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I have decided to write this review as I have extensively researched the old English sheep dog, over that past few months and I feel I have become a bit of an expert.
As a family we decided to add to it in the form of a puppy, at first I thought it would be so straight forward pick a puppy, pay for it and off you go. How wrong was I this is not the case at all.
All breeders have the right to be very choosy when it comes to homing their pups that is if you get a breeder that genuinely cares for the pups and is not just in it for the money.
After deciding on the old English breed I contacted a number of breeders to find the perfect puppy, one breeder stood out for us she asked plenty of questions and gave us plenty of information regarding the breed, at first I thought that she was trying to put us off and didn't want us to have her puppy, but now after extensive research I realise that she was just preparing us for the breed and how to care for it properly.
I have now learned that buying a puppy is a decision that should not be taken lightly, it took us as a family weeks to finally decide that this was what we wanted to do. I can not thank the breeder enough as she pointed us in the right direction from the word go.
After many weeks of wondering if we would give the dog a good home, walk it daily, groom it, pay vet bills and generally care for it, we decided that this was the breed for us.
OLD ENGLISH SHEEP DOG HISTORY
The old English sheep dog is also known as OES, Bobtail, bob and the most common being Deluxe dog, the breed dates back to the mid 1700's and it linked to ancient herders. It originated in the UK but has become a world breed.
The nickname Bobtail is very important to the breeds history in the 18th century working dogs were granted a tax exemption, these working dog would guides herds to market and their tails were docked to mark the face that they were in fact working dogs. Old English were very good at this and their weather resistant coats helped, although back then they were never groomed but sheared along with the sheep. Now days the OES has been replaced by the collie breed.
The Old English breed first started to become popular in 1873 when it made its first ever appearance in a British kennel club show, the demand for this breed then spread across the world making the OES popular in America and other countries throughout the world.
Ever since the Old English sheep dog has grown to become the pretty fluffy deluxe dog we see in the paint adverts.
OLD ENGLISH BREED CHARACTERISTICS
As I previously stated this is not a breed that you should take on with your eyes closed, they can be very hard to look after and I would never advise you take on any type of dog without researching it fully beforehand.
Remember a dog is for life and you should be expected to care for your dog for its whole life, this can be anything up to fourteen years.
The OES breed classification is the pastoral group, as they are now very popular for companionship, showing through kennel club's and obedience trials.
Many people will disagree, but the OES is a highly intelligent breed that needs firm handling during training to overcome their strong mindedness, but they will always aim to please their handler. Early training is very important as you will need to be in control, as the breed is well known for its boisterous behaviour.
The characteristics of the OES do vary from dog to dog, their coats are water resistant, hard in texture and should be shaggy without being curly, and if the breed gets wet the coat can go wavy but should never be curly. OES have a really square well defined looking head and the eyes should be set well apart these are usually either wall or dark in colour, I have seen one OES with one wall and one dark eye this is rare but it can happen, Their eyes appear to be totally covered but their vision is never impaired . The neck should be relatively long, strong and gracefully arched leaning into well laid back shoulders.
OES are known for their docked tails, but some breeders will ask if you want this doing you do have a choice with tail or without. Although docking is illegal it is still done today, if you don't opt for docking and have the tail you will never be able to show the dog, according to kennel club regulations.
On average it will cost you between 7.50 and 10.00 per week to feed your OES, your breeder will offer you diet sheets for you to follow to prepare your puppy for adult hood, by giving the dog the right nutrients to grow up healthy.
You may think that due to their sheer size that they are big eaters, when in fact they don't eat a great deal. They are not fussy eaters either so you will get away with feeding them a relatively cheap dry food mix. My dog is currently eating the Wagg dry food mix and I go through one bag a month, but as she gets older I am sure it will cost a lot more.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
To buy a Pedigree OES you will be looking at spending anywhere between 750.00 and 1.000 for each puppy, which is very expensive for a dog but you will be sure to get a registered, fully vaccinated, chipped, wormed and KC papered puppy for this amount. If your dog isn't KC registered you will need to question why as you should not be paying this amount for a dog with no papers.
The life span of a healthy OES is 9-15 years, and the average litter size is eight pups if you would ever consider breeding.
Once we had decided to go for the OES breed, we had to make a choice of dog or bitch that was easy as I wanted to have a girl, but I still explored the idea of a boy dog as I wanted to know everything about the breed.
The size of the OES dog to the OES bitch is very different, the dog is both bigger and heavier then the bitch. A typical dog will stand at 1meter - 1.1meters high and weigh 36- 46kg, and the bitch stands at 0.9- 1.05 meters tall and weigh 30-40 kgs. So all in all the male is roughly 5cm taller and 6kgs heavier. So you have to consider that space will be an issue as these are very big dogs, and it would be very unfair if you don't have enough room for them. Some breeders like to visit your home before hand to ensure that the dog is going to an appropriate place, not every breeder will do this but the good ones out there will insist.
COMMON AILMENTS FOR THE BREED.
OES breeds are well known for developing the problem of hip dysplasia, usual this can be picked up at an early stage as there are signs of in the their parents, so when buying a puppy check that both parents have been screen for this as it can be very costly in vet bills at a later date.
Deafness is also a very common problem, so this will need to be checked but this is not a major problem as your dog will still be very healthy but you may struggle with the obedience training side of things.
The OES is a very high maintence breed and needs to be groomed daily, to avoid matting and keep their hair looking as good as the advert dogs hair. That can be very time consuming and can take up to half an hour a day to do, so you will need to be sure that you will be able to do this.
The other option is getting the dog professionally groomed, you can have the dog cut short which is ideal if you don't have much time but then the breed can be easily confused whit the Bearded collie breed. Professional grooming can be very expensive and prices will range from 30.00 - 60, 00 per visit, I personally send the dog every two months for her hair cut but I still have to groom her daily as she can mat and knot up quickly especially when she has been out in the rain.
Bathing is another thing to consider it is not good to bath your dog regularly, but it is advised at least once a month. When you wash and blowdry the dog you will need to allow at least three hours for this, it currently takes me four hours to wash, condition, groom and dry the dog with the hair dryer. This is the best bit as she loves the hair dryer and her hair go's so big she doubles in size, although she appears to be huge it is just the hair, so it will drop after a few days.
If you are considering the breed I would highly recommend that you teach yourself how to groom it, as this will save you lots of money in the long run. I personally purchase a detailed OES book from Amazon and it contained step by step details on how to groom your dog correctly, this has been a sound investment and I have never looked back.
OTHER VERY IMPORTANT THIS TO CONSIDER
As this is a very energetic breed it is recommended that they have at least two hours exercise a day, at first I was sticking to this two hours a day. I would walk her in the morning, at dinner time and of an evening, but when it came to the evening walkies she didn't seem interested and always tried heading back home. I think I have just inherited a very lazy dog but she really fits in well as we can be a very lazy family, its funny as they say that a dog takes after its owners.
With this breed you can leave them alone and they will not get distressed according to other owners, I personally would not know this as my dog comes to work with me and of a weekend she always has company, so it is very rare that she is left alone. This is my choice to have her with me at all times but it is not compulsory.
The thing I love about these dogs, is that they come across rather docile but in fact they are highly intelligent dogs that never show any aggression, which then puts me at ease when it comes to the kids. I find that the children can dress up the dog, brush her and basically do what they want to her within reason of course, and she will not bat an eye lid. I would never worry about leaving them alone together as the dog adores them, she is very protective of them but in a good way.
Now I have my puppy I have no doubt that we have made the right choice, the decision was not taken lightly and I have to stress that owning an OES is extremely hard work and very time-consuming.
It is nice having a dog that looks a cute at the one in the paint advert, but it is not always like that as they constantly shed their coats brushing and grooming is essential daily. Not only is the coat that needs your attention but you also need to check the feet after every walk to check for bits stuck in the hair as this can be painful for the dog.
Upon writing this review I have realised that she is hard work and I wonder how I ever find time to do it all, but I would not swap it as she in now part of the family.
If you are considering and Old English sheep dog or any other breed, remember to research the breed fully to understand the commitment you are about to commit to. You are responsible for your dog and you will have to be able to give the best care possible. The last thing you want is to take a dog that you cannot cope with, if would be really unfair on the dog if it was purchased as a fashion accessory and not for the propose it was intended.
Many dogs are bought on impulse and then dumped by their owners, as they are unable to cope with it, this really annoys me as this could be stopped if people learned about a breed beforehand.
Remember a dog is not for Christmas if is for life.
I am writing this review as I have read the only one on old English sheep dogs that is currently up and I have to say I was very disappointed in the review. I do not agree with any of the points made so I thought I would write a review on the old English sheep dog, as I feel these are great pets and I am very DEFENSIVE when it comes to my pouchette.
The old English sheep dog is a breed of dog, that many years ago were 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, which leads some casual observers to wonder how they can see.
The old English sheep dogs tail is usually cut off at or below the first joint as puppies. This is known as docking or bobbing hence the nick name bobtail. This then produces the Humpy Look to their like end. In some cases the tail is not docked which is fine but if you would like to ever show the dog, this would not happen as show dogs can only be registered if they have been bobbed.
Puppies are born with jet black and white fur, black hair will lighten with age. It is only after the puppy coat has been shed that the more common gray or silver shaggy hair appears.
In some areas, they are often known as a dulux dog as a result of their long-running use in advertising dulux paint, oh and of course the film Digby and Disney's shaggy dog, it was at this stage that the old English sheep dog grew popular. Over the years this dog was not as common as it is today. Well common is probably the wrong word because you don't see that many but they are out there. Lets face it we will probably see 5 hundred staffies to the one old English wont we.
I have to say I adore my old English "Amber", she is 3 and a half years old and huge. I had always wanted one of these breeds from when I was a kid, the Digby film was my inspiration LOL.
I work as a hairdresser and own my own salon, and a customer came in one day to show off her new addition to her family, a little dashund. After she left I logged on to Epupz to check out the cute little puppies, and WOW there she was a cut little ball of fluff about the size or a size 4 shoe. That was it I wanted her and I wanted her now, she was so cute. So when my partner came home I showed him and it was NO, NO WAY I could not believe it he wanted a Labrador or retriever. So I took matters into my own hands, drove the 6 six hours and collected the bundle of fluff. I paid the breeder 750 pounds and left.
When I got home and showed off my new baby, my fella was less then impressed he has always been the sensible one in the relationship, and I am the impulsive one. Well what can I say my little ball of fluff didn't stay little for long, she just kept growing and growing I couldn't believe it. I would take her it work and I would spend the day tending to her instead of my customers, she would bark at all the customers, bound around chase cars and just cause mayhem, at that point I hated her and kept thinking god what have I done, all the time my fella didn't want to know her she would snap and snarl at him, I can tell you if you were married at the time it would have ended in divorce. But I could moan about her to him as he hated her, and I would have got inevitable I TOLD YOU SO.
So I tried doggy classes but they were booked up for 3 months, I couldn't wait that long I need to take desperate measures. So I rang the guy that runs the local training classes and explained the situation and I just started to cry down the phone at the poor random guy who didn't know me from Adam. He told me to go to his house and I would give me private tuition, which I thought was odd but he was my last hope.
Well what can I say this guy was genius a real dr do-little or dog whisper which ever you prefer, all it took was half and hour or his time and 120.00 later, and I was on my way. I just needed to understand her he told me, I started to train her with the tips he had given me and I had instant results, she had to learn I was the boss not her she accepted that almost instantly, within a week she had improved dramatically. All it took was for me to know what to do.
Now 3 and half years later we are inseparable, she is no longer and baby she stands at aprox 3 feet tall and 4 feet long and now towers above me when she jumps up for a belly rub. She comes to work with me everyday and gets lots of fussing for all the customers and their children. It took awhile but she is now part of the family, my now husband even adores her but trust me it wasn't easy. The only thing is she is my dog I do all the walking, poo duties, hair washes and blowdry, feeds ect. But when the hubby gets home she doesn't want to know me she is all for him, she is a right turn coat that until she get told off for some thing them she comes running back to me.
I can stress enough that this is a very high maintaience breed, which takes a lot of looking after. So if you are considering and old English sheep dog, I would highly recommend you research the breed and don't make my mistake. Some websites vary so I will just tell you how I do it.
All I do it 2 walks a day one in the morning and one in the evening.
4 cups of dry food a day which costs aprox 16.00 every six weeks.
Regular grooming I tend to brush every day quickly, and on a Sunday I bath and blowdry her, when I dry her I brush continuously and all knots came out this way, by the time I have finished she is twice the size she should be but it is all hair.
Every six moths she gets a hair cut which costs anywhere between 45.00 and 60.00 depending on the work needed.
Overall I find the breed to have a great temperament with adults and children, and I would not hesitate in trusting her with babies, the grooming side of it can be hard but I manage as I am a hairdresser, and I and lucky because amber comes to work she is used to brushes and hairdryers ect. So I don't have a problem with her not letting me do it. They a generally very quite and don't tend to bark, but I am sure if we were burgled she would have something to say.
So now that amber is settled completely can could not ask for a better dog, she is very friendly, would not hurt a fly, quite, very kind natured. although she is very lazy when out on walks she will just turn round and go back to the car, some websites say they need 3 hours exercise a day. but this is totally un-true in my case a would say a hour is enough, and a very long walk twice a week should do it.
Let me start by saying that this dog is nothing like the 'Dulux Dog' that so many people have fallen in love with. They aren't the quietest of animals either, both Kimmi (6yrs) and Leisha (7yrs) like nothing more than letting everybody know where they are by letting rip with a round of barking, so if you want a quiet dog avoid the Old English at all means!! But that doesn't mean that they are bad pets to keep, as they do have their own personalities, heck there's nothing better for Leisha than to do than pose for the camera (it has to be seen to be believed!!), and on top of this they are an extremly loving breed, and they will demand your attention. Another advantage of owning an Old English is the fact that you're home will always be safe as they are very protective of their homes and families. However just a note of caution if you're looking for a pet that won't cost much then the Old English isn't for you, an example is the food bills that our two generate - at least £60 a month and thats before you even get started on Vets, Flea Collars etc.