The Old English Sheepdog
is a breed
used for herding livestock
and as a pet
. They are best known for their shaggy grey and white fur
which also covers their face, including their eyes.
With very few exceptions, the OES's tail is cut off at or below the first joint as puppies. The procedure, known as docking or "bobbing" the tail produces the panda-like rear end. Puppies are born with jet black and white fur further likening them to the panda. It is only after the puppy coat has been shed that the more common gray or silver shaggy hair appears. A nickname for the OES is "bobtail." AKC breed regulations require showing only dogs with bobbed tails.
In some areas, they are often known as a Dulux dog, as a result of their long-running use in advertising Dulux paint.
Males generally weigh 70 to 100 pounds(45 kg); females, 60 to 80 pounds. They stand around 22 inches at the withers
, and their long coats can be any shade of gray, grizzle, blue, or blue merle
, with optional white markings. The undercoat
is water resistant. The OES's abundant coat is an effective insulator in both hot and cold weather.
This breed is intelligent, funny, social, and adaptable which means can live outside and inside, although they sometimes seem to not be all that intelligent on first impressions. It generally gets along well with children, other dogs, other pets, and visitors. Like all herding breeds, it requires plenty of exercise, both mental and physical. They are bubbly and playful, and some times may be stubborn, depending on their mood. Sheepdogs are excellent, intuitive and loving companions, even earning the title "babysitter" or "Dear Nanny" around young children.
The herding instinct that has been carried down through the generations is astonishing. They have been known to not only herd livestock, but also their family members. They will push (not bite or nip) any family member away from dangerous objects and people. These animals are gentle with other dogs and are always willing to play with you.
Prior to the acquisition of an OES, thought should be given to the extensive grooming required. The long coat protects not only from the cold, but from mild heat and sun as well. It is not necessary to keep the hair long over the eyes unless you are showing the dog. Some who show their dogs, use a band to hold the hair out of the dog's eyes when at home. Remember, if you cannot see the eyes then the dog can not see well either. The hair over the eyes can be kept even with the rest of the coat when it is trimmed. Like all dogs, they are prone to cataracts as they age but there is no evidence that they are more prone due to trimmed hair. The long coat requires thorough brushing at least weekly and can take an hour or longer to perform. The preferred method involves starting from the base of the hairs to keep the thick undercoat hair mat and tangle free. The brushing should be started at a very young age to get the dog used to it. Brushing only over the top of the longer outside (guard) hairs can compact the undercoat and promote mats. The dense undercoat between the pads of the feet, behind the ears, and at the base of the legs are especially prone to matting. Trimming the hair between the toes and the ball of the foot is especially important. Matting of the dog's coat is uncomfortable and can even be painful
for the animal. For those who can not devote so much time to grooming, and are not really interested in showing their dogs, trimming the dog's coat in the springtime with a professional electric shear is a great solution. If you live in an area with hot summers and take the dog on outdoor outings, trimming is vital to avoid dangerous overheating. 1/4" or 1/2" inch are practical lengths, and will take the coat down to the soft hair beneath the matting. The dog will also become very excited and frisky after shedding his heavy winter coat. By the time winter comes around, the coat will be completely full again for protection against the cold weather. Along with the sometimes stubborn temperament as noted above, the grooming requirements should give a first time dog owner pause and consider a breed that is easier to maintain,
Matting of hair inside the ear canal is normal, and can easily be removed by a veterinarian or by the use of a hemostat by the owner. The inside of the ears and underside of the ear flaps should be cleaned regularly.
Some people save their Sheepdog's hair from grooming and have spun it into yarn.
The Old English Sheepdog is the brand
mascot for Dulux
paint. The dog was first introduced in Australian
advertising campaigns in the 1960s. Since then they have been a constant and highly popular feature of Dulux television and print adverts in both Australia and the UK. So much so, that people in those markets may refer colloquially to the breed as a "Dulux dog" rather than a Sheepdog.
Over the years, different dogs have appeared in the adverts. However, they all look very similar, partially as a result of most of them being selected from a closely related line of pedigree dogs. The first Dulux dog was Shepton Dash, who held the role for eight years. His successor, Fernville Lord Digby, was the most famous Dulux dog and also made his owner, Cynthia Harrison, famous. When filming commercials, Digby was treated like a star, being driven to the studio in a chauffeur driven car. Barbara Woodhouse was employed to train Digby and his three stunt doubles, who were used whenever specific tricks or actions needed to be filmed.
Apart from Dash, all the Dulux dogs have been breed champions, and five of them have won 'Best of Show' prizes.
- The Colonel from 101 Dalmatians
- Abby from Barrington, Illinois
- Alfie from Serpico
- Ambrosius and Merlin from Labyrinth
- Barkley from Sesame Street
- Barnaby from Dumbo's Circus Early 1990s Children's show
- Bebe from Captain Kangaroo
- Bitzer from Shaun the Sheep
- Boot from The Perishers
- Clark from Atlanta, Georgia
- Digby from Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973)
- Edison from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Einstein from Back To The Future
- Farley, the first dog of the Patterson family in the comic strip, For Better or For Worse. Modeled after Lynn Johnston's own dog of the same breed who in turn was named after Farley Mowat.
- George, the pet of Little Britain's Maggie Blackamoor, who also has the same vomiting problem as his owner.
- Hobo from Please Don't Eat The Daisies
- In The Simpsons, Reverend Lovejoy has an Old English Sheepdog, who first appeared in 22 Short Films about Springfield.
- Labbetuss from Norwegian childrens tv.
- Martha, sheepdog belonging to Paul McCartney (featured in the song "Martha My Dear")
- Max from The Little Mermaid
- Mr. Mugs from the Canadian Children's Readers Published through the 60's and 70's
- Nanna from Hook', Peter Pan''
- Sam from Cats & Dogs
- Sam Sheepdog from the Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf Looney Tunes cartoons.
- Shag from Road Rovers
- The Shaggy Dog from The Shaggy Dog, The Shaggy D.A., and The Shaggy Dog Returns
- The Thing from Backdraft
- Sherlock from Hercule & Sherlock with Christopher Lambert
- Sprocket from Fraggle Rock
- Tiny, pet of Franklin D. Roosevelt
- The English Sheepdog (real name: Wolfie) from 101 Dalmatians, both the animated and live-action versions. In the original book, the character is called the Colonel.
- Wordsworth from Jamie and the Magic Torch
- Winston, from The Ritchie's of Aberdeen
- Freyja, pet of Philadelphia composer, Joseph Hallman
- Terry/Ssulja from "The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince"
- Capt. from (heavenly acres.)
- Xiao Ke Ai from It Started With a Kiss and They Kiss Again