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Old English Sheepdog
Unsurprisingly, the Old English Sheepdog originated in England. It was developed in an area called the West Country, renowned for its farming traditions, where farmers needed a cattle driver to take sheep to market. Up until docking was banned in some countries, this was one breed that almost always had its tail docked. The American Kennel Club states that only Old English Sheepdog’s with docked tails can be shown, although The Kennel Club of Britain is more relaxed on the regulations and says either is acceptable. Due to this tradition, some quarters decided to nickname it “Bobtail”. Another nickname for this breed was the “Dulux dog”, although this was only given to it due to its regular use in advertisements for Dulux paint!
These dogs can stand between 20 and 24 inches, weighing from 60 pounds. The main feature of this breed is its shaggy coat which is usually gray, grizzle or blue. Some owners like to have the coat clipped short, although the norm is to leave it in its shaggy state. The head is quite big and square-like, with small ears laying flat beside it. It has an extremely broad chest which rests upon legs which can only be described as straight but relatively small compared to the size of the dog.
The Old English Sheepdog is one of the most loving breeds you can find, although it hasn’t always been like that! There was once a time where the breed was described as fierce, probably due to their roles when they were first developed. However, now they are fantastic companions and are gentle and loving creatures. They get on well with children although owners must be aware that at times they may try and “herd” them, although this will probably only involve bumping into them. They are of a very playful nature yet potential owners must also be aware that they should train them from an early age, as they can get into the tendency of going off alone and doing their own thing.
This breed was developed as a working dog and therefore, they should be given a relatively good amount of exercise and a daily walk is recommended. As for health problems, there aren’t all that many although like a lot of dogs, they can be prone to hip dysplasia. Another possible issue is cataracts, but on the whole they are a healthy breed and should live between ten and twelve years.
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