Old English Sheepdog Temperament And What You Need to Know Before You Bring One Home

Unmistakable with their shaggy coat, the Old English Sheepdog temperament is as good-natured as they come. Originally bred as a drover, they helped drive cattle and sheep to the market for farmers.

Traditionally nicknamed “Bobtail” due to their docked tail, the Old English Sheepdog – or OES – is not fully English. In fact, they have Scottish, European, and Russian ancestry.

Photo of Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog Temperament and Personality

Primarily known for their gentle, you may be surprised to know that the Old English Sheepdog has quite a sense of humor. In fact, the Old English Sheepdog is playful, comical, and full of life.

Thanks to the herding ancestry, the Old English Sheepdog is a homebody and protector of the house. They take it upon themselves to guard their home.

But guarding the home also means guarding the humans.

For example, if the children go off to school, don’t be surprised if your Old English Sheepdog runs after them to ensure they arrive safe and sound. And, be ready for them to even escort them home come afternoon.

Because of this, Old English Sheepdogs do not make good backyard dogs. In fact, this breed can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

They can even become unhappy or aggressive when left alone for too long.

Though they take it upon themselves to guard the house, they are not great watchdogs. They might bark when a stranger approaches the home, or they might not – it all depends on their mood!

The Old English Sheepdog tends to remain puppy-like until around three years old and often keeps their playful attitude well into their old age.

They love to play – especially with their family and neighborhood kids – and make excellent family companions. The Old English Sheepdog is sometimes called a “nanny dog” since they are so good-natured and kind.

In addition to getting along great with children, Old English Sheepdogs get along great with other dogs.

Training an Old English Sheepdog

As a longtime Old English Sheepdog breeder once said:

“Never allow your puppy to do something that you would want a large, shaggy, wet, possibly muddy dog doing in your house.”

Though Old English Sheepdogs are highly intelligent, they still require training.

Start training as soon as possible. Old English Sheepdogs puppies are large, enthusiastic, and rowdy.

Patience and consistent training are a must when it comes to the Old English Sheepdog. However, once an Old English Sheepdog learns something, they don’t forget it.

This breed does get bored with repetitive training sessions so make training sessions quick, fun, and full of positive reinforcement.

Calm Old English Sheepdog  Sitting Gently Outdoor in Field


Finding the Perfect Old English Sheepdog Puppy

Are you ready to find your perfect Old English Sheepdog puppy? First, you’ll have to decide whether you want to adopt an Old English Sheepdog or purchase one from a breeder.

An Old English Sheepdog for sale is often purebred while OES’s in shelters or rescue organizations can be mixed or partly purebred.

Old English Sheepdog Puppies For Sale

You can expect to pay a pretty penny for this breed. Old English Sheepdog puppies for sale costs an average of $1200 to $1500 and the typical litter size is between 5-8 puppies.

The Old English Sheepdog price depends on where you live, the breeder’s reputation, the lineage, and litter size.

The more reputable the breeder, the more the Old English Sheepdog is going to cost. And, if they come from a well-respected lineage, expect to pay more than the average!

Old English Sheepdog Rescue and Adoption

Not every dog owner can handle an Old English Sheepdog. Unfortunately, finding an Old English Sheepdog for adoption is more common than you think.

Between their grooming needs and rowdy adolescence, an OES may be too much for some families and hence they give it up for adoption.

If you are interested in adopting one of these gentle giants, research some local Old English Sheepdog rescue groups in your area.

While there may not be a dedicated Old English Sheepdog rescue close to you, you can always check your local or nearby animal shelter.

Local animal shelters may have either purebred Old English Sheepdogs or mixes.

Old English Sheepdog Breeders

Reputable Old English Sheepdog breeders will be knowledgeable about the breed and be able to answer any question you have regarding the OES.

Additionally, a great breeder will also ask you questions to determine in the Old English Sheepdog is the right fit for you.

For example, they should ask you if you are away from home for long periods of time, how you plan on training your Old English Sheepdog, and more.

Do your research when choosing a breeder. Make sure they are reputable, have clean indoor kennels, and that their dogs are happy and healthy!

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog

Grooming an Old English Sheepdog

You can’t talk about an Old English Sheepdog without talking about grooming. When it comes to Old English Sheepdog grooming, patience – and brushing – is your best friend.

They have an unmistakable shaggy coat that’s not quite straight, not quite curly. They have a double coat – a textured outer coat and a soft undercoat.

Old English Sheepdogs can be gray, blue or blue merle, brown, or fawn, often with white markings.

Watchful Old English Sheepdog  in Field

You may be asking, “Do Old English Sheepdogs shed?” and the answer is an unmistakable yes. They are heavy shedders and need daily brushing.

Daily brushing helps keep their coat free of tangles and removes dead hair.

The Old English Sheepdog shedding is just one grooming challenge. Some drool so much that the area around their mouth turns yellow. Regular washing post-meal will definitely help.

Make grooming a positive, rewarding experience for an Old English Sheepdog puppy so daily grooming won’t be a chore come adulthood.

If you’re looking for a grooming challenge, then the Old English Sheepdog is definitely for you.

Old English Sheepdog Heath and Exercise

Though large in stature, the Old English Sheepdog only requires moderate exercise. Unlike some other large breed dogs, they have an “off switch” when they are inside.

But, that doesn’t mean they don’t require physical activity. At least one hour of daily activity is perfect for the OES.

Old English Sheepdog puppies need plenty of daily exercises but older OES’s tend to prefer the couch to the yard. So much so that they often need encouragement to exercise!

In terms of health, the Old English Sheepdog is fairly healthy.

Like other large breeds, they are prone to Hip Dysplasia.

They are also prone to cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Deafness, and Hypothyroidism.

The average lifespan of the Old English Sheepdog is 10-12 years.

A Final Word About The Old English Sheepdog Temperament

Despite their large stature, the Old English Sheepdog temperament is good-natured, adaptable, and sociable.

This is a breed that loves their humans – especially children – and is extremely intelligent.

If you’re ready to take on the grooming challenge that is the Old English Sheepdog, you’ll share your home with a bubbly, playful, and loving pup.