The Old English Sheepdog is a large breed once used to herd sheep. True to its roots, this dog can often be found attempting to herd its family. By gently bumping those around it, the Old English Sheepdog will protect and care for its owners and their children. While quite large, this dog is very gentle and does well with small children. This dog is a large time commitment, requiring regular brushing and exercise. With proper care, this dog has been known to live more than 12 years.
Brush your Old English Sheepdog weekly, using a stiff-bristled dog brush. The long, thick coat of Old English Sheepdogs is prone to matting and needs to be well maintained. The best and easiest way to brush the coat is to start with the base of the hairs, keeping the undercoat tangle-free. Brushing can be time-consuming, and you should expect to spend at least an hour each time you brush the dog. The coat does not need to be trimmed on a regular basis but can be during warm weather to protect against heat stroke.2
Tie back or trim the hair that hangs over your Old English Sheepdog's eyes. While there is no health reason to keep the hair out of the eyes, this long hair can hinder your pet's ability to navigate your house or find items. Remember, if you cannot see your Old English Sheepdog's eyes, he cannot see you. Clips, a ponytail holder and ribbons all work to keep this hair pulled back.3
Walk your Old English Sheepdog daily, using a lightweight leash and collar. Old English Sheepdogs can quickly become couch potatoes if allowed by their owner, but they need 1 to 2 hours of exercise a day. These herding dogs love to play outdoors and will happily take long walks or jogs with their owners.4
Avoid leaving your Old English Sheepdog outside in hot weather. The thick coat on this breed makes it susceptible to heat stroke. Never go for long walks on hot days when the sun is out. If you must leave your Old English Sheepdog outside on hot days, make sure it has plenty of water and shade.5
Start training your Old English Sheepdog when it is a puppy. Old English Sheepdogs can be quite stubborn and will often choose to do something their own way instead of the way they are instructed to. Beginning obedience training when your pet is young will help ensure that it follows directions.