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24 Aug 2000

Dog of the Week

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Name of breed: Old English Sheepdog
Class: Herding
Recognized: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI, KC (GB), KUSA.
Size: Height at withers: dogs 55.8cm (22in), bitches 53.3 (21in). Minimum weight: 29.7kg (66lb).
Coat: Profuse but not excessive, and a good harsh texture. 
Colors: Any shade of Grey, grizzle or blue are acceptable.

The Old English Sheepdog, or Bobtail as it is often called, has been is existence in Britain for centuries.  It is believed to have been developed through the crossing of the Briard and the Russian Owtcharka, which is turn is related to the Hungarian sheepdog. An early example is portrayed in a painting 0f 1771 by Gainsborough. The breed club of the /bobtail was set up in Britain as long ago as 1888, and its standard has altered little since then. In the past it was used as a drover's dog and for defending flocks of sheep. In the early 18th century in Britain drovers' dogs were exempt from taxes, and their tails were docked as a means of identification, hence the name Bobtail. In recent years the breed has enjoyed overwhelming popularity and a pet and show dog, owned in part to its frequent appearance in advertisements.

Character and care

The Old English Sheepdog is a kindly dog, which gets on well with people children and other animals. The breed is of sound temperament and, provided that it has sufficient space and is adequately exercised, makes a splendid pet. However, parents of young children  who wanted a dog "like the one on television" have sometimes found the breed too much to handle because it is fairly large, heavy and exuberant. They are very gentle and loving dogs, Bobtails are also popular show dogs but do require many hours of grooming in preparation for exhibition. The Bobtails do not lose they hair at all which makes them a very good breed to live in side and not just out side.

Old English Sheepdog

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