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Old English Sheepdog Origin and History

The Old English sheepdog is not compared to other breeds, very old. The origins of this breed have vanished through time, although the Old English sheepdog as we know it has existed since the period of the late 1800′s. The family lines of the Old English sheepdog has seemed to vanish through the past, even though there are many expert breeders that have the opinion that the line maybe descendants of the Scotch Bearded Collie or the Russian Owtchar .

During the 1800′s many English farmers dogs cross-bred with neighbouring dogs, and it is thought this was how the modern version of the breed matured over the years. Many of the farmers had sheep and cattle, and needed a gentle, slow moving type of dog that would guide their flocks home.

The hilly, harsh environment and the often biting cold, meant that farmers needed a rugged dog, with an even temperament and watchful eye for predators that might steal and kill their animals.

Some farming generations give rise to the thought that the Old English sheepdog often referred to as just Sheepdog, may in fact have arisen from a cross between the Scotch Bearded Collie along with the Russian Owtchar. Professional breeders have tended to agree on this line of thinking, although direct origins have never been scientifically proven for this particular breed.

The sheepdog is characterized by its long shaggy white fur and large head. This long coat kept the dog protected in the cold weather, and its intelligent nature meant it was quick to learn herding skills. Often weighing in at least one hundred pounds, this ambling dog is not known for its speed.

In the 1800′s and still to this current day the sheepdog often had no tail due to two reasons. The main reason was that the farmers believed that there was less chance of the dog running off if it did not have a tail to balance it, thus giving it a slower speed more suited to herding cattle.

The second reason for the Old English sheepdog to have its tail removed by farmers was due to a bizarre then practice of taxing animals with tails. Any working animal with a tail was taxed, and poor farmers often resorted to tail removal or docking, which gave the Old English sheepdog its nickname ‘Bobtails’ or just ‘Bob’.

During the year of 1885 the Old English sheepdog was formally admitted into the Association of Kennel Clubs and recognized as a Pedigree dog. Still used by English farmers today, these dogs often remain tailless due mostly to the nostalgia of the past. These even temperament strong muscular dogs, are known for their stamina, and make fantastic pets especially around children and youth.

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