So You Want An Old English Sheepdog…
There are some things you should know about the breed.
They are large, boisterous and fun loving. They do not shed, have no oil in
their coat so do not have “doggie” odor. On the downside, because their
coats have no oil they do not repel water. So when a bobtail gets wet you
have to dry it. They have a two layer coat that will matt up if not brushed
and dried. They must be brushed from the skin out at least once a week –
regardless of coat length.
People with pools or who do boating keep their animals in
short haircuts in case of falling into the water.
Some are swimmers and most are not. There are a few OES
who are excellent hunters as there some retrieving breeds in their history
Before you purchase a puppy please do think of rescue.
These are adult animals, spayed or neutered, housebroken with all shots up
to date. For various reasons these animals need new homes and they are
wonderful additions to any household. Their cost is minimal compared to the
expense and effort involved in raising a puppy. OES rescue is nationally
linked and the members can give you information online or by phone.
However you REALLY want a baby. That’s fine. But here are
some guidelines for first time purchasers of OES.
Do not go to a pet store!
These animals come from the puppy mills and have serious problems both of
health and temperament. There are stories of great animals being purchased
this way but the horror stories outweigh them by a wide margin. Purchasing a
puppy this way also encourages more breeding by the millers. So just say
You may locate a breeder on the net, from recommendations
from a Vet or from seeing animals in the park etc and asking the owners
where they purchased them.
There are questions to ask any breeder to weed out the “
back yard “ breeders.
1. Are the pups’ parents
This means BOTH parents’ hips AND hearts have been checked and the results
sent to the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals.
2. Have the parents’ eyes been
Some lines of OES have juvenile cataracts and this test determines whether
the parents are free from that disease. The results are filed at Purdue
What is the health and hip guarantee offered by the
breeder? For instance I unconditionally guarantee pups for two years for
health and hips.
3. How long has the
breeder been involved in the breed? Ask for references of people who
Does the breeder require a return agreement? This is done
so that if something in your life changes and you can no longer keep the
animal it is returned to the breeder.
4. Does he/she show dogs, have Champion lines, do
rescue, belong to the National Sheepdog Club and any local clubs?
What is their involvement besides breeding?
5. Price. You get what you
pay for. A bargain usually turns out not to be one.
You have done your homework and have a healthy pup from a
Your pup should have had at least two sets of shots and
worming when you take it home. Your breeder should supply records of this
and also include a schedule for future inoculations and Vet visits.
Until shots are completed stay away from parks, beaches
etc. The most serious dog diseases of Parvo, distemper etc are transmitted
in the air.
Your breeder should discuss with you the various items
needed to keep up your pet.
I also include a catalogue so people can see the items I’m
discussing although the chain pet stores are cheaper than catalogue
shopping. The catalogue is for reference.
Most basic is the large suitcase crate which can be folded
up to be moved. This is the pup’s home from now on. I suggest you buy the
largest available and you can block it off with Tupperware™ plastic sweater
boxes etc until he needs all the room. The pet stores also sell cage
dividers. It is also a good idea to get two crates so one is in your bedroom
and one is in the area where all the action happens. Maybe this is the
kitchen, family room or whatever that is where the crate should be. You put
an old non slip rug in the crate -one that can be washed. No newspapers or
You need nail clippers, the cheap Resco kind is fine. Next
is doggie toothbrush and paste, a 14 inch rolled nylon collar, a greyhound
comb ,and a pin brush without knobs on the end. You need a flex lead for
You need non tip food and water bowls. We favor the pail
style for water and hang it by a double spring clip in the crate. The
advantage to this is they cannot tip it or play in it so the beard stays
cleaner, and the floor drier. In fact I keep one next to the refrigerator
and add ice all day for fresh snacking.
We use a rug under it for spills.
Your breeder should indicate what brand of food and how
often to feed. Remember a puppy is a funnel. Every time you feed something
comes out. So 15 minutes after meals out they go. You don’t praise or play
with the pup until he performs. This is a naturally clean breed and will
This is why you have a crate near your bed. If the pup is
just whining you tap the crate and say – there there you’re okay or
something soothing. HOWEVER if he is agitated or circling it is time to go
outside. Even if it 2 am and snowing.
Do not leave chewies, rawhides etc in the crate as they
will cause digestion with the inevitable result.
Feeding time gives you a head start with this. Also take
the pup out first thing, in the morning, when he awakens from a nap and of
course last thing at night. Never beat a pup or rub its nose in the mistake.
Dedicate an area of your yard to be the bathroom and,
gross as it sounds, leave one poop until the next outing. This encourages
production as it were.
Don’t use potty training mats or newspaper or the newest
wrinkle doggie litter boxes.
I encourage all owners to go to class. Having a trainer
come to your home is an excellent idea also.
There are many good books and videos available including
those by Barbara Woodhouse. She in an English lady who has some funny
sayings, but is a wonderful trainer. Her Books are
No Bad Dogs and No More Bad Dogs.Also you should have
How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With by Rutherford and Neil. This
is a paperback. It tells you what is going on week by week with you puppy so
can hopefully stay one chapter ahead of him. The Old English standard book
The Old English Sheepdog by Joan Mac Donald Brearley.
best wishes for a lifetime of love and companionship with your Old English
The House of Rex
4882 Diehl Road
Metamora MI 48455