Old English Sheepdog - Breed and Grooming Tips

Its trademark is its beautiful, profuse coat, but the intelligent and agile Old English Sheepdog (OES) can easily complete any demanding task asked of him by a shepherd or drover. Square in build and possessing great strength, the OES enjoys working and is seen in the conformation, obedience, agility and herding rings today with their characteristic shuffling gait. His coat, which serves as insulation, can be any shade of gray, grizzle, blue or blue merle with or without white markings.

A Look Back

The Old English Sheepdog originated in the early 19th century in the western counties of England, and is believed to have descended from the Scotch Bearded Collie and the Russian Owtchar. The OES herded sheep and cattle into major city markets, earning the nickname "bobtail" due to their docked tails. The short tail signaled their working status, earning their owners a tax exemption.

Right Breed for You?

The OES is an athletic animal, filled with clownish energy, and therefore requires regular exercise or a job to do. Although affectionate with his family, he may try to herd people or other objects. If the coat is of the correct texture, the breed should not be any more difficult to groom than other long-haired dogs, provided a dog is introduced to it early.

Source:  American Kennel Club - www.akc.org


General: The Old English Sheep Dog or OES has a profuse, harsh and rough double coat with a dense, soft, fine undercoat that is weather resistant to withstand extreme conditions. Grooming is suggested for 4 week intervals to clean ears, clip nails, check anal glands and insure the coat and skin are in healthy condition. It is best to keep grooming intervals regular to keep the dog brushed out and matt free; the long coat actually provides warmth in the winter and shade during the hot summer months. Clipping this breed short may actually make the breed hotter; if you do clip your OES down , be sure to keep enough hair to cover the dog and provide shade so it can maintain its body temperature.

Eyes: Eyes should be alert and bright. Use Optisoothe Eye Wash during the bath to flush any foreign objects. Check eyes after working out in the field each time.

Ears: Monthly ear cleaning with Ear Care is advised to be sure no ear problems that might need vet attention arise. Only clean as far as you can see, never further.

Bathing:  The OES requires 2 baths. The first bath should be a general bath. If your dog spends a lot of time outside then we recommend Energee Plus Shampoo for that extra dirty dog. The second bath is targeted for the need of your dog , if your dog has allergies or sensitive skin we would suggest a Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo and follow it with a Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo or Luxury Tar and Sulfa Itch Relief Shampoo. During the spring and fall shedding seasons we recommend Simple Shed Shampoo and Simple Shed Treatment the oat proteins help strengthen the hair shaft and help remove dead undercoat A heavy conditioner like Luxury Remoisturizer is a necessity.

Common Problems: Hot spots are a common problem for this breed, especially during the summer months. To prevent hot spots you must remove the dead undercoat so the air can get down to the skin, if not moisture will cause irritation and form hot spots; keep Hot Spot Foam on hand just in case.

Coat Care: Aloe Hydrating Spray should be used during the dry winter months as well if you live in a dry climate. Simple Shed and Static Spray between grooming is a great help to keep the shedding under control. Detangling and Dematting Spray or Quick Finish Styling Spray to help during brush-out should be used.

Tools: During shedding season an Undercoat rake is the tool of choice to help remove unwanted dead hair and help prevent hot spots. A brush and a comb should be used between shedding cycles to keep the coat in good shape. A Dematting Rake may be used by your groomer to remove matts while grooming.

Show Dog Tips: Add Freeze! Styling Gel while fluffing for that extra volume where needed. High Sheen Finishing Spray before entering the ring to add a shine without leaving a residue. Silky Show Shampoo and Silky Show Conditioner will add silk proteins and elasticy to the coat to keep hair from breaking while brushing.

Paws: Paw Balm should be used weekly to keep paw pads soft and pliable. This makes the pads less likely to dry and crack.

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