History and Origin: developed in the south west counties of England and used as a drover’s dog in the 17th century to drive cattle and sheep to market. Origin is not entirely certain but probable ancestors are the Russian Owtchar, and the Bearded Collie. Taxation laws in the 18th century required working dogs to have docked tails. Thusly the breed was often referred to as the Bob-Tailed sheep dog or the Shepherds dog. The breed was promoted in its early American days by affluent families such as the Morgans, Vanderbilts and Guggenheims. The OES was recognized by AKC in 1888.
General Appearance: A shaggy, profusely coated breed, large, agile, muscular and compact. Squarely built. Very large square skull, covered with long hair, drop ears lie flat to head, eyes are blue or dark brown or one of each and nose is always black. Stands lower at the shoulders, with rump area elevated. Legs large boned. Tail docked very short or may be undocked. Size: Males 22 inches or more 70-90 pounds Females 21 inches or more 60-80 pounds. In motion they amble or pace somewhat like a bear. Their gallop is free and elastic. Their loud bark is referred to as ‘pot-casse’, the sound of a cracked bell.
Coat and Colour: body profusely double coated, hard textured, not soft, does not lie flat, undercoat is thick and downy, head, legs, neck, and rear areas also covered with thick hair. Daily maintenance allows the head hair and mustache to be banded. Colours are grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle with white markings. When in full coat this breed must be brushed thoroughly to the skin regularly to prevent matting. OES can be trimmed down for easier grooming. Sheds minimally.
Feeding: a good quality kibble fed twice daily, water from a water hole bowl.
Training and Obedience: Start basic obedience training early to form good manners. Puppies can be rowdy, play rough. Will do well in obedience, rally, agility, herding trials and as therapy dogs. Have a strong herding instinct.
Activity: Requires regular exercise. Daily walks or a run in a fenced area. Love to hike, and go jogging. Very athletic. But are also sedate house dogs.
Temperament; Intelligent expression, sweet and playful, docile, courageous, good with children and other dogs, not quarrelsome, lovely family dog and protector.