Home   »   Breeds   »   Old English Sheepdog   »   History

Old English Sheepdog
History
Looking for an Old English Sheepdog?

While as compared with some other kinds of dogs the Old English Sheepdog cannot boast the same antiquity, there is nevertheless ample evidence that it can trace its origin to the early 19th century or at least 150 years back, thus proving that among recognized breeds it is no mere upstart. In all probability the breed was first developed in the west of England, in the counties of Devon and Somerset and the Duchy of Cornwall, although from what breeds it was produced is a matter of conjecture. Some maintain that the Scotch Bearded Collie had a large part in its making; others claim for one of its progenitors the Russian Owtchar.

For years after the breed's introduction into this country, fanciers did considerable harm by misinterpreting "profuseness" of coat as "excessiveness." This misled the public into believing that the Old English Sheepdog was difficult to care for, when as a matter of fact a dog with typical coat of the right texture is no harder to keep in shape than is any other long-haired dog. Furthermore, it is home-loving, not given to roaming and fighting, and it is extremely agile; because of its intelligence, affection, and lack of boisterousness, it makes an ideal house dog. It has a tender mouth and can be trained as a retriever; it makes a first-class sledge dog, and is satisfactory as a companion equally at home in an apartment, large house, drawing room, and practically anywhere else.

In seeking a good representative of the breed, points to look for include a body practically square; good bone, deep brisket, chest, and spring of rib; strong foreface, dark or walleyes, level teeth; straight forelegs, well-let-down hocks; and a hard coat with good underjacket. Markings are not important. The dogs do well under almost any climatic conditions, their coats serving as insulation against heat, cold, and dampness. A marked characteristic of the breed is its gait, which is quite like the shuffle of a bear.

The Old English Sheepdog Club of America was started by W. A. Tilley in 1904, and received official recognition by AKC the following year.





More Info