Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Meet the breed: Old English Sheepdog

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a loving and active watchdog to add to your family, learn all you need to know about the Old English Sheepdog.

Breed at a glance

  • Playful
  • Loving
  • Agile
  • Athletic
  • Happy-go-lucky

Find a breeder


The exact origin of the Old English Sheepdog is unknown; however, there are traces of its heritage in the western counties of England. Bred by farmers as fast and intelligent sheep and cattle herders to take animals to the market, their tales were docked for identification purposes. When sheering the sheep, farmers would often do the same to the Old English Sheepdog for blankets and warm clothing. Known also for herding deer due to its dense coat and cold-weather durability, the breed makes a great working and guard dog.

Photo gallery

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Herding Group
  • UKC group: Herding
  • Average lifespan: 10 – 12 years
  • Average size: 60 – 100 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Double coat with hard and coarse hair; textured outercoat; and waterproof, soft undercoat
  • Coloration: Gray, grizzle or blue with or without white markings
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Strong, square body with deep chest; black nose; flat ears close to the head; brown or blue eyes; short tail
  • Possible alterations: Can have one brown- and one blue-colored eye; born tailless

Is this breed right for you?

Friendly and active, the Old English Sheepdog is a lover of family and children. A gentle and loyal breed, it requires training to avoid herding humans. A natural-born worker, it does best when it has a job to do. Since it is active indoors, the breed needs a large yard to roam in and may not be satisfied with apartment living. Requiring a sufficient amount of exercise and an owner with strong leadership, the Old English Sheepdog can easily become distracted and troublesome. In need of brushing and regular grooming, the dog is not considered to be a large shedder.

breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

The Old English Sheepdog loves to be around its family members. Waking up surrounded by children and other people, it will happily greet each with a smile. Running outside for a bit, it’ll guard the home as its number-one priority. Coming inside for a bit of play, this breed will be ready and waiting for its daily run. After its daily brushing, the Old English Sheepdog will engage in a game of fetch before snoozing at the foot of its favorite owner.

Other breeds you might like

Meet the breed: Tibetan Terrier
Meet the breed: Newfoundland
Meet the breed: Border Collie

Leave a Comment