Consider the Old English Sheepdog for the Family

  • 01/04/2016

The Old English Sheepdog is a good consideration for a first time dog owning family. This is due to the friendly, sweet nature of the breed. This dog gets along well with family members, other pets, and loves to be with the family. If anything, the Old English Sheepdog may be too friendly! The dog is intelligent enough to be easy to train and actually tolerates apartment dwelling, if provided some exercise on a regular basis. This is not the dog to choose, if you will be away for extended periods of time. Due to the herding nature of the Old English Sheepdog, it wants to be around the herd (family). If separated from family too long, it can become destructive and suffer from separation anxiety. The dog also needs to be mentally stimulated, as it is an intelligent dog, despite how it is presented by Hollywood!

In addition to requiring mental stimulation, The Old English Sheepdog requires some exercise. This can consist of long walks with the family or a backyard to run and romp with the family. The breed tolerates heat relatively well, despite the long coat. Because of the breeding for herding, the dog does not tend to bark much, but will bark when necessary. Unfortunately, it has rarely met a person it did not like and so it may not be the best watch dog. However, the Old English Sheepdog will make a great family companion for 10 to 12 years. The dog is of large size and weight - typically about 20 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weighing about 60 to 100 pounds, with males being larger and heavier. A common problem with the Old English Sheepdog is overeating and thus being overweight. Typically it will eat about 2.5 to 4 cups of dry dog food a day.

In general the Old English Sheepdog is healthy. The biggest problem is that they tend to develop deafness in the later years. This can become a challenge for the dog and the dog owner. Beyond that, the other big challenge is grooming the dog. Due to the long coat, it requires brushing on a regular, daily basis. The breed has a double coat to help it with stand weather while watching the flocks. This means that the fur is long and the dog will shed significantly all the time. This is not a hypoallergenic animal by any means. A minimum of 3 to 4 hours a week spent brushing the dog is expected and normal. Matting of the coat can lead to skin diseases with your Old English Sheepdog, so attention to brushing is better than trying to remove matted knots of long fur. Brushing will need to get through both coats and get to the skin. Some people find it helpful to spray the Old English Sheepdog with conditioner lightly and then brush the coat.

If you are looking for a dog that is dedicated to your family, will play with the kids and enjoys going for walks, the Old English Sheepdog is it. You do need to plan for the grooming requirements.

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