Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

3 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Old English Sheepdogs: what are they?

  • Old English Sheepdogs are a charming and distinctive breed known for their shaggy coats.
  • They originated in England as herding dogs and have since become popular family pets.
  • These dogs have a playful and outgoing nature and are known for their intelligence.
  • Old English Sheepdogs have a dense, waterproof double coat that comes in various shades of grey, grizzle, blue, or blue merle.
  • Their coat is so thick that it may sometimes make them look bigger than they actually are!
  • They are commonly associated in the UK and Ireland with Dulux paints.
  • On average, males stand around 61 to 66 cm in height and weigh between 29 and 36 kg, while females are slightly smaller, measuring around 56 to 61 cm and weighing between 25 and 31 kg.
  • Their life expectancy is typically between 10 and 12 years.
Old English Sheepdog  Exercise Needs 4/5 Grooming Ease 2/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of Old English Sheepdogs like?

  • Old English Sheepdogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature.
  • They are often described as gentle giants, making them excellent family pets.
  • They are typically good with children and get along well with other dogs and pets when properly socialised.
  • These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, but they can also have an independent streak.
  • They may require consistent training and socialisation from a young age to develop good manners and prevent any potential stubbornness.
  • Old English Sheepdogs thrive in an environment where they receive plenty of attention, love, and mental stimulation.
  • They are known to be loyal and devoted companions who enjoy being part of a family.
Ada, the Old English Sheepdog

How much exercise do Old English Sheepdogs need?

  • Old English Sheepdogs are moderately active dogs that require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  • They generally need around 2 hours of exercise per day, which can include walks, playtime in a secure area, and interactive games.
  • These dogs enjoy being outdoors and exploring their surroundings.
  • Mental stimulation is equally important, so consider engaging them in activities such as obedience training, puzzle toys, or learning new tricks.
  • It's important to note that while Old English Sheepdogs have a moderate exercise requirement, they may not be as demanding as some high-energy breeds.
  • However, they still need sufficient activity to maintain their overall well-being.
  • Puppies of Old English Sheepdogs have different exercise requirements compared to adult dogs.
  • Their growing bodies and developing joints require caution to avoid injury.
  • It's recommended to provide short and gentle exercise sessions for puppies, focusing on playtime and controlled activities that don't put excessive strain on their joints.
  • Avoid long walks or high-impact activities until they are fully developed, usually around 12 to 18 months of age.
  • Consult with your vet for specific exercise guidelines based on your Old English Sheepdog puppy's age and physical condition.
Bob, the Old English Sheepdog

Do Old English Sheepdogs need a lot of grooming?

  • Old English Sheepdogs have a thick, double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and free from mats and tangles.
  • Their dense fur can easily become tangled, especially in certain areas such as behind the ears, under the tail, and around the legs.
  • Daily brushing is recommended to prevent matting, but at the very least, they should be brushed several times a week.
  • It's important to use a slicker brush or a comb designed for long-haired breeds.
  • Regular bathing is necessary to keep their coat clean and free from debris.
  • Grooming an Old English Sheepdog can be time-consuming, so it's important to establish a grooming routine from a young age to ensure they remain comfortable and cooperative during the process.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Kevin, the Old English Sheepdog

Are Old English Sheepdogs easy to train?

  • Old English Sheepdogs are intelligent and eager to please, which can make them relatively trainable.
  • However, they can also be independent and stubborn at times.
  • Early and consistent training is important to establish good behaviour and prevent any undesirable habits from forming.
  • Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, work best with this breed.
  • They respond well to gentle and patient training methods.
  • Keep training sessions short, interesting, and varied to prevent boredom.
  • Enrolling them in puppy classes or seeking the guidance of a professional dog trainer can be beneficial, especially for first-time owners.

Skye, the Old English Sheepdog

What do Old English Sheepdogs eat?

  • Feeding your Old English Sheepdog a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and well-being.
  • Choose a high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for large breeds.
  • The amount of food your Old English Sheepdog needs will depend on their age, size, activity level, and metabolism.
  • It's generally recommended to feed them twice a day, dividing the daily portion into two meals.
  • Avoid overfeeding, as Old English Sheepdogs can be prone to weight gain, which can lead to joint problems and other health issues.
  • Puppies should be fed a specially formulated puppy food 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old, then twice daily.
  • They should be on puppy food until they are about 12 months old.
  • Around this age, you can gradually transition them to adult dog food.
  • Monitor their weight and adjust the portion sizes accordingly to maintain a healthy body condition.
  • Your vet can advise on the best nutrition for your dog.

Are Old English Sheepdogs healthy?

Old English Sheepdogs are generally a healthy breed, but they can be prone to certain health conditions. Some health concerns that may affect Old English Sheepdogs include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Deafness - either very little or no ability to hear


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger, which can lead to heart failure


  • Cerebellar Ataxia - an issue with cerebellum in the brain that affects the way a dog moves including their balance and coordination.

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if an Old English Sheepdogs is right for you, consult with your vet.

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Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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