The Old English Sheepdog has a distinctive shaggy coat. Back in the 18th Century, the farmers would shear them along with the sheep to make warm clothes and blankets for the winter.
They are a large and strong but compact dog with a large head. Their double coat has a coarse outer coat with a soft, waterproof undercoat. The outercoat is long and covers their entire body including hanging over their eyes. It comes in combinations of greys and whites. They are sometimes born tailless.
Possibly originating in Europe but finding favour as a sheep herder in the UK, the Old English Sheepdog has been used to herd reindeer, too, as their coat enables them to cope with the cold. They make a good family pet: stable, friendly, loving and happy to fit in around people. They are loyal, intelligent, trainable and protective with a resonant bark that sounds like a cracked bell. They are people friendly, good with children and get along with other animals. They are fairly active indoors but need a good daily run outside too.
The long hair needs a lot of brushing and combing to stop it from matting and needs clipping regularly. They can be prone to certain blood disorders, hip dysplasia and cataracts and may have a gene that makes them sensitive to certain drugs.