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11 Old English Sheepdog Pros and Cons

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Guest Author: Cody Mitchell

The Old English Sheepdog is a big, fluffy human friend that frequently finds itself in the spotlight and draws a boatload of paparazzi while out and about. Its enormous size, magnificent long fur, adorable face, friendly temperament, and exceptional social skills (better than yours, actually) tend to melt everyone’s heart. In fact, the ‘big boy’ SZA was talking about in her song was the Old English Sheepdog. We all need this big boy in life to light up our world.

So, in order to find out if this English Sheepdog breed is ideal for you, scroll down this article and get the answer yourself!

The Complete Guide to Old English Sheepdogs: Finding, Selecting, Raising, Feeding, Training, and Loving Your New OES Puppy

General Information About the Breed

The English Sheepdogs are large dogs with an athletic build, classified as herding dogs by the American Kennel Club.

England is where this sheepdog breed originated from and was originally bred as a herding dog.

Their long, shaggy, profuse coat makes them look like ginormous balls of fur, saving them the need to buy expensive winter wear.

However, don’t mistake them as softies. English Sheepdogs have muscular bodies underneath; they’re just too humble to flex. You better not pick a fight.

● The English Sheepdog Appearance

English Sheepdogs have set the beauty standard bar super high for other dogs.

This mini-bear-looking breed comprises a fuzzy double coat with long hair.

The English Sheepdog’s eyes lay flat on its face, often hidden by coat hair, and look like adorable black buttons, which gives its face a sweet look.

This active breed has cute floppy ears, and cuteness overload.

Its forelegs are quite lean, and its hind legs never missed the leg day at the gym; they are round and burly.

● Coat Colors and Markings

The OES coat colors tend to be any shade of grey, grizzle, black, blue, or blue merle, with or without white markings.

● Weight

As you can see from the chart below, the average weight of a male English Sheepdog falls between 70 to 90 pounds. The female English Sheepdog has a slightly smaller build and weighs something around 60 to 80 pounds.

Old English Sheepdog Weight & Height Chart

GenderWeight (lbs)Weight (kg)Height (in)
Male OES70-90 lbs32-41 kg22 inches
Female OES60-80 lbs27-36 kg21 inches

● Height

The maximum height a male adult dog of this breed can grow up to is 22 inches, and 21 inches in the case of a female adult English Sheepdog.

● Life Expectancy

The average lifespan of an Old English Sheepdog is about 10-12 years. Just like other dogs, English Sheepdogs are prone to minor health conditions.

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Old English Sheepdog Puppies

Old English Sheepdog puppies are born in a litter, usually between 3 to 10.

OES pups are one the sweetest, most charming, and most lovely creatures. One can stare at their face all day without getting tired.

Old English Sheepdogs tend to retain their child-like playfulness. They mature gradually, although, they are considered adult dogs when they overcome the one-year age milestone.


The Old English Sheepdog, previously known as “shepherd’s dog” and “bob-tailed sheep-dog,” first emerged in the 1800s from the British Isles. However, the exact parent breeds of these historically working dogs are uncertain.

But Briard, Scottish Deerhound, Russian Owtchar dogs, bearded collie, and Bergamasco are believed to be potential contributors to the Old English Sheepdog.

This breed has its own club, no jokes. The Old English Sheepdog club of America is a member of the American Kennel Club, which is recognized as the National breed Club.

Old English Sheepdogs have a long history of being a favorite drover’s dog. Due to their agile bodies, attentiveness, and witty brain; English Sheepdogs always had/have a high success rate at excelling in herding livestock, driving cattle, and herding trials.

The Old English Sheepdog Temperament

Old English Sheepdogs make a great family pet due to their loving, caring nature and their cute playfulness.

This dog breed is super affectionate towards its human family members and finds socializing joyful.

Early socialization plays a big role in enhancing their friendliness toward strangers.

English Sheepdogs have a protective nature, their herding dog instincts act up when they see a potential threat. This breed is watchful, and their attentiveness makes them amazing guard dogs.

However, their barking sound is very loud, which can be quite irritating. But that’s okay, one can tolerate that much, considering how cute they are.

Apart from that, the old English Sheepdog is a very intelligent breed. They are easy-going, quick learners, and great hiking partners. Moreover, their energy drive is high, they love to play. Peek-a-boo is a must-sport to enjoy with your English Sheepdog.

In terms of adaptability, they do just fine. Despite having a history of wandering around big fields, old English Sheepdogs can adjust to smaller yards as long as they get to go on regular walks and stretch their legs.

They have a sensitive nature and tend to be clingy at times. They feel the happiest when spending time with their human masters.

Health and Care

● Old English Sheepdog Grooming Needs

Generally, your English Sheepdog needs to be groomed once every four weeks. However, it can vary with your dog’s indulgence in outdoor activities.

It’s better that you go to a professional groomer for thorough coat care & proper grooming every eight weeks.

Bathing, nail trimming, and fur cutting are all included in the grooming session.

Regular brushing is essential to keep the English Sheepdog’s coat tangle-free, clean, and soft. It also determines how often you need to go to a groomer.

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Apart from that, brush your English Sheepdog’s teeth daily to prevent dental diseases, cavities, tartar build-up, and stinky breath. You don’t wanna kiss its stinky mouth, do you?

The Old English Sheepdog is an active breed. It requires at least 2 hours of exercise every day for mental stimulation. You can divide their exercise session into long walks, running, and playing dog sports like fetch (or peek-a-boo).

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● Suitable Environment

Old English Sheepdog bulky coats provide protection against harsh cold weather, keeping them warm.

However, this is not the case in hot temperatures; they are not well-suited to it and can get overheated. Trimming their coat hair short and keeping them hydrated can help.

One thing you should know is that the OES is not an apartment dog. A spacious yard is important. If that’s not accessible to you, you can take your Sheepdog with you for running and playing sports on a wide field. But you don’t want to lose track of your pet, and for that, Spoton virtual smart fence will be a great choice.

● Nutritional Needs

The Old English Sheepdog is a large dog breed; it needs a balanced and nutritious diet depending on its weight & size in order to function normally.

As a pup, when the English Sheepdog is in a growing phase, it should eat more than the smaller pups. To promote optimum growth, your pup of 6 months to 1 year needs at least two conventional-sized dog bowls a day.

Lean meat which is rich in protein should essentially be a part of your dog’s diet. On average, an adult English Sheepdog should consume something between 500 and 600 grams of premium-quality dry dog food daily. However, make sure to consult your vet about feeding your dog, as the exercise routine and its size directly influence the food consumption needs.

Due to their super thick coats, it’s often hard to detect weight gain in English Sheepdogs. You need to keep a keen eye on that.

11 Pros and Cons of Old English Sheepdogs

Now, let’s realistically compare the perks and disadvantages of having this breed to give you clarity in making the final decision.


  • Exceptional Guard dog
  • Social
  • Protective
  • Easy to train
  • Usually Enjoy Good health
  • Affectionate

Another benefit that doesn’t get much attention is that cuddling this giant ball of fur breed eliminates the need of wearing a blanket in cold weather. Its fluffy coat keeps you cozy and comfy. Right there is what we call the ultimate pro of owning an English Sheepdog.


  • High Maintenance
  • Loud Barker
  • Prone to Stubborn Tendencies
  • Daily Exercise Requirements
  • Require a Big Portion of Your Time and Energy


The Old English Sheepdog is a breed full of love, always ready to melt away all your worries and tiredness after a long day. Cuddling with these goofballs is like a free-therapy session.

To sum it all up, they are smart, agile, beautiful, affectionate, and watchful; totally exceptional! Wait, did we list all the characteristics of one of the best dog breeds? Yes, we did, because that’s true.

And, if you have decided on making it your companion, don’t rush the process. Do in-depth research and find a trustworthy Old English Sheepdog breeder to avoid any kind of complications in the long run.


Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he’s not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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