Old English Sheepdogs are sizeable and athletic dog breeds that have comfortable yet shaggy coat.
Also known as a Dulux dog or bobtail, these dogs are strong and have a square shape with brown or blue eyes or both and a black nose.
Their outer double coat is thick and comes in colors of blue merle, grizzle, blue, or gray with or without white markings.
The sheepdog is an intelligent and loving pet that requires plenty of care and attention. They are primarily indoor dogs and protect their family, especially children, passionately.
Although they can be somewhat stubborn from time to time, these dogs are also quite friendly, gentle, and joyful towards strangers.
One of this dog’s significant characteristics is its peculiar bark that many describe as similar to two pots clanging together.
How Long Do Old English Sheepdogs Live?
One of the most common questions new and potential sheepdog owners ask is ‘how long do sheepdogs live?’
Having this knowledge helps in the basic care of these dogs, ensuring they live a long and productive life.
Several factors affect this dog breed’s life expectancy, including diet, size, general health, and physical activity.
The average life expectancy of an old english sheepdog ranges from 10 to 13 years, with others living even two years more than this.
They are generally healthy canine companions but are prone to specific health conditions.
These health conditions include:
Deafness among sheepdogs is relatively common and is a source of significant challenges for both the owner and the dog.
Luckily, some forms of deafness are curable through medication and specific medical procedures.
However, many times this condition is not curable. Fortunately, many hearing aids for dogs available on the market, like vibrating collars, which ease this health condition.
It is worth noting that owners of deaf dogs must be very patient and dedicated to taking care of them properly.
Popularly referred to as cloudy vision in dogs, cataracts refer to a noticeable cloudy look on the dog’s pupil.
This condition causes opacity on the lens of the dog’s eyes, which prevents the formation of an image on the retina, leading to loss of proper vision.
However, the dog can still see the light and dark images. Cataracts usually occur in old dogs and are surgically removable.
Canine Hip Dysplasia
During the growth stages of dogs, canine hip dysplasia is a heritable hip deformity where the thighbone ball does not fit well into the hip joint.
Often, this condition results from hormones, accelerated growth rate, environment, muscle mass, exercise, and diet.
You may notice signs of this condition if the dog shows any discomfort, pain, or lameness on one or both rear legs.
This is a relatively common endocrine condition in middle-aged dogs. It involves a deficiency in the thyroid glands to produce sufficient amounts of hormone T3 and T4 hormones.
These hormones are crucial in a wide range of metabolic processes. Management of this condition is a lifelong treatment that includes a daily thyroid replacement.
Signs of this condition in dogs include mental dullness, irregular heat cycles, obesity, and lethargy.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This is a group of degenerative eye diseases that affect the photoreceptor cells in the retina. The condition causes the deterioration of these cells over time.
The dog may begin by experiencing night blindness. As the disease progresses, it may also lead to loss of daytime vision and consequently complete blindness over time.
There is no known cure to this condition yet, but affected dogs take various supplements to reduce stress on the lens cells.
How To Care For Old English Sheepdogs
Sheepdogs are an intelligent breed that makes fantastic family pets.
Their shaggy appearance and relatively friendly nature make them a cuddly and comfortable companion, ideal to be by your side.
They are very playful while in the outdoors but still enjoy their time lazing around indoors.
It is vital to take them out for exercise at least once per day to keep them happy and healthy.
Due to their intelligence and alertness, these dogs are easy to train. By being firm and with consistent practice, these dogs are pretty responsive to training.
They are also independent thinkers who may end up customizing your training and doing things their way.
Grooming is an imperative part of the care and maintenance of sheepdogs.
Their thick coats are generally high maintenance and time-consuming as it may take about two to three hours to have a well-groomed dog.
Since their coat is long and prone to tangles, regular grooming and daily brushing are essential.
As a result, it will keep the coat healthy and free of knots and matting that collect bacteria and dirt.
Daily brushing also helps reduce shedding and saves plenty of money as you do not have to go to a professional dog groomer.
Raising dogs is a serious responsibility for any dog owner. Unfortunately, many owners adopt dogs without knowing the specific details on how to take care of them.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to the care of dogs. Thus, you must conduct thorough research before adopting any dog breed.
Now that you know the average lifespan of a sheepdog and how to care for them properly, you can proceed to adopt these furry canine companions.
Generally, they are very responsive, caring, intelligent, and require plenty of attention from their owners.
If you set aside the time and patience, you will have a loving and colorful relationship with these canines.
However, be sure to consult the shelter you adopt them from for any additional information you may need to know.