How To Select an Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdogs are large, stocky herding dogs with an abundantly shaggy coat.  Old English Sheepdogs are friendly, loyal and protective.  They typically live 8-12 years and often remain puppyish and active well into their adulthood.  They have a loud, ringing bark and typically reach 22-25 inches at the shoulder.  Their coats are generally white with blue, gray or blue merle markings. They cost between $500 and $1200. When choosing an Old English Sheepdog, keep in mind its herding instinct and its shaggy coat.

Since they've been bred to be exceptional herders, Old English Sheepdogs may try to herd small or more passive members of a family. They are not known for biting, but these sheepdogs may try to bump a child or a timid adult to get them to move "with the herd."  If you have small children, be sure that you select a dog that is good with kids and is appropriate for your family.

Old English Sheepdogs are usually friendly and intelligent dogs.  However, they can be strong-willed.  It is helpful to interact with your prospective new family member before purchase to make sure his personality isn't too dominant.  Find a dog that responds well to your personality and is determined to become the alpha dog.  This breed responds well to a calm and consistent owner with a firm tone.

Keep in mind that Old English Sheepdogs have a profusely shaggy coat which will need to be maintained.  If you are getting a puppy you can train him to accept grooming with frequent brushings.  If you are getting an older dog, ask whether the dog is used to being brushed or clipped.

Old English Sheepdog puppies grow into large adults.  They are typically around 60 pounds, but some have been known to reach 100 pounds. Make sure that you have enough yard space or are able to exercise the dog on daily walks or runs.  Normally, they are very active dogs but not hyperactive.

Old English Sheepdogs are prone to certain inherited diseases.  Check with a vet or your breeder to make sure that the dog does not show signs of hip dysplasia, eye diseases, cancer or IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia).

Keep in mind that getting your Old English Sheepdog from a shelter or rescue is a wonderful way to help a dog and gain a four legged friend.


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