    Female Weight

    60 pounds (27 kg), though some can be over 100 pounds

  • img
    Litter Size

    4 - 8 puppies, average 6 puppies


A loving, funny, friendly, smart, loyal breed, the Old English Sheepdog makes for an exceptional family dog. Being a natural herder, they may try to herd people and should be taught early on that this is a negative behavior. They need firm, but gentle leadership in order to be properly socialized and should be made to understand that they are lower on the totem-pole than any person. These are very strong-willed dogs, and if they believe that they are stronger of mind than someone else, they will not take direction from them and may even try to boss them around. This should be broken early on. .


Old English Sheepdogs can be found in black and white, grey and white, or grey, with white markings or black markings.

Health Concerns

Old English Sheepdogs have a normal life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Common health issues are:


The Old English Sheepdog is a square-built, muscular dog with a large, square head. They have little round feet, flat ears, and a black nose. Their tail is either amputated off or they are simply born without one. Their shaggy fur is long, with a hard outer coat and a soft, water-resistant undercoat.

Was this article helpful?