O is for OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG | #AtoZChallenge

31 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2016, Blogfests, Dogs, Writing/Blogging
#AtoZChallenge 2016 G is for Golden Retriever
Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Dog Breeds & Anecdotes” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the participants. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!
#AtoZChallenge Day 15: O is for Old English Sheepdog
Day 15, April 18


Old English Sheepdog 256pxThe Old English Sheepdog is a large dog, immediately recognizable by its long, thick, shaggy grey and white coat, with fur covering their face and eyes. The ears lie flat to the head. Historically, the breed’s tail was commonly docked (resulting in a panda bear-like rear end), but tailed Old English sheepdogs are now common, as many countries have outlawed cosmetic docking. [Good!] When the dog has a tail, it has long fur (feathering), is low set, and normally hangs down. The Old English Sheepdog stands lower at the shoulder than at the loin and walks with a “bear-like roll from the rear”. Height at the withers is at least 61 cm (24 in), with females slightly smaller than males. The body is short and compact, and ideal weights are not specified, but may be as much as 46 kg (101 lb) for large males. Colour of the double coat may be any shade of grey, grizzle, black, blue, or blue merle, with optional white markings. The undercoat is water resistant. Puppies are born with a black and white coat, and it is only after the puppy coat has been shed that the more common grey or silver shaggy hair appears. Old English Sheepdogs only shed when they are brushed. Cancer is a major cause of death and they are prone to heatstroke. Average lifespan is 10-11 years. – WIKIPEDIA [photo credit]

Sorry, no personal anecdotes this time, as I’ve only seen these dogs in passing. There aren’t many dog breeds starting with “O”. Paul McCartney had one named “Martha” who inspired him to write several songs. The Old English Sheepdog has also been featured in several popular movies. Click HERE to view the list.

Are you familiar with this breed?
Do you ever wonder how they can see?

Looking forward to your comments!


check footer down arrow

Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
Debbie D. on FacebookDebbie D. on GoogleDebbie D. on InstagramDebbie D. on LinkedinDebbie D. on PinterestDebbie D. on RssDebbie D. on TwitterDebbie D. on WordpressDebbie D. on Youtube

31 thoughts on “O is for OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG | #AtoZChallenge

  1. That’s my dog! That’s my dog! That’s all of my dogs 😀 😀 I LOVE sheepies 😀
    The fur is ridiculous. Our first sheepie had to be brushed for hours regularly, and she would just lie down and enjoy it. The current one, however, is a boy, and very hyper, and he keeps trying to eat the brush… so we just have him sheared regularly. You have to leave the bangs though, because they can go blind if their eyes are not covered. We cut the girl’s bangs once, and she spent days poking her head under tablecloths and curtains… poor baby. Also, our current boy has a tail and it’s glorious! It’s like a flag. And his balance is completely different. Our bobtail girl had to shake her entire butt if she was excited 😀

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

    1. Nice to see a real Sheepdog enthusiast! 🙂 I always wondered if they could see with those bangs. Thanks for the clarification. I’m glad docking tails is becoming less desirable, but the butt wiggle is adorable. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend

  2. Probably one of the few dog breeds I actually know from watching Bugs Bunny cartoons.
    I had no idea they had to clock into work each day when they guard sheep. I find that fascinating. Same thing about the coyote.

  3. I got an old Sheepdog from our local shelter once. I asked specifically if the dog had a history of biting and/or aggression since I had 4 children in my home. I was assured repeatedly that the dog, “Dozer” was not aggressive and had no history of biting. Long story short. The woman at the shelter lied. Not only was he aggressive, he was a biter and a runner. He had bitten 6 children, ran from every home anyone ever tried to adopt him into and charged adults. We discovered this only after we were all sitting around watching t.v. with friends when “Dozer” jumped up, lunged at my oldest son and bit him in the face! We had to bring in a plastic surgeon! That was terrifying on it’s own. Even more terrifying. My youngest son was just beginning to crawl at that time and he was on the other side of my oldest. If “Dozer” had bit my baby in the face the damage would’ve been much worse. I took “Dozer” into the vet to get him groomed before returning him to the shelter and it was then that the vet told me the history of “Dozer” and described him as a ticking time bomb. In “Dozer’s” defense. He was abused from the time he was a pup.. The shelter ended up putting him down and the woman at the shelter told everyone who would listen to her that I was a dog killer.. Ugh.

    1. 😮 🙁 How could a shelter worker tell such a blatant lie, especially knowing you had children at home? I’m sorry this happened to you and your son.

  4. The Dulux dog! I think everyone I know relates to Old English Sheep Dogs because of Dulux advertising 🙂 I have met a couple in real life too.
    Tasha’s Thinkings (70) | Wittegen Press (72) | FB3X (AC) (73)

    1. I thought Disney would be more of a trigger, but those Dulux ads must have been very popular. Probably more so in England than North America? I don’t remember them.

  5. I suppose people should only really have them in cold climates. I’ve seen them in Australia and feel sorry for them with the heat. There was a Disney movie about a man who changed into a sheepdog which I loved.

    1. They would definitely suffer in the heat, but you have winter too. Probably not nearly as cold as ours. Yes, there was a series of “Shaggy Dog” movies from Disney. Thanks for dropping in! 🙂

  6. Oooooooo, I love the Old English Sheepdog. They are adorable, but I don’t want to be responsible for grooming one. Some people wear their bangs over their eyes and manage to see. I can’t stand to have my hair in my face. I will never an Old English Sheepdog be.


  7. The only experience I’ve had with the breed is one of my neighbors had one and would let it take a dump on my lawn, then wouldn’t clean it up. I confronted her once, and she said, “he’s jus’ goin’ ta the bathroom!” Some people are clueless… Dog was nice, the owner was an idiot.

    We had a Lhasa Apso when I was in high school, and they have hair that hangs down in front of their eyes, so I would imagine it works the same with the sheepdog.

    1. That must have been a pony-sized dump! How rude of your neighbours not to pick up after their dog. The “nice dog, idiot owner” combo comes up a lot. 😛

  8. Like Shady, I thought of ‘Sam’ too! All that fur lends an air of mystery:-) I’m glad they no longer do ‘cosmetic’ alterations, never understood why it was ever done on any animal. They get cancer? Poor babies.

    1. I remember Sam, too 🙂 The docking thing is so cruel – all for the sake of appearance in the show ring! 🙁 Dogs of all types are getting cancer these days, just like humans. Doesn’t say much for our environment.

  9. I think it’s horrible to cut a dog’s tail off no matter what the breed (Dobermans come to mind). I can see why they would suffer from heat stroke b cause it would be like us wearing our winter coat when I it is 90 out. Could they not be shaved down to help them with the heat or is that cruel for them?? I have never owned nor will I because they need a good backyard and good walks which I can’t do often. My favourite is the cartoon one with Ralph who protects the sheep from Wilely E Coyote.

    1. I agree completely about the tail docking, as well as ear docking. It’s cruel and unnecessary. I think shaving these guys would make them susceptible to sunburn, but it probably couldn’t hurt to trim them and thin out the coats a bit. Yes, this breed is high maintenance, for sure. I remember that cartoon dog! 🙂

  10. Not owned one of these. How do they see anything with all that hair in their eyes? That would drive me crazy I think. I’m also not surprised these poor dogs die of heatstroke. That is a lot of hair!!!

    1. I’ve always wondered how they see, as well. Someone more familiar with this breed mentioned they can go blind without the hair covering their eyes. Interesting!

  11. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting one either, but heatstroke, I can believe. How hot for them under all that fur. Poor babies.
    Happy Monday!

    1. Yes, the big, hairy breeds are all susceptible to heat stroke, unfortunately. Sorry for the late responses. It’s the weekend, now. Have a good one! 🙂

  12. I too have never had a Old English Sheepdog stay here. I did encounter one when I was young when I went over to a friend’s house and they had one as their family dog. It was big! It’s neat that they don’t shed unless they’re brushed! I bet the brushing would be a big job though.
    How cool that Paul McCartney was inspired by his dog Martha to write several songs! Do you know what songs they are?

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. The grooming of this dog would be hard work. Re: Paul McCartney’s sheepdog: two songs I know of are “Martha, My Dear” and “Fool on the Hill”.

  13. Hmm, I was wondering what dog would start with an ‘O’! What a furry creature this one is! I’ve seen some cartoons with this one…can’t remember the name though! Guess this one would take a long time to get groomed! 😉
    @KalaRavi16 from

  14. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    Yessum, the first thing that popped into my head when I noticed which breed you were featuring is a movie I saw in 1959 – Walt Disney’s The Shaggy Dog starring Tommy Kirk and an Old English Sheepdog named “Sam.” The Sheepdog looks so much like a guy in a costume that they probably could have gotten away with having a stunt man play the dog. When I was a boy I begged my mother for a sausage hound (Dachshund). I begged her for English Bulldog. I begged her for an Old English Sheepdog. Those were the three dog breeds I loved most. I got a parrot. 🙂 I can only imagine how much fun it would be to hug an Old English Sheepdog, but I can see how the excessive grooming work would be a deal breaker. It is also a shame that they have health concerns and only live 10 or 11 years, half the life span of some toy breeds.

    Thank you very much, dear friend Debbie!

    1. Hi, Shady; I remember that movie and the sequels. 🙂 A parrot makes a poor substitute for a puppy. From your previous comments, you also mentioned the bird was nasty and bit people. That must have been so disappointing at the time!
      The grooming would definitely be hard work. Far as I’m concerned, all dogs’ life spans are too short. Wouldn’t be great if they could grow old with us?

Comments are closed.