Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog, also known as the Bobtail, is regarded as a British breed though his ancestry goes back to the European Shepherd Dogs, Owtcharka (Russian Shepherd) and Italian Bergamasco bred to native British sheepdogs. There are obvious similarities to the Polish Lowland Sheepdog, though the Polish is naturally bob-tailed.
The Old English Sheepdog is a large dog, 24″ and upwards but square and thick-set together with his profuse and shaggy coat, he seems larger. It is probably some time since he has been used as a working dog, though it is said that he would have been clipped at shearing time by the shepherds along with the flock. He is to be seen in a painting by Gainsborough in 1771.
The Old English Sheepdog coat is quite a challenge; it is essential that he is groomed regularly to stop mats forming. This is a breed where grooming is a significant feature in his life. He can be any colour of grey, grizzle or blue with white on the head, neck, forequarters and underbelly.
Pet dogs are frequently clipped off for hygiene and ease of care, though obviously the dog loses a lot of character when this happens. A prettier solution is a scissor finish to a couple of inches, leaving more of the head furnishings and beard.
It is worth noting that Rescue and Welfare are generally kept pretty busy so expect a responsible breeder to be very careful about choosing prospective buyers; no caring breeder wants their dog to find themselves in bad circumstances.
He is generally a biddable dog who fits well into family life and makes an excellent guard. He has a distinctive ringing bark which has great carrying qualities! The Old English Sheepdog is a lovely dog, but do not underestimate the time involved in keeping him looking glamorous. The dogs you see in the Dulux commercials have just that second been blow-dried and fluffed-up.