As dogs go you can’t get much hairier than the Old English Sheepdog.
These mischievous animals’ main distinguishable feature is its long fluffy coat that is so thick and hairy you often can’t see the dog beneath it!
This is a dog well-known for having boundless energy, being very strong and their fun clown-like nature.
They tend to not be aggressive but require a lot of training from puppy age so that they are well behaved and more easily controlled when they grow into the muscular big dog they are destined to be.
If you wouldn’t want a huge, hairy dog doing it then don’t let them get away with it when they are a small and cute puppy.
Their coats may be thick and hairy but this doesn’t always equate to a heavy shedding dog.
Of course, a dog with so much hair that doesn’t naturally shed has a set of different problems and will require a lot of grooming and maintenance throughout its whole life.
If you are an allergy sufferer then a non-shedding dog might seem like the answer but these dogs still have a lot of hair that is thick and attracts all kinds of debris and dust which can also aggravate allergies.
A Short History Of The Old English Sheepdog
You would think that a name like Old English Sheepdog that this breed of dog would be old, perhaps even an ancient breed used in the early days of agriculture in England.
This assumption couldn’t get much further than the truth and the history we know and understand!
The Old English Sheepdog is considered to be a fairly modern breed, by doggy breed standards at least.
The earliest record of the breed is a painting from the late 1700’s in which a dog very similar to the Old English Sheepdog was called a bob-tailed collie.
The name misnomer doesn’t end with the breed age either – the bloodline isn’t thought to be very English either.
The breed seems to be made up from cross-breeding with dogs from Russia, Scotland, Europe and of course a few from England.
It doesn’t even stop there! This dog isn’t even technically a sheepdog. It was first bred to help farmers drove their cattle from field to marketplace.
The dog’s stature, and muscular gait making it the perfect working dog for these situations. They get their sheepdog name from their look.
Their shaggy coats are often mostly white and help this dog blend in with a field of sheep – making it the perfect guard dog for sheep farmers.
Its misleading name makes little difference to how we feel about this beautiful dog though.
It’s hard not to love this iconic dog, with its distinctive coat and look that paired with its mischievous and loyal nature makes it the fantastic dog that Old English Sheepdog owners love.
What Is An Old English Sheepdogs Coat Like?
An Old English Sheepdogs coat is part of its charm. The dog is iconic, in part because of it’s thick, shaggy coat and has been memorialized in the media as the lovable pet it undoubtedly is.
As with many of their very fluffy doggy cousins this dog has a double layer of fur.
They have a thick, dense and very soft undercoat that covers the body to create a waterproof layer that helps keep their skin protected and the dog warm.
This is then covered by the outer layer that makes this dog so iconic – it’s abundant overcoat of long, shaggy and very thick long hair.
The outer layer of hair is neither curly nor straight but is best described as ‘shaggy’ and this certainly helps with this dog’s overall lovable appearance.
The predominant colour of most Old English Sheepdogs is white but often mixed with other colours such
as grey, blue merle, brown, grizzle or blue.
The texture of the outer coat can be dependent on the dog and its breeding ancestry but can range from fluffy to coarser hair.
Do Old English Sheepdogs Shed?
To an extent, all dogs shed. However, when it comes to Old English Sheepdogs, shedding can vary.
It would be easy to assume that the hairier the dog and the bigger the dog the more they will shed but this isn’t always the case.
The Old English Sheepdog is one of those breeds that look like they should shed a lot but a lot of the time actually don’t!
The potential lack of hair shedding doesn’t mean this is an easy dog to own and care for.
This is definitely a dog that requires a lot of daily exercise, a lot of training and hours of grooming and coat maintenance every week.
Their coats attract dust, dirt and debris and can become matted which causes them health problems and can even restrict their movement.
How Much Do Old English Sheepdogs Shed?
Shedding might not be the main concern for this breed, but there are other aspects to be wary of.
This is a dog that doesn’t have an annual or bi-annual shedding schedule so you won’t even have to deal with a Spring hair storm as you do with so many other dogs.
This lack of shedding can actually be a problem in its own right.
With such a thick shaggy coat comes other problems and an Old English Sheepdog that isn’t well groomed will collect dust and dirt which will then be dropped wherever they go.
The dog still needs to get rid of old hair and debris so will need a little help from its owner or a professional pet groomer to get rid of its old coat so it can grow a new healthy body of hair.
Of course, there is never a guarantee that your dog won’t shed. As a general rule these dogs are not considered shedders but a mix in breeding, lifestyle or health of the dog may mean that your dog sheds more than the breed characteristics.
Grooming An Old English Sheepdog
Shedding may not be a huge problem with these dogs but that doesn’t mean their coats won’t cause any problems at all.
This breed of dog can have a lot of problems simply caused by poor coat maintenance.
The biggest problem can be with hair matting. This dog has long hair and a lot of it.
The texture of it means that the coats pick up dust, debris dirt and all sorts of problems which all mat together to create lumps of hair that can be painful, encourage parasites and skin disease and in some cases can even make it difficult for your dog to move around.
This doesn’t have to be a problem and with care and maintenance, your dog’s coat will be healthy and happy and so will your dog!
It is a big commitment though so make sure you are prepared for spending hours a week taking care of your dog. If you are short on time or have a busy lifestyle this may not be the best breed of dog for you.
At a minimum, your dog will need weekly grooming and with a fully grown Old English Sheepdog this is likely to take three to four hours.
This may not even be enough and many sheepdogs need a groom several times a week – some daily!
How much your dog will need to be groomed will depend on its lifestyle but this is a dog that requires daily exercise. Lots of muddy walks mean extra grooming and bathing.
A good grooming schedule might be a long groom once a week and then a daily brush to maintain this then bathing as needed.
Your dog may also need a trim every now and then and if you aren’t confident enough to do this yourself there are plenty of professional dog groomers out there than can help.
Equipment To Help Groom An Old English Sheepdog
Thick, heavy hair requires the right types of grooming tools for an effective job to be done.
This is one of the dog types out there that will require a range of tools and techniques to groom properly so make sure you do your research and learn some grooming techniques before starting to groom your poochy pal.
This dog is big, heavy, muscular and playful which can be difficult to handle so it might be worth investing in a good grooming table that is designed for your dog’s size and weight.
The dog can then be trained to stand still while it is being groomed and life is much easier for everyone!
There are some dog detangling sprays available that will help you to work through a particularly tangly dog coat.
This brush is the brush you need to get through these dogs’ long and thick coat. It has long pins designed to get through the layers of hair and you can start to work through any tangles or hair mats easily.
Regular brushing with this brush helps to remove dead hair, dirt and debris that are likely to cause problems if left.
If your dog has got into a bit of a mess or its hair has a tendency to mat easily.
This is especially good for reaching tangles in the undercoat layer of your dog’s coat.
To finish grooming this type of comb can work well to smooth over groomed hair. The teeth are strong and penetrate into the coat and separate hairs out from one another.
This is great if you want to have a sleek, yet fluffy finished look. Be careful with this comb though it won’t be suitable for the earlier stages of grooming
Another tool to be used with care but it can help to remove dead and old hair during typical seasonal shedding times.
Tools Not To Use Regularly
A slicker brush isn’t a great tool for a thick coat as it won’t penetrate the coat enough and can cause split ends which will fluff out your pooch and possibly even encourage the hair to mat quicker and easier in future.
Are Old English Sheepdogs Considered Hypoallergenic?
The answer to whether this breed of dog is hypoallergenic is a resounding no. No dog ever really is hypoallergenic and any allergy sufferer can be aggravated by having a poochy pet around.
Where there is an abundant amount of hair there is also a lot of dust, dander, debris and dirt and one thing that is certain with an Old English Sheepdog is that there is a lot of hairy dog there!
These dogs’ size alone means there is likely to be more of an allergy problem as there are more skin and dust to be shed and then mixed with a coat as thick and heavy as these dogs there are bound to be problems for those with allergies or asthma.
Do Some Old English Sheepdogs Shed More Than Others?
There is a definite variation between dogs no matter what their breed is.
Whilst many of this type of dog would not be considered natural shedders there is still a definite chance that your dog will shed its hair.
Even though your Old English Sheepdog isn’t a typical shedder you may still find stray hairs around just because of the amount of hair and the size of the dog. It is a natural part of having a hairy dog.
Health Reasons That Could Lead To Shedding In Old English Sheepdogs
With its required grooming schedule, you will be well aware of your dog’s coat, it’s issues and problem areas so when you spot a difference it is important to take a look at the reasons why.
Fleas, Ticks and Parasites
With such a shaggy coat, the Old English Sheepdogs hairy body is the perfect haven for many of these little nasties to make their home.
This can cause your dog skin problems, itching and more so if your dog is licking or scratching more. This can lead old English Sheepdogs to shed more hair than usual.
Emotional stress can be a problem with any animal and one of the symptoms of this issue in dogs is increased shedding.
So if your dog has started to shed more than usual and their coat is looking a little sad then check your dog for other signs of stress.
A dog’s diet needs to be full of the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain their health. A poor diet can cause increases in illness that can lead to more hair shed.
The best way to do this is to buy them an appropriate dog food from a reputable pet store. Make sure you keep non-dog treats to a minimum.
A poorly pup will let you know. Their behavior changes, they sleep more and their coats often suffer.
So if your dog is shedding more hair than usual then a trip to the vet can help pinpoint any underlying medical issues causing your pet some problems.
Final Thoughts: Do Old English Sheepdogs Shed?
An Old English Sheepdog makes an amazing family pet.
They are usually good with children, make great guard dogs and their affectionate, playful behavior makes them a lovable dog that will pounce their way straight into your heart.
Their beautiful coat is one of the things that attracts us to this iconic dog.
It may not naturally shed but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up with hair everywhere and if you don’t have the time to commit to an intense grooming schedule your dog will suffer.
For those with plenty of time for grooming and exercise, this dog makes the perfect companion. It’s loyal, intelligent and as lovable as it looks!
Thank you for reading do old English Sheepdogs shed, have a great day!