Entering an Old English Sheepdog Into the Show Ring

An Old English Sheepdog is a breed which commands a regal presence anywhere it goes. The breed does well in conformation events and truly stands out among other breeds. The dog has a strong, sturdy body which is square shaped. Though the dog has a muscular build and a thick coat, they are deceptively agile and physically adept. True to the breed, the Old English Sheepdog should exhibit qualities typical of a shepherd’s assistant and have an even temperament. The bark of the dog is long and deep with broken ring as the hallmark.

The ears of an Old English Sheepdog should be medium sized and lay flat against the side of the head. The skull is large and square-shaped, having orbital ridges that are arched and well-defined. The entire head of the dog is covered with long hair and the jaw is long, blunted and square-shaped. The nose of an Old English Sheepdog is black in color and very large. The teeth must be in a leveled, scissor bite and the dog has a long, gracefully arched neck. The top line of the dog is higher in the back than in the front and should not show any sign of weakness. The dog has a compact, short body which is broader in the rear; the loins also have a gentle arch.

Males of the breed should 22 inches in height, while females are smaller and stand around 20 inches. The height of the dog should be equal to the same as length, and the dog should have a good amount of muscle and bone. Show judges will be especially aware of the dog’s proportion and balance, rather than overall dimensions. The dog should have an expression that belies intelligence and the eyes should be blue or brown, dogs with one blue and one brown eye are also allowable in show competition. If the eyes of the dog are blue, the judges prefer a light blue or steel-gray color, while if the eyes are brown they should be dark. Yellow eyes have also been witnessed in the dog, though are not preferable and could result in penalization.

The tail of an Old English Sheepdog should be completely docked, leaving it bobbed. Some of the dogs have a natural bobtail. The shoulders of the dog should be laid back and narrow with straight front legs, the distance between the shoulders and elbow should be the same as the elbow distance to the ground. One of the main characteristics of the breed is the thick coat, which should not make the dog appear overweight or obese, but rather fluffy and shaggy, not straight and not curly. The coat must be rough in texture and a soft or flat coat would be grounds for penalization. The dogs also have a waterproof undercoat and the only trimming an owner can do is on the feet and rear end, and only for hygienic purposes. The coat of an Old English Sheepdog can be in colors of gray (any coloration), blue, blue merle, grizzle and may or may not have patches of white. Sometimes the dog may be seen with colors of brown or fawn in the coat and these would be undesirable.