Is an Old English Sheepdog a good family dog?

Who would have thought that an Old English Sheepdog – twenty-two inches of curly haired, goofy, and somewhat boisterous fun – would turn out to be one of the best kept secrets in the family pet kingdom?

We might recognize the Old English Sheepdog (OES) from popular movies like “The Shaggy Dog” or “Peter Pan.” However, only when you experience the hundred pounds of loving fur in your home, will you truly understand why so many families are head over heels for this merry breed.

The Old English Sheepdog isn’t just a pretty face with a shaggy coat but also possesses qualities that make them seem less like dogs and more like jovial, wise, and caring family members. Let’s explore the many reasons why an Old English Sheepdog may just be the tail-wagging addition your family needs.

First, let’s delve into their history. These snuggly pups have an interesting origin that dates back to the early 19th century in the rural parts of England. They were initially bred to herd sheep and cattle (hence the name), and it is this herding trait that makes them naturally good at protecting and watching over their family. Their unmistakable shaggy coats served a practical purpose too, providing necessary protection against the harsh English weather when they were out herding.

Yet, what’s fascinating about the OES is their natural ‘Bobtail’ or ‘Docktail’. The breed was often kept tail-less to easily distinguish them as herding dogs, which exempted them for taxation. Imagine that, a dog with tax-exempt status!

Do you have young kids at home? You might find this quite surprising, but the Old English Sheepdogs are known for their exceptional doggie day-care skills! Much like a merry old nanny, they do a phenomenal job looking after the kids, always ready to play, yet making sure no harm comes to them. Thanks to their herding instincts, they naturally watch over and protect children. Not to mention, their loving and loyal traits only add to their aptness as family dogs.

Apart from their remarkable ‘nanny-skills’, the OES is also packed with joyful energy and a friendly demeanor. The 1904 description of the Old English Sheepdog as “Adaptable, intelligent, and kindly, in his handsomest development he brings the beauty of utility and strength,” perfectly sums up these big-hearted furballs.

So, how does an Old English Sheepdog behave around other pets in your home? Well, winning hearts isn’t just restricted to humans for them. With their well-adjusted temperaments, they easily get along with other pets, provided there is a proper introduction.

However, as versatile and accommodating as these sheepdogs can be, they demand their fair share of care and dedication. Their fluffy coats require regular grooming to avoid mats and tangles. These social butterflies thrive on human company and may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for elongated periods.

While their energetic nature is part of their charm, it also means they need a good amount of exercise and playtime to stay healthy and happy. So, if you’re considering adding an Old English Sheepdog to your family, remember to carve out time for grooming, games, and affection.

Their hearty meal-guzzlers, you’d better prepare a healthy feeding routine under your vet’s guidance. An ideal blend of proteins, healthy fats, and fiber-packed veggies must be a part of this magnificent breed’s day to day meals to fuel their energy.

Despite their boisterous self, Old English Sheepdogs tend to be peaceful at heart and refrain from aggressive behavior. They get along swimmingly well with strangers which can be a delight but also means they might not be the best of guard dogs, in case this is a trait you’re specifically looking for.

One slight setback of the OES can be its size. Given their large physique and high-energy nature, they might not be the best fit for apartment living where space may be limited. They thrive better in a home with a yard where they can run around and expend energy.

Adopting a dog is a long-term commitment and with a lifespan of 10-12 years, bringing an Old English Sheepdog into your family isn’t just about a few years of fluffy-fun. It’s about creating an unbreakable bond that grows with time. If you are up for the challenge and responsibility, rest assured, you won’t be disappointed.

In their love for life and joyous pranks, their protective instincts, their gentle patience with children, and their loving loyalty, an Old English Sheepdog doesn’t just become another pet, they become part of your family. Through their eyes filled with love, their heart filled with loyalty, and their life filled with energy, they teach a family the meaning of unconditional love, boundless joy, and unwavering loyalty. Want a new family member who will bring much laughter, love, and a fair share of fur into your lives? Well, an Old English Sheepdog might just be perfect for you!