Old English Sheepdog – Bobtail Dog Breed Information

Country of origin: Great Britain
Height at shoulder: 56 – 65 cm
Weight: 30 – 40 kg
Age: 12 – 13 years
Colour: all shades of grey, gray with white markings
Use: companion dog, the family dog


The Bobtail ( Old English Sheepdog ) was originally used as a livestock guardian dog but is now a popular family companion dog. It needs a lot of exercise and loves to be outdoors. The shaggy, lush fur is high-maintenance and also brings a lot of dirt into the house. The lovable, bear-like fellow is therefore not suitable for fanatics of cleanliness and very lazy people.

Origin and history

The Bobtail is a descendant of shaggy livestock guardian dogs, but its exact origins are uncertain. By the way, the correct name is Old English Sheepdog. The name Bobtail comes from the fact that puppies without a tail or puppies with a short tail are often born. Also, the dogs used to be docked, as docked dogs were recognized as working dogs in England and so were exempt from taxes.


The Bobtail is a strong, roughly square-built dog with a remarkably lush coat. The hair is of medium length, shaggy but without curls. The dense undercoat protects against water and cold and gives the bobtail its typically full appearance. Another characteristic of the bobtail is its bear-like gait.

The coat color is grey, grizzled, or blue-grey with white markings on the head, chest, legs, and tip of the tail. The tail is usually long and drooping but was formerly docked frequently. Some bobtails are also born with an innate bobtail. Docking is now banned in many European countries.

The dense and shaggy coat needs a lot of care. Bobtails should be brushed and combed thoroughly at least once a week.


The Bobtail is a very confident, intelligent, and hardworking dog. A typical livestock guardian dog, he is also highly alert and an excellent protector. He also knows how to assert himself and must therefore be trained with sensitive consistency from an early age.

Bobtails love being outdoors and need a lot of exercise and activity – no matter what the weather! They can also be enthusiastic about canine sports such as agility or obedience but are not as demanding of the work and training as other herding breeds. The ideal living space is a house with a garden or a rural area where there is plenty of space to run around and extensive walks.

Bobtails develop a strong connection to “their” people and need close family connections.

The dense, shaggy coat requires a lot of care and also brings a lot of dirt into the house. The Bobtail is therefore less suitable for cleanliness fanatics or very lazy people.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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