His clumsy impression is deceptive. The Bobtail or Old English Sheepdog looks like a lazy, shaggy bear. But inside the big, hairy guy is a real clown. He wraps his owners around his finger with a lot of charm and a big heart. At the same time he herds "his family" with enthusiasm.
The Bobtail is originally a herding dog or shepherd dog. He still shows great enthusiasm for his former task. His masters can quickly find him rounding them up like a herd. His vigilant nature cannot stand it when family members separate. He himself is therefore extremely loyal. The Bobtail is always ready to play defender.
As an excellent family dog, he takes care of the children with great enthusiasm. He loves to play with them for his life. Responsibly he watches over them. A strong protective instinct makes him guard weaker beings. This herding dog needs a close connection to the family and must feel loved. He rewards his owners with his peaceful, good-natured nature.
The character of a Bobtail is characterized by cheerfulness and an exuberant temperament. But he is also sensitive. Excessively strict rebuke he resents. Although he appears confident, he needs a lot of attention. In boisterous games, the Bobtail is in the thick of it and gets involved.
As a herding dog, he had to be fast and cover long distances. In addition, a high intelligence and learning ability were prerequisites for this task. Of course, the Bobtail still possesses these qualities. He is extremely persevering. His urge to move is above average. Intelligent and eager to learn as he is, he wants to be challenged and encouraged.
He doesn't mind bad weather, because he always has the right fur clothing on. His long hair is warming. The undercoat is water repellent. This is the perfect outfit for cold or wet weather. However, he is not comfortable under the bushy coat in summer.
The first meeting with a Bobtail you will certainly never forget. His lush mane is very impressive. With about 61 cm shoulder height or even more, he belongs to the large breed. His fur makes him look even more massive than his stately weight of 30 to 40 kg on average. His body is muscular and shows great strength. His ears are small, the head large and square.
Its coat is typically gray, grizzle and blue in various shades. The head, chest and front legs are white. Sometimes he also wears white socks. The long hair is hard, shaggy and not curly.
His trademark is the tail. Some dogs are born with a short tail. This has earned him the name Bobtail or "stubby tail". Until 1998, this short tail was often artificially induced by docking. The breed also has a particularly memorable, expressive voice with recognition value.
The right food
Basically, the Bobtail is an unproblematic eater. Just because he likes to eat, a little caution is required. Sweets and spicy leftovers are not healthy for any dog. That's why you should keep an open eye on what he eats. This is especially important in a family with children. They would like to do something good for their darling. Therefore, they should know what he may eat and what not.
Have you just brought your puppy home? Then he should first get his familiar food. Saying goodbye to mother, siblings and familiar surroundings already cause stress. A change in eating habits can then lead to diarrhea. Later you can choose another food. You mix the old food with the new food over several days. The proportion of old and new food shifts a little every day.
In any case, you must give your four-legged friend a high-quality food for puppies and young dogs. In this way, you will prevent diseases that increase during growth. Only an adult dog may be fed with normal dog food.
Wet food is rather complicated to administer. The extensive fur around the mouth becomes very dirty and sticky. In addition, many Bobtails do not tolerate this food well and react with diarrhea. If you prepare his food yourself, pay attention to a high-quality composition. Some foods stick together his beard so much that only cutting helps.
Treats in between are allowed. Due to the pronounced movement instinct of the Bobtail, he has a higher nutritional requirement. Therefore, he does not tend to overweight so quickly. Nevertheless, you feed him once or twice, subtracting the treats from the total amount.
Of course, you like to spoil your darling with special treats. Maybe you'll give them not only in between meals, but also at the main meal. A Bobtail learns quickly and is extremely stubborn. Be careful that he doesn't want only the treats in a short time and has you in his hand.
The long coat gives it its magnificent appearance. Without extensive care, however, it soon looks matted and degenerate. Accustom already the puppy to the regular fur care. It is best to brush out loose parts and dirt immediately after spending time outdoors. Then it comes not at all to felting.
In addition, you need to intensively groom his coat several times a week with a brush and comb. A bath now and then can not hurt in any case. If it comes to tangles, the groomer will help. In summer, he is also the place to go for a close shave. A shorter coat makes the summer heat easier for your dog.
Some owners cut the hair on the face for the free view. Others braid or tie a braid. No matter what you choose, the hair around the mouth must be washed regularly. You also wipe out the eyes and genital area. This prevents permanent discoloration of the coat.
Naturally, many foreign bodies and ticks get caught in such a distinctive coat. Small injuries are difficult to detect. Therefore, it is best to check your four-legged friend after every walk and look closely. The ears and paws also need special attention.
You will certainly spend some time on gentle but firm training of your Bobtail. He is a little stubborn and tends to dominance. Therefore, it is wise to devote enough energy to his manners.
You offer your bundle of energy with long walks. In dog sports he shows some talent. Agility, Flyball and Obedience are conceivable. It is important that he finds an outlet for his temperament and his desire to run.
Brushes and combs are standard equipment for owners of the bobtail. Fur comb and fur brush for long-haired dogs are recommended. Use a coat scissor to remove unwanted hair from the genitals, ears and paws. Use the de-felting rake and the undercoat brush to take care of the water-repellent, oily undercoat. A dog shampoo completes the coat care products.
General dog accessories are quickly acquired. Collar, leash, bowls and dog basket - and your bobtail moves in. Which toy should you choose? Your dog is happy about everything that is fun. If you decide to play a dog sport, you will certainly want to buy training utensils.
Origin & History
How the story of the Old English Sheepdog actually begins is disputed. The fact is, he is English. In his homeland, he leads the list of herding dogs. Today he is the oldest of the English sheepdogs. In written documents he appears for the first time in the 18th century. Around this time also date the first paintings that show him.
His ancestors are probably English and German shepherd dog breeds. A shot of Russian and Hungarian shepherd dogs is also included. These crosses were made around the time of the Hundred Years War. Such a good mix ensured his exceptional performance as a shepherd dog. His duties included driving the herds to market. He also had to protect them from predators and dangers.
His coat made him impervious to work in any weather. The tail was probably intentionally docked by owners. By doing so, they perhaps marked the dog as a working animal and had to pay less taxes. It is also believed that the lack of a tail was to prevent the Bobtail from hunting small animals.
In 1890, the Kennel Club recognized the Old English Sheepdog as a breed. The FCI groups the Bobtail under the standard number 16 in the group of herding and driving dogs. It belongs to the section Sheepdogs.
The Bobtail is not so often employed as a herding dog today. Mainly you can find him as a faithful member of a family. He is also very popular at shows. His appearance predestines him for a career in this field. Nevertheless, he still works diligently in many fields. This includes working as a rescue dog and tracking dog.