Medical Info: Sheepdog Grooming Information

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My OES is almost 11 months old now. She doesn't smell - we bath her about 1 time per month - she doesn't drool, although after eating or drinking a wipe with a rag is a good idea- and she is the smartest, easiest to train dog I have ever owned. Each dog is unique and each will have different "challanges", but if you are committed to spending the time on training a dog properly and understand their grooming requirements then an OES is a wonderful choice. When I was researching dog breeeds I found tons of information on the internet. Use a good search engine like google and type in Old English sheepdogs and you will have more information than you will know what to do with! Good luck with your decison.

This is not a grooming issue, however I thought that I should share some of the great information I received last week.

While at the NEOESR picnic one of the grooming demonstrators, Kelly, offered to show me how to groom and clip Baxter if I brought him to her house. All she asked is that he be clean and brushed out. If you were at the picnic, she was the one with Monty - the absolutely gorgeously groomed sheepdog that was in full coat. So, after thinking about it for a bit (she lives in Waterford Connecticut and we live in New Hampshire), I gave her a call and set up a time.

This wonderful woman spent four hours showing me what were the best tools to use, how to groom him and how to clip him and patiently answering all of my questions.

Tools that Kelly used are a #1 All Systems pin brush, Matbreaker Dematting tool, an Oscar Frank Universal Slicker brush with a curved back, 10" straight shears with a short shank, and an #1 All Systems Dematting Comb (this comb is about 5 1/2 inches long with teeth spaced about 1/4 inch apart), nail clippers and ear powder. I was able to find all of these tools except for the Dematting comb at I found the comb at

The pin brush pins are 1" long - the brush that I got from the local pet store has pins that are about 5/8" long. I could hear the difference between the two brushes when she ran it through Baxter's fur. The brush I had been using sounded as though it was extremely rough and breaking the fur. The #1 All systems pin brush ran through the fur smoothly.

To start the process we put Baxter on his side and proceeded to "line brush" him. Basically that means making a part in his fur and brushing the coat away from you - if he is on his side with his paws closest to you, brushing the fur up - against the grain. Kelly used the slicker brush on the mats that he had on his paws (amazing how those snarls develop so rapidly). Once she finished brushing one side, she had him stand up and used the Dematting comb to fluff up his fur and then trim off the "peaks" or ragged edges of the fur. The 10inch shears made the long cuts that looked a lot better than my old shears did. I think that the long cuts help the fur fall better and hide the cutting marks. When she finished trimming one side, she brushed out the other side. The reason for brushing one side, trimming and then brushing out the other side was so that the fur on the brushed side didn't clump up and the rough areas would be easily seen (since Baxter has never been professionally groomed there were a LOT of these).

To trim the fur on his paws, she lifted the paw up and cut the fur on on his hocks even with the bottom of the pad. Then she trimmed all the fur growing between the pads even with the bottom of the pads.

Kelly then used the Matbreaking Dematting tool to thin the fur on his neck and chest. This made it obvious that he really did have a neck. She then trimmed his beard to about 2 1/2" long. She trimmed all the ragged fur around his ears - the objective was to have the ears blend smoothly with the fur on his head. She also trimmed a bit of fur around his nose - to help his beautiful big nose be a bit more obvious and cleaned up my hack job on his bangs. I have to admit that I don't think that I am brave enough to use the 10" shears around his eyes as Kelly did. I think that I'll have to depend on my old round tipped shears for that.

As for his backside, she trimmed the fur to about 1" from the top of his thighs to top of his back following the curve of his body. I suspect this will make it a lot easier to keep him clean.

A couple of points - she did let me know that sheepdog fur is extremely forgiving. This is useful since my skill levels are no where near hers (she had a grooming shop and she also shows sheepdogs). I have several books on how to groom a sheepdog, however, having it done in front of me was extremely helpful. She also mentioned that she was willing to show other OES owners how to do this. Since I don't want to put her phone number and last name up publicly, if you are interested, pm me.
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the navigation menu on the OESCA website ( is missing. Used to be that there was a menu with links to all sorts of information including breed standards, competition results, grooming advice, top kennels, etc. But for the past couple weeks, the only information is to the Centennial Store. Can't even reach information about the Centennial event. There is not even a link to a webmaster so I can report the problem. . .
Depends on the type of book you want, most are on the breed and history, the one mentioned above is a great "the complete old english sheepdog". Another great one if you can get your hands on one is "The Old English Sheepdog" by "Ann Davis (Arch)", excellant one too. There is a lot around on the breed. There 2 of my favourites.

However if you want more and in great detail about the breed, including history, training, and detailed grooming, trimming, clipping, bathing, drying and all over general coat care then one of the best is -

"Care and Grooming Of Old English Sheepdogs" by "Monique Carriere". It covers so much, just about everything and is the most detailed book I have ever read on general coat care & Information on OES.

Very hard to get now, but you might be able to seek out one in a 2nd hand book shop, if you are lucky, as it has been out of publication for quite awhile. Very Happy
No not me Michelle it is Carl Lindon, he has put an awful lot of detailed time and information together to help people learn, especially if it is there first experience with OES. Very Happy

Another link from Carl and if it is your first OES, this one is on Proper line Grooming an OES, the best detailed helpful instructions I have ever seen, especially as it comes with detailed pictures too. THANKS CARL. Very Happy

AND GEORGE, What ya talking about????, Mine do LOL Razz

Bosley's mom wrote:
80 pound lapdog.... Excited

80 pounds? We haven't seen 80 pounds since before Clyde was a year old!

I've said this before but however much you think a lot of grooming is, multiply that by about 20 and that's the realistic amount of time that it takes to keep a dog in full coat. That being said, a well bred dog will have an awesome, sweet, playful and lovable temperament that is impossible not to fall in love with.

For all the background (health, standards, etc.) information that you're looking for, go to
There is one that is full of grooming information, what tools to use, grooming, trimming, bathing, quick clean ups etc.. It has been out of publication for quite a few years and is hard to get, might be able to source one from a second hand book shop. It also comes with diagrams too. Very Happy

The Care and Grooming of Old English Sheepdogs" by Monique Carrie're.
Published by " Best Read Books Ltd, 444 Pleasant Park Road,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. K1H 5N1."
Ever watched a foal develop? They seem to grow first on one end, then the other, and eventually the ends catch up with each other Wink Puppies do that too to some extent.

Are you sure her front legs are currently shorter than her hind legs? They could be a little bit I suppose, but keep in mind that even though the legs will eventually (most likely) be equi-length upon maturity, the OES standard calls for a sloping topline - or as you reference a slight slope in the back level. I.e. her back shouldn't feel flat or level as you run your hand down the length of it (i.e. her topline).

Withers = top of shoulder blades, i.e. the front part of the back
Loin - towards the rear

As described in the American standard:

"Topline-- Stands lower at the withers than at the loin with no indication of softness or weakness. Attention is particularly called to this topline as it is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed. "

To expand upon that, taken from the OESCA online judges seminar (an exciting read, quite frankly)

Robert Cole says: "The arch over the loin being a distinguishing characteristic serves a function complimenting
his wider hind quarters than forequarters. The wide and stout, gentle arch over the loin allows the bobtail to get his feet quickly under his hind end and lift into an instant gallop uphill much like that of a rabbit; the widely spaced hindleg generating thrust, then reaching past on the outside of the narrower forequarters. A square compact breed, the arch over the loin adds to the length of topline when the dog stretches out at the gallop. It is believed by those in the breed that this arched type of topline is stronger than a level one."

The topline of the OES is a unique characteristic. The loin is very stout and gently arched. The topline is not to be mistaken for a roached back nor is it a swayback with the highest points at the top of the pelvic frame. The correct topline has a gentle rise with the highest point over the loin. This rise is not as dramatic as grooming would suggest. The illusion of rise in the loin produced by grooming must be tested by actually feeling the topline of the dog.

The muscular development over the topline provides additional power to the hindquarters. This enables the Bobtail to perform his herding tasks exceptionally well.

From the slide off the withers the back is relatively level until the gentle rise over the loin Topline is examined by placing the left hand on the withers and running the right hand across the back to the loin. You should feel a gentle rise and your right hand should be slightly higher than your left. There should be a slight but distinctive slant as the croup drops off from the loin. Do not confuse a high flat croup with a rise in the loin portion of the back.

I know, I know - too much information just to note that if she gets that from the OES side of the family, she's probably quite normal. Wink

The listing indicates this has been on Craigslist for 2 hours-

Olde English Sheepdog(s) Adolescent Males
Olde English Sheepdog(s) Adolescent Males (Burnet County). Reply to: Date: 2008-07-07, 1:02PM CDT ... - 2 hours ago - Similar pages - Note this

Olde English Sheepdog(s) Adolescent Males (Burnet County)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-07-07, 1:02PM CDT

I found these two boys loping down the middle of a fairly busy country road this holiday weekend, let me tell ya, they were pretty happy to see me when I stopped...although they have happy personalities, in my opinion they have not had it very good wherever they came from, their coats are ruined, they are completely matted and full of mud, they were so dehydrated from the heat and lugging all that dead hair around, immaciated or at least very thin and they appear to have major eye infections and possibly some skin issues that we have yet to discover under all that crap... I am having them groomed down today so my vet can actually tell what he's working with.. I have asked around about these dogs, but no one seems to know where they came from, but my husband says we are not a rescue organization and since we have 3 labs and a mini schnauzer already, the addition of these two boys isnt really making him too pleased. According to my vet, they appear to be about 2-3 years old, they have another appointment tomorrow with him for a thorough check up and to get back on the right track, and after that I would like to find a country home for them where they can stay together, they seem to be pretty co-dependent and after all they appear to have been through together, I dont blame them. But if you can only handle one, I would consider it, after reading up on them, they will require daily grooming to keep from getting into this shape again and I know two will be quite a big job! If you are interested in giving them a forever home, please email me with your information and I will get back with you as soon as possible.

* Location: Burnet County
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 745713586
From the OESCA Health & Research committee - for full text please see

For more info on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), please see

Dear Owners and Breeders of Old English Sheepdogs:

OESCA and the Health and Research Committee are launching a breed blood drive to capture the DNA of our current OES. The vast majority of our current generations of dogs have not been collected and stored. Should we fail to capture this vital DNA, our breed’s research potential will be severely disadvantaged. You need to act now to store as many samples as possible. It is also critical that samples are collected and stored from our most prolific breeding animals.

The Canine Health Foundation has agreed to a 50% reduction in cost for OES donations to the CHIC DNA Repository from June 1 – September 20, 2008. The reduced fee for OES will be $10.00 per dog.

OESCA takes pride in the fact that we contributed over 350 samples with pedigree information to Drs. Johnson and O’Brien at Missouri State for cerebellar ataxia research and over 100 donations to the Ostrander lab for hip dysplasia research. The 350 samples banked at Missouri State remain available for today’s OESCA research projects; the Ostrander Lab samples collected at the Centennial Show were specifically collected for hip dysplasia research are not available for other research. This means DNA on most of the living OES today needs to be collected and stored before we have lost the opportunity to do so.

Steps to participate include:

(1) All dogs attending the 2008 National Specialty will have the opportunity to contribute at the DNA clinic being held during the specialty week. Three veterinarian teams will be collecting blood on Wednesday, Sept. 17, Thursday, Sept. 18 and Friday Sept. 19 from 7:00 am-9:00am in the Grooming Building. Please plan ahead by filling out the form and survey prior to the National.

DNA Form & Survey:

Blood Draw Instructions:

(2) For dogs not attending the National Specialty, you can draw their blood samples and send them in with the appropriate paper work. We have found that veterinarians often will perform this service free because it is for research. In fact, some vets will come to your kennel and draw blood on all of your dogs.

(3) Additionally, some of the OESCA Regional Clubs, like the Greater Pittsburgh OESC, are organizing collection clinics after a show with the club paying for the fees involved and handling the shipping.

(4) With each dog’s sample, you will need to complete the attached forms, including a 3-5 generation pedigree and a brief health survey. Your reduced fee is $10.00 per dog. Send the paper work, payment and blood sample(s) overnight, using cool packs, to OFA . Your vet may do this for you. (Further instructions are on the attached forms.)


Prolific dogs have the greatest impact on any breed. It is critical that we have stored DNA from the breed’s most used studs and bitches. We will appreciate your full cooperation and urge you to collect and store DNA from these animals as soon as possible.

On behalf of the Breed, OESCA and the OESCA Health and Research Committee, thank you for participating in the CHIC DNA Repository. If you have any questions, please contact:

[Please see the OESCA health & research website for contact information -]

Collecting and banking DNA is likely the single most important act you can contribute to advance our breed’s health. As stated on the CHIC website, “Blood is the gold standard for genetic material; your dog’s DNA is sufficient for all research methods, including technology in the future. Moreover, the stability and purity of DNA is of the highest caliber, which offers the most benefits.”

Your dog’s DNA can help reduce incidence of inherited disease in Old English Sheepdogs.

This isn't just for OESCA breeders - this appeal goes out to all breeders as well as all owners who have a known pedigree on their dogs and a willingness to help. The club thinks we can collect 300 DNA samples. I think we can do better than that.

[where's the throws-down-the-gauntlet emoticon? Wink ]

Yes, I think you would be a great sheepdog owner. Sounds
like you have experience with caring for dogs and have
researched about the extra care in grooming that an Old English

My concern is timing for you. A college schedule is very busy,
and often requires being at school for long days. You also will
have a busy social life as well. An OES puppy grows up to be
a large dog, males can be in the high 90's to 100 lbs. Ideally
need a large yard to play and run off energy, in addition to walks.

He/she would require being put outside during the day as well.

Not trying to discourage you, but suggesting you might want
to wait until you get settled after you finish school. You would
then be able to fully enjoy caring and playing with your pup.

The reason why I suggest this is that I had an OES while in college.
My situation was a little different, I lived at home and commuted
to school. It took the 3 of us (myself and parents) to care for him
during the day. All of us had jobs and I had school and a part time job,
but our work committments were close to home.

Everyones situation is different, only you can decide if this is the
right time for you. My vote is to wait until after finishing college.
As you search the site, you will see that OES need lots of attention.
They bond with there owner and "velcro" on to you. You will want
to fully enjoy the experience. Very Happy

Good luck with school !

Here is a link for the OES club of Americal

They have a breeder referral program as well.
We here have just had changes in our Breed standard for OES, nothing drastic if you open this link and read the standard, still similar to the UK breed standard. If you click on the PDF file in the top right hand corner it takes you into a more indepth Breed Exstention on the standard. That's new, more indepth to help people to understand the basic breed standard, especially up and coming judges for the breed.

An OES should always be square so I dont understand why they are wanting to change that. That is height at shoulder equals length of body. You either have an oes in proportions or you dont, too long in loin not enough leg underneath to make the dog from viewing from the side not Square. No amount of changing wording will alieviate incorrect conformation on an OES.

Maximum height should not be addressed in any change to the standard, if a dog is overall "balanced & SQUARE" height or being smaller does not matter. You can have a tiny oes of 21" looking long and not enough leg underneath or the same size all "Square" correct length of leg underneath and in proportion. Same with a moose a dog over 26" as long as not looking all legs, long in loin, all in proportion, square from the side view, moving around the ring effortlessly, with lovely reach and drive then as per most standards around the world for the breed, no height maximum should be mentioned. Balance & right proportions regardless of size is more important then wether 22" and upwards for dog or slightly less for bitches!! Wink

Sorry for the long post, but I think this is worth seeing it is from "H.A. Tilleys book", one of the original standards provided on OES, the uk followed this standard with a few revisions later on, noting no "In reverse" on the back coat later on in the current UK standard. Well worth the read and hopefully not too many changes to suit incorrect conformation on an OES in the future of the breed or any variance away from what OES should be. Wink

Tails I wont get into that, but I have to say I have a boy tailed in NZ doing well in the Showring, so proud of him and NZ has just passed docking still permitted, with tail or not, if they are put together well then that should really not be an issue with that wagging thing hanging off the butt or not Wink NZ as well as here both are allowed, provided here in Australia a younger docked OES is imported from a country where docking is still allowed and the appropriate paperwork is correct for re-registering here and showing. At the moment since the ban in 2004 half and half are in the ring as far as showing goes. Either way, with or without a tail if there good enough either way they will win and be awarded. Cool Very Happy

... The Old English Sheep Dog.

"...It may be asked, What are the various Components of the perfect Sheepdog? The Old English Sheepdog Club gives the following description and scale of points, which I venture to say cannot be questioned or improved upon. In order to assist some readers to take a broader view of their meaning, I will enlarge upon the descriptions given. You will note the scale of points number 100, and that no points are actually recorded for character, type quality, and expression. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance to beginners to study and re-read “Description,” because it is assumed by the old and experienced breeders and judges that all animals must have these attributes before they commence to allot the points.

Skull: Capacious, and rather squarely formed, giving plenty of room for brain power. The parts over the eyes should be well arched and the whole well covered with hair.

Jaw: Fairly long, strong, square and truncated; the stop should be defined to avoid a Deerhound face. (The attention of judges is particularly called to the above properties, as a long, narrow head is a deformity.)

Eyes: Dark or “wall” eyes are to be preferred.

Nose: Always black, large and capacious.

Teeth: Strong and large, evenly placed, and level in opposition.

Ears: Small and carried flat to side of head, coated moderately.

Legs: The forelegs should be dead straight, with plenty of bone, removing the body a medium height from the ground, without approaching legginess; well coated all round.

Feet: Small, round; toes well arched, and pads thick and round.

Tail: Puppies requiring docking should have the operation performed within a week from birth, preferably within four days.

Neck and Shoulders: The neck should be fairly long, arched gracefully and well coated with hair; the shoulders sloping and narrow at the points, the dog standing lower at the shoulders than at the loin.

Body: Rather short and very compact, ribs well sprung, and brisket deep and capacious. The loin should be very stout and gently arched, while the hindquarters should be round and muscular, and with well let down hocks, and the hams densely coated with a thick, long jacket in excess of any other part.

Coat: Profuse, and of good, hard texture; not straight, but shaggy and free from curl. The undercoat should be a waterproof pile when not removed by grooming, or the season of the year.

Colour: Any shade of grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle, with or without white markings, or in reverse; any shade of brown or sable to be considered distinctly objectionable and therefore to be avoided.

Height: Twenty-two inches and upwards for dogs, slightly less for bitches. Type, symmetry, and character of the greatest importance, and on no account to be sacrificed to size alone.

General Appearance: A strong, compact-looking dog of great symmetry, absolutely free of legginess or weaselness, profusely coated all over, very elastic in its gallop, but in walking or trotting he has a characteristic ambling or pacing movement, and his bark should be loud, with a peculiar potcasse ring in it. Taking him all round, he is a thick-set, muscular, able-bodied dog, with a most intelligent expression, free from all Poodle or Dearhound character.

I have added here the Scale of Points printed in H.A. Tilley's book.

Scale of Points.

Head ---------------------------------------------------- 5
Eyes ---------------------------------------------------- 5
Colour -------------------------------------------------- 10
Ears ---------------------------------------------------- 5
Body, Loins and Hindquarters ----------------------- 20
Jaw ---------------------------------------------------- 10
Nose ---------------------------------------------------- 5
Teeth --------------------------------------------------- 5
Legs ---------------------------------------------------- 10
Neck and Shoulders ---------------------------------- 10
Coat ---------------------------------------------------- 15

This detailed description given by Mr Tilley is very long but very interesting and is definitely worth a read

Detailed Description

Weight: The average weight of an adult dog is approximately seventy pounds.

Bone: Must be strong, but excessive bone is useless. It is as valueless for a light-bodied dog to have huge bone as for a heavy-bodied dog to have light bone; ample bone to carry the body is the requisite. You can estimate the strength of the animal’s bone by handling its front legs.

Skull: This should be broad and square, with plenty of brain space; always avoid a narrow or Setter-like head.

Jaw: Avoid a long jaw, or the animal will appear ‘houndy,’ or again, if too short, will appear monkey-faced; see that the jaws are level, as an uneven mouth is very detrimental and in many cases is hereditary.

Eyes: These should be dark, and the darker the better, but bright and clear, and a ‘wall’ or ‘china eye’ is much appreciated, because it is one of the characteristics of the breed. “wall-eyed Bob’ was one of the earlier giants of the breed – eg; The eye should be rather small for the size of the animal, and well placed in the head, not too close together, and not too high or low, or too forward or backward. Avoid a full or dull eye or blood-shot eye. A light saspy eye is also a serious handicap, is often hereditary, and should be penalized in the ring, not on account of its being detrimental to seeing or the sight lasting, but by reason of its spoiling the expression. A good many animals, particularly those with the white head and wall eye, have a pink or flesh-coloured skin round the eye. Try to avoid this in your breeding.

Nose: Avoid a spotted, flesh-coloured or ‘Roman” nose, and also a narrow, small nose. A large, wet, jet black nose is desirable. Puppies very often have a spotted nose but as they grow older it usually becomes totally black. I find quite 99 per cent, of such are satisfactory as adults.

Teeth: These must be even and engage when the mouth is closed. This point is important, as they occasionally use their teeth in their work, both with cattle and sheep. Pyorrhoea is common in domesticated animals, and is a rather serious matter and must be treated as such. Discoloured teeth are often the result of distemper rather than age, so that close observation and consideration must be given to this when judging or purchasing.

Ears: should be small and V-shaped, carried flat to the side of the head; pricked ears, or heavy, course ears are to be avoided, while buckled ears are a common fault. It is essential that the ears be placed not too high or too low on the head.

Legs: Avoid a cow-hocked, splay-footed, bow-legged, or a low-legged animal. The reason why cow hocks are objectionable and are a serious fault is that they give an ungainly appearance to the hind legs; the action cannot be satisfactory either in walking or running (a dog is called cow-hocked when the hocks or the heels of the back legs turn inward).

Feet: The pads of an adult should be hard. The ‘dew-claws’ should be removed at the same time as the animal is docked. The instep should be low. It is very important that the feet should be round and nicely arched; a large, flat-footed animal is very undesirable. The legs and feet are of paramount importance, for on them are built your ideal specimen.

Tail: Very few of the present-day show specimens have a bobtail, but many are born with one which is removed when they are four or five days old. It is very little detriment if your animal has a natural bobtail when in the show ring. If an attempt has been made to remove it, and it has not been properly done, then a note should be made of the fact. The bobtail is inclined to make the animal look perhaps a little longer in the back then it would if it had been removed. I usually defer the removal of the tail or bobtail of weak or delicate puppies until they are fully ten days old, because the shock to the system may be too great to admit of its being done earlier. The dew-claws should be removed at the same time as this operation on the tail is performed. It will seem scarcely credible that some forty years ago it was customary for puppies to have their tails bitten off by men who had a local reputation for performing the operation quickly and satisfactorily.

Neck and Shoulders: Avoid a short- or cloddy-necked animal, or one that is thick or clumsy about the shoulders. If worked consistently the muscles get stronger, and this may give an animal the appearance of being thick or coarse about the shoulders. Hence care must be taken, when judging, not to expect so clean and fine a shoulder on a working animal as on those not used for work.. Any thickness in the shoulder must not be taken for some malformation of bone. It is most essential for the Sheepdog to have a well-arched neck, because when they are ‘down’ they are better able to observe what signals are given by hand, and particularly so if the grass be long.

Body: This should be well sprung. A flat-sided dog must be avoided at all costs, also one which appears short of a rib or half a rib, or one that looks all forequarters or hindquarters. The brisket should be deep with plenty of heart room, not round like a barrel. A long-backed dog is objectionable, and particular attention must be given to this in the ring, for with a long-backed animal the coat can be so skillfully rasped and groomed as to minimize considerable the appearance of this defect. If the animal does not possess a short back, look for a tucked-up stomach and then weak constitution, or even unsoundness. A stout, gently arched loin is most essential. After legs and feet the body proportions are of the greatest importance. The animal must retain its compactness and then it will not lose its characteristic movement.

Coat: Dense undercoat is essential and the outer coat should be hard or wiry; the straight, curly, silky, goaty coat is to be guarded against. A nice break and wave in the coat is desirable.

Colour: Sky blue is the most desirable, with even white markings on neck, chest and feet. A star on the head, or even a whole white head, is favoured by many.

Height: This includes size. I think a dog 24 or 25 inches high and a bitch 22 ½ to 23 ½ inches are the ideal sizes for show specimens, and one or two inches less for working purposes. It is well to remember that a compact animal does not show his height like a houndy-built one. In measuring a dog you place him on level ground and bring the tape from the ground to the top of the shoulder blade. Bear in mind that the bigger the animal the more exaggerated will be its faults, and, therefore, it will be more difficult to breed a good big one than a good little one, though the former is usually more successful in the show ring.


As in most other things, one of the great essentials in this breed is quality. I think that in no other breed is quality more appreciated than in the Old English Sheepdog. Quality is a matter of breeding, and, as in human beings, it is easily discernible. The animal that does not possess quality is undesirable, and for breeding purposes, at any rate, is almost worthless. One can, by judicious feeding, grooming and exercising, produce a bloom on the animal’s coat, thereby to a certain extent minimize this defect on a course animal.


Expression is another characteristic of the Old English Sheepdog, and this, naturally, differs in male and female. In the male it is somewhat hard, but very intelligent; in the female, to these characteristics are added softer and more gentle-looking eyes. Much has been said in prose and poetry about the beauty of a dog’s eyes, and the eyes of the Sheepdog bear witness to this, being wise eyes, full of intelligence and trust. The eye can make or mar an expression, hence the value of a dark eye, for with a light or waspy eye one may get a wild or a foreign expression. The long hair upon the head may cover the eye to a certain extent, so when judging pay special attention to the animal with a true Sheepdog expression, which is a great essential. However much one may differ on other points, there should be no hesitation regarding this particular point. Expression, like character, can be easily lost in a breed through in-breeding and other causes. On the other hand, it can easily be encouraged by judicious mating, etc.


One is often asked the meaning of the word ‘type,’ and for a beginner it is a rather difficult problem to solve. Type is really another word for lines or contour. It is, therefore, important to all who seek fame with this breed that they should make a close and careful study of the various champions, past and present, and get firmly fixed in his or her mind the size and build of the animal they favour, and which it will be their aim to develop. One constantly encounters enthusiasts who differ in their views as to which is the correct type, and opinions will vary in the same way as they differ over the perfect human specimen. You must come to a decision before embarking on any extensive breeding operations or you will be working in the dark – eg., there is a full sized animal, the smaller one, the thick-set one, something built on the lines of a cart-horse, or of a hunter, or that still more narrow type like a race-horse, with finer bone and more racily built. You must get a mental picture of your ideal dog, and then proceed to build up to this standard of perfection. Bear in mind that those who imprint their ideals on breeds in the fashioning of type are performing a service to posterity.


I can best open my remarks by saying that the greatest trait in the human race is character, and that the same applies to the Old English Sheepdog. Character is undoubtedly the Sheepdog’s greatest asset; he is a dignified animal and faithful to the core. According to the Club Book standard, symmetry and character are of the greatest importance, and are on no account to be sacrificed to size alone. The breed has a noble bearing, although there are some people who question the detection of it in the ring. It takes time, but it is easy to recognize, and care should be taken that the animals judged should receive their just reward for this great quality. On several occasions when judging, I have been requested, by word or by manner to make haste, but such injunctions only betray ignorance. The hidden virtues of this particular breed require diligent search, and it is a great mistake to hurry over the judging. The character of a dog is apparent in its manner and general bearing; the nervous, lazy, or bad-tempered dog requires very careful handling if one is to arrive at a just decision. The expert judge rarely makes a mistake, but for a beginner it is a deadly trap to enter the ring armed only with the Club’s scale of points; it is practical experience that counts more than anything.

Great responsibility rests on breeders, as their chief aim should be to do their best to perfect the breed beyond what it is at the present time. I would impress on readers that the character of the breed is all-important for, after all, it is more his nobility and sagacity than “points” that have made the Sheepdog one of the best-known and loved of all dogs. As to the method of developing character, I allow some of my young bitches and dogs to go for a few months with a shepherd because I find this helps more than anything to enlarge their intelligence and develop their natural characteristics.

The twenty main defects to be guarded against are: A big course dog, long back, cow hocks, splay feet, bow legs, shallow brisket, eneven mouth, flat side, buckled ears, weak loin, soft coat, light waspy eye, narrow head and long foreface, short neck, course ears, silky or goaty coat, small or Roman nose, weak expression, nervous or bad tempered, thick shoulders. If the Old English Sheepdog could speak, I feel sure it would ask us to give greater consideration to the breed rather than to the individual animal. Many of us know that animals which probably have hereditary failings are placed over animals with defects less detrimental to the breed. For instance, one with course ears placed above one with a small nose, or one with cow hocks above one not in coat, etc., etc. It is well that opinions differ and that from show to show one sees decisions reversed (which rather baffles the beginner), but he or she will realize when they visit the shows that our aim and the goal we are striving to reach is the perfect specimen.

I hope these remarks cover generally the points you need to remember, and, if they should seem too many, I think with a little care and thought the information can easily be digested. The beginner today has far fewer difficulties to face than existed thirty or forty years ago, and this he will realize before he has finished reading this book. Today there are expert judges and handlers and expert breeders whom you can watch. You have also the numerous firms which sell dog foods and medicines and send out leaflets and booklets with detailed information as to rearing and care of your animals. From all such sources you should gain valuable knowledge.
Hi all!

I'm new to this forum and cannot wait to learn more about this breed! I found this forum while searching for information on Old English Sheepdogs and thought I'd post and see what I can learn. I've been looking for information online, but haven't really found any information other than the same redundant information from people who don't really necessarily have any personal experience with the breed.

I have been considering bringing an OES into my home, though before I make any decisions I'd love to hear more about characteristics and over all care and maintenance of breed. Currently I have a small dog approx. 7 months old (about 8lbs) with a moderate energy level, but is very hardy and has done well with larger dogs. I take him on 3-4hour walks every other day and 1-2 hour walks on the other days of the week. Due to his coat I am used to regular grooming. Currently I am in an apartment, but after this year if all goes according to plan I will be in a house with a moderate sized yard. I wouldn't plan on bringing one into my home until I was in a house, so probably not for another year. I do have experience with larger breed dogs and plan on doing training and getting into therapy work if the dogs personality fits.

I'm a newby to the breed, though plan on doing extensive research before bringing one home. I have found a few reputable breeders that I plan on getting in contact with for more information, but it'd be great to hear from all of you!


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