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Old English Sheepdog Breed


Old English Sheepdog Breed

  • Without a doubt, the Old English Sheepdog has one of the canine world’s most unclear origins. There is evidence that the breed originated in the southwestern counties of England somewhere in the early 19th century, though it may owe its origins to the Scottish Bearded Collie or the Russian Owtchar, or some other dog altogether. At the time of the breed’s suspected origins, writings described a dog that was used to drive cattle and sheep to market.Owners docked their tails to prove that they were indeed drovers’ dogs, and commonly nicknamed them “Bob” or “Bobtail.” The OES became prominent in the late 1880s when he came to the United States, where he was first owned by a Pittsburgh industrialist named W. Wade. By the 1900s, the breed was owned, exhibited, and bred by just five wealthy U.S. families. This prompted one show superintendent to advise the judges at the 1904 Westminster Show in New York to “take plenty of time; the dogs in the ring are the property of some of our leading Americans.” In 1904, Henry Arthur Tilley founded the Old English Sheepdog Club of America. Tilley and his brother, William Steeds Tilley, were pioneers in creating the OES breed standard. Many of the dogs that they bred can be found in the pedigrees of OES lines today. The American Kennel Club recognized the Old English Sheepdog in 1885. As late as the 1950s, the OES still maintained his status as a rich man’s dog. By the 1960s, however, the breed had moved from being a status symbol to a family pet. By the mid 1970s, 15,000 dogs were registered annually; but that number has declined as more people have realized the cost and effort needed to care for wonderful but time-consuming OES coat.

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Old English Sheepdog Breed

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