Medical Info: Oster A5

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We used the Oster Golden A5. It's a single speed model, and I believe that they make one that is 2 speed. It's about $125 with a #10 blade, but check out

Oster Golden A5 single speed animal clipper

But the two speed is probably a better value for about $10 more. People seem to love the Two Speed in its Turbo Mode:

Two Speed Golden A5 Clipper

The problem might not be the clipper, it might be the blade that you're trying. We found that the #10 blade is quite difficult to get through our sheepdog's hair, so we went to a SKIP TOOTH blade. The Skip tooth blade worked like magic, like a hot knife through butter (and any other cliches I can come up with).

I found a picture of one here:

And I get lots of hits with this search at google:

As for which skip tooth, or even if skip tooth is the right blade for your situation, I am not sure... I'm not a groomer. Maybe others with more grooming experience than I have can chime in.


PS -- May I suggest you register here at the forum? Smile That way, next time you post, you can be notified by email when someone replies!
I don't sell your name or anything, and I only send out emails to folks when really important stuff happens (I think I've sent 1 since I began this thing.) As another security measure, your email address is not shown on any page (unless you type it yourself into the body of a message)-- anyone wanting to send you something must send it to you through the bulletin board.
First, a little background.
Most of you know me, “Ron”, as the Webmaster of and also this forum. I am married to “Joan” who posts here occasionally. Our real names are indeed Joan and Ron.

We have been members of a New England Sheepdog rescue organization since 1992, when we adopted Jake. A few years later, that group reorganized as New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue, Inc. (NEOESR), and for the last 5 years, I have been a member of it’s Board of Directors. Joan was also very active with the organization, serving as it’s Merchandise Chair, supplying logo merchandise for the members of the group and the public until about a year ago.

For the last year, Joan and I have traveled around the country in our motorhome. We have chronicled that trip through pictures and a forum just like this at . Briefly, we started this trip in November, 2002, leaving out home in Boston. We spent the next 7 ½ months crisscrossing the country and Canada, arriving at the border of Alaska about July 1st. Along the way, we had to make a horrible decision about our beloved Jake in February, while we were in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, August 26th, Joan and I were visiting Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, and talking about getting another Sheepdog. We still miss Jake quite a bit, and there’s a hole in our lives that only a Sheepie can fill. So we visited NEOESR’s website and sent off an email to our placement coordinator about our desire for a dog.

The next day, Wednesday, August 27th, I received an email from a woman in Hawaii. Her name is Cris, and she had found, and was looking for the webmaster (me). Seems that Cris had found a rescue dog in Minnesota but were having trouble adopting him. Cris and her husband Punky had rescued a Sheepie named “Sorry” in 1992, and Sorry had passed in April. Since then, they had been trying to adopt a Sheepdog in Hawaii, to no avail. There aren’t any available on the Islands, and mainland rescue organizations don’t want to adopt a dog outside of their areas, and certainly not so far away without a backup resource nearby.

I replied to Cris with a somewhat form letter-like response:

Ron to Cris wrote:

You’ve certainly reached Ron…, but I’m not sure how I can help you.

Certainly the OES-L email list (info available at (community section, I think) currently has the largest reach of sheepdog crazed people (like us) in the world. The forum at may be helpful, but if time is of the essence, the OES-L is tops.

If there are other people you need to contact, you can try the contact lists at or at, but there are not rescue contacts for Hawaii or Minnesota. Perhaps a neighboring state.

My wife and I are traveling around the country in our motorhome right now, so communications and internet access can be spotty to say the least, so it may take a day or two for us to be able to respond to emails or postings.

All that said, I will be very happy to help in any way that I can, so please let me know how.

Good luck,

I felt for her situation, but how could we help? So, I hoped that my message would point her in a beneficial direction, and put it out of my mind. I didn’t even bother to tell Joan about the email.

Cris responded that she was desperate! There was this dog she found on the Petfinders website. The dog was located in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, his name is “Winston” and she is in love with him! Cris has won over the agency, Second Chance Animal Rescue in White Bear Lake. Although Second Chance is very concerned about the distance, they have essentially conditionally agreed to place Winston with her, provided that Winston doesn’t have to be placed in quarantine in Hawaii.

Hawaii is a rabies free state, and they intend to keep it that way, with very strict quarantine requirements. However, Hawaii is trying to find solutions that can maintain their goal while reducing the stress on people and on their animals. To that end, Hawaii has just (June 30th, 2003!) enacted an option in it’s quarantine program that requires veterinary care stateside for four months, and provided that and a rasher of other requirements are met, physical quarantine in Hawaii will be waived. She needs a four month foster care stateside for Winston.

After reading this plea for help, and re-reading her original message, it dawned on me that Joan and I were in western South Dakota, and that our travel plan from here was to go to travel east then south into Iowa, then north to Minneapolis, where we hoped to visit with some friends replanted from Boston. We were planning on being there in about 5 days. Where is White Bear Lake? A suburb of Minneapolis, of course. Time to talk to Joan. We decide that if we can work it out, we’ll help.

More to follow.
Grooming Supplies.

I keep my sheepies in long coat, and I don't need the best clippers in the world to do the small amount of maintenance they need . However, I do end up shaving/grooming rescue sheepies so I finally invested in some Oster A5 dual speed clippers. I got them online at That model has 2 speeds and is used by many professsional groomers. So is the Andis model. These are corded clippers since my experience with any cordless applicance is that they lack the power of the corded ones.

The Petedge online site has a lot of grooming supplies at reasonable cost. I also have some combs that clip on a standard clipper. It's hard to explain unless you have seen them, but it lets you do a uniform clip at 1"-2" with clippers, for a longer looking coat without hving to scissor it. These can only be used on a completely de-mated coat.

Good luck, and it's great that you are making progress with Archie
I have clipped my Standard Poodle and my OES with an A5 for the past 10 years.
Just remember to get the blades sharpenned every year or two. Lubricate the blades, and CLEAN new blades in Kerosene or some cleaning fluid before you use them the first time. Oster coats all of their new blades with a coating. They will not cut unless you put them on your trimmer and hold them in a cleaning solution, while running on low speed, for 30 seconds to a minute. You will know, because the sound of the hum will go from a low slow hum to a much quicker type of hum. When I bought an Andis blade this summer it would cut and there was no coating on it; so I returned it.

There's videos out there that go through how to groom your dog.

Abbi was matted badly once. I used a scissors, a steel comb as a guide and then washed her and trimmed her with the clippers. Dirty hair will ruin Clipper blades. A number 10 blade is the best all-around blade, but I picked up some smaller and larger ones over the years---and it has made the clipping go a lot faster. I can switch blades and work on her foot, then switch back to a cooled down #10 blade. It gives us both breaks and I never spend too much time on any one area.

A dematting comb also comes in handy. I bought a large one and a small one. The large one is the only one I use, because the small one is just annoying for both of us.

You will have to test the blades temperature often, as it does seem to heat up faster in Abbi's hair than it ever did in Alex's. I think OES's under coat is a bit thicker than a poodle's.
Can anyone recommend a good book or video on grooming a Sheep dog? Preferably, I'd like to keep his coat clipped to about 2-3 inches. I use the Oster A5 clipper but always end up shaving him because my clippers can't cut through his coat.
No one down here wanted to groom my Abbi. They charge $75 for bath, brush, ears and nails. $90 if I want her cut too. One of the independents told me it would cost $100. Petsmart quoted me $85. We have a groomer shortage down here I believe.
When I was in Bahia Blanca they would always charge me $35 - $45. I guess I was getting the ex-pat rate (je-je).
I bought a hundred dollar Oster trimmer (A5) and three blades ($45) years ago for my standard poodle.
After I had left Abbi at a groomer for a trim, picked her up and she had a cut tendon that cost me $120 to have sewn together plus antibiotics, I have groomed her myself. That was about 3 years ago. Wouldn't even let the vets comb her out afte hearing that the only dog that ever bit the groomer was an OES. It costs me about $12 per year to have the blades refurbished.
My daughters combed and brushed Abbi for me today. I was thinking, why would I ever take her to a groomer? We all have such fun messing with her hair. She's a real fuzz ball at the moment. Guess I should go check her ears.
DO NOT GET SHEEP SHEARS!!!!! I did that when I first adopted my standard poodle. What a nightmare. They are VERY heavy. Their blades need to be sharpenned when you buy them. They are noisy and scare the dog. They cost so much more to buy and to operate.

Just buy either an Andis professional trimmer(2 speed if possible) or an OSTER A5 (2 speed is best) Neither of these should run much over $120 (on the web I have seen them for $89).
I have an OSTER A5 for three different sized blades. The blades run between $12 and $35. The OSTER brand has never let me down, but a new Andis blade I bought had to be sharpenned before it would work (I think it may have been returned and had been used?).
I need to run down and see what the sizes are, but I am pretty sure they are #10, # 40, and a wide tooth one with the same number. At Petsmart they sold this nice narrow one for getting in between the paws for $7, but I haven't seen it for sale again.
The only one you need to shave a dog down to about a half of an inch is the #40 I think (I am going to go look to make sure).
When You get your new trimmer, shaver, whatever and it doesn't cut anything DO NOT BE Shocked. If It is an OSTER blade you need to hold the blade in a blade wash for a minute or two until you can hear the hum of the motor speed up. They put a protective coating on the blades and it had to be dissolved by running it in the blade wash or some paint thinner, kerosene, or something of that nature. Then rinse it off with blade wash or CoolnLube spray. Buy the spray as you need it to cool of the blade as often as possible while shaving the dog. Or you could just have a pan of blade wash available.
I already wrote up some very detailed directions for shaving a dog under grooming. Maybe you should go search for it or refer to oster's web site. Also, go to your library and look up dog grooming. Our library had a grooming video as well as two all-breed grooming books and one for standard poodles. I checked them all out and looked through them all. It really helped and explained so much!
Also, you local groomer may be helpful. You can call and ask. Some love to show others and some don't. Petsmart has windows where you can watch. The groomers take breaks and will talk to you. They will tell you who they take their blades to get sharpenned. Blades need to be sharppenned every year. You can go to Rodeos and get them sharppenned also. Another resource is your local 4-H group.
Good luck. If I can help any more let me know or PM(private message) me.
Saulmr: People come to your door and give you sheepies and then it only costs $12 to get them groomed.
Guess it is time to move to Mexico .... Laughing

Aswering previous posts now: Yes I have used people shears on both my poodle and my Abbi. But my Oster A5's are faster for the big jobs and some very nice blades that will regulate length and closeness of the trim can be purchased. The blades need to be sharpenned every year, but last for years when cared for.
If the Andis or Oster blades are not cutting your dog better than the people clippers then you either need to get the blades sharpenned or if they are brand new, you need to take of the plastic coating by running them in kerosene, blade wash, or some other solvent. You will hear a chane in the hum of the clipper when the blade protectant is finally removed ... takes a minute or two usually. Sometimes even new blades need sharpenning ... usually there will be either a Barber supply place that will sharpen them, or sharpeners will attend fairs, rodeos, or visit pet and human salons on a monthly basis.
I still have one people's clipper around to clean up Abbi's face quickly, but it is my 2nd pair. The first pair wore out and the blades could not be repaired.
I had taken my boys to 2 different groomers. They wanted $70-80 for a bath and brush and $90+ for a clip down. With 2 and now 3 OES, that is a pretty hefty tab. When I started showing Oliver last year, I also started doing all the grooming. I invested in a tub, a stand dryer and clippers to clip my other dog. They have paid for themselves 10 fold. The clipper I got was an Oster A5 (I think) that runs cool. I have invested in 2 different length blades so I don't have to clip so short. The first couple of cuts were awful but I just clipped Winston yesterday, and he looks pretty good. There aren't any funny lines and all the hair (except for his head which I keep longer) is the same length. I can't believe the international pricing -- but really, the prices I have paid are outrageous. Particularly when I keep my dogs groomed and mat-free and especially if they were going to the groomers I would be sure they had no mats. You'd think that would give me a price break. Guess not. Surprised
Sandy, Winston, Oliver and baby Bentley
When you buy brand new clippers or blades they need to be cleaned in a petroleum based sovent (not gas or anything extremely flammable though). Most blades have a protective glaze on them that needs to be dissolved and worked off. For the Oster A 5's blades this means to put the attached blade in a Blade wash and turn them on and let them run until you hear the motor pick up speed. I have used the Oster A5's myself, because of their durability, ease to maintain and fix and their ease in switching between blades.
Willowsprite is right about using the #4 comb. Just make sure that the dog is combed and brushed out meticulously first. Using combs can be tricky if you do not have the dog thoroughly detangled and fluffed first.

Old English Sheepdog

Size: Medium
Age: Adult
Sex: Female

Notes: Sweet, gentle Pepper was given up as they were moving : (. Pepper would have loved to have gone with her family but instead she is homeless. Dogs can move folks, there is no excuse except in rare situations that a dog should be dumped due to moving! Pepper has a great personality, gets along with other pets and has been an indoor pet. Loving, Indoor Lifetime homes please contact us. If you are Robin Conner Davenport, IA or are associated with this woman do not attempt to adopt this dog. Conner has been in jail and will be on probation for quite a while for animal cruelty, many dogs died/suffered in her care when she lived in Delmar, Iowa, some were OES's which seems to be her favorite breed. (poor animals) She is a cruel scammer and has an OES puppy along with other pets she was allowed to keep, which shows a breakdown in the justice system. All adopters beware of who you are adopting to. Pepper will get a top notch home, very nice manners and very cute girl, more med-large size. Approx 4 years old. This dog is located near Waterloo, CONTACT only

This pet is: up to date with routine shots, already house trained, altered


This pet is eligible for a gift of the first month of ShelterCare pet insurance paid for by [Click] E-mail this pet to a friend!

Marion, IA
Check bio for contact per
I just wanted to post a link to bring this girl to people's attention. She is in a foster home and being cared for, she just happened to catch my attention because she is in Canada, and it's not often there are Old English Sheepdogs on petfinder in Canada.
I've emailed them to ask how she is doing and if there is anything I can do to help... but if anyone here on the forum in Canada is looking for an OES this looks like a sweet girl. Her name is Maggs.

jtison wrote:
What # blades do the pros use to get through horribly matted undercoats? A coarser blade? Like a #5? Whatever they are, I now have a few months to get a set, I guess ... and I know somebody out there has the answer Smile
Well I'm no Pro, but I use a number 5 "skip tooth" blade for getting through mats. #5 leaves 1/4", and the skip tooth allows the mats to get to the blades.

Here's a great page filled with pictures of blades.
Click here to see OSTER blades
(I don't know how their pricing is, last time I bought a blade it was about $10 at Cherrybrook, now they look like they're in the $20's)
Great thing is, you have time on your side to find the best prices.
Very Happy Very Happy thanks

okay what about crate size then? which one fits a big sheepie?

Last Question!!!

If I get a Oster Turbo A5 Clippers seen below, how do I get/where do I get the attachments?!?! (1/2 inch, 1 inch, 1/4 inch, etc... ). I can't believe it doesn't seem like it comes with one!!!

here's another one. i can't tell the difference.

either way, where are my attachments.
Introducing Tuley-Mars

Tuley is loosely named after a character in Jimmy Buffett’s songs and books. “Tully Mars” is a cowboy in Wyoming whose one, life-long dream is to take his horse “Mr. Twain” to the ocean. The song goes something like this:

“Follow the equator, like that old articulator
Sail upon the ocean, just like Mr. Twain
Never look back, this is my plan
Run my pony in the sand

Somewhere, somewhere…

On another road in another time
Like a novel from the five and dime
Take another road in another time

Leave my cares behind
Take my own sweet time
Ocean's on my mind”

Tuley Mars is four and a half months old and is bilaterally deaf – cannot hear anything. This will make training especially challenging and we are starting to work with him on hand signals. He was originally sent from a breeder to a pet store, when it was discovered he was deaf, the pet store sent the dog back. Tuley had been in a foster home for over a month. He is now adjusting well to his forever home.

Any tips or tricks on training a deaf dog are welcome.

Thanks for letting me share,
Where have I been? Sorry to be out of the loop so long. I'm still thinking I would like to try showing him again day so the hair growing process is starting again. He has a nice coat coming in, I love the feel of it. It is sure easier in the bath tub - 10 minutes vs 1 hour. Frank loves being naked and I'm sure this would be his preferred state, but alas, his coat should be nice and long again for the dog days of summer.

It is funny to see the people in town's reactions. They literally stop their cars and do double-takes. Some people even ask me if I got another dog... >Sad

Regarding best length for a cut, I would say it's up to you. Frank in the avatar is down to about 1/2". Some groomers aren't real even with scissors if you're not planning on doing it yourself. We used brand new Oster A5 clippers and it took about 5 hours in total.

The cat & Frank are back to their normal selves. It took the cat 4 days to either get used to the fact that there was a new dog in the house or realize it was Frank. I think you're right Marianne, it wasn't only the visual site but he must of smelled different too.
I have an Oster Golden A5 for about 12 years, and it's been super.

I dropped it once, and thought I had destroyed it... turns out I had just bent the blade, and with a new blade it was (and is) as good as ever.

Before that I had a SunBeam "small animal" clipper... it had a picture of a horse on the outside, if I recall. It should have been a clue that it was for "small animals" but had a picture of a horse.

Not very good at all! The blades got so hot so quickly that I actually singed Jake's, ummmm.... private area.. it was big and red for a week!

I felt so bad... Sad
Because of this forum (NUMEROUS people recommended it), I got the Oster Golden A5. You can tell they're quality clippers.

However, I feel 120% more comfortable with my cheap Andis one. I feel I have more control over the clippers, and the animals don't freak as much (less powerful than the oster i suppose).

If I were to shave an OES' entire coat, I'd use the Oster
I found my grooming guide, so I thought I'd share its step by step to grooming sheepies. Smile

Equipment needed:

Large Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Matting Comb
Steel Comb
Ear Powder (medicated)
Eye Drops (such as Eye-Brite)
Nail clipper (heavy duty)
Cream Rinse or Balsam
Oster Clipper A5
#15 blade
#10 blade
St. Aubrey's Royal Coatalin
Soft Brush
Cotton Balsl

1. Brush the coat with a large pin brush using a slicker brush and a matting comb on the matted areas of the coat. Brush the coat by lifting the hair and brushing it down layer by layer. Never bathe this breed of dog with mats in the coat, since water tends to tighten the mats making them impossible to remove.

2. Clean the ears by dusting the inside with medicated ear powder, and pull out any dead hair with your fingers (I personally use hemostats...).

3. Cut the nails with a heavy-duty, pliers-type nail clipper to prevent the nails from splitting. Remove only the tips of the nails so as not to cut the quick.

4. Clean the eyes by applying eye drops to the inside of the eye. Wipe the corner of the eye and under the eye with a damp piece of cotton to remove any eye stain.

5. Scissor the hair from between the pads of the feet. This hair may also be removed with your clipper and a #15 blade.

6. Clip the hair from the rectum area (about half an inch on either side of the rectum) wtih a #10 blade. Never put the blade in direct contact with the rectum.

7. Clip the hair from teh stomach area (from the groin to the navel) with a #10 blade.

8. Bathe and fluff dry. Apply a cream rinse or balsam to the coat after the bath when the coat is still wet, then rinse.

9. Comb through the coat throughly.

10. Scissor around the outside edges of the feet to round them off.

11. The final brushing is done with the large pin brush, to give the coat a fluffy look on the back. The sides and legs are brushed down.

12. Apply St. Aubrey's Royal Coatalin to the coat with a soft brush.

The Old English Sheepdog should be bathed and completely groomed every four or six weeks. A good brushing about three times a week will help to keep the coat clean and free of mats. If the coat is badly matted it would be advisable (with the owner's permission) to strip the dog down and let the coat grow out again. This is done only when it is impossible to remove the mats (and for the health and comfort of the dog). The ears should be cleaned weekly and the nails hsould be checked monthly to see if they need clipping.

And that's it. This book is more helpful on fancy cuts, but it's a pretty good basis to use for every breed.
It's not exactly a guard, per se.

It's called a "Tahoe".

I put Mulligan in the Tahoe and bring him to the groomer.

When I've used the Oster A5 with him, I mostly use the skiptooth and the #10. With the #10 I've use a comb, but I'm not sure of it's length. It is so pointy I'm always afraid of jabbing, so I use the skiptooth very carefully.

I don't have the experience and/or patience to do the whole dog!

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