Old English Sheepdog History, the natural herding ability of the Old English.
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Old English Sheepdog History :: Intelligent and picturesque, workmanlike and affectionate, the Old English Sheepdog combines, in his shaggy person, the attributes at once of a drover's drudge and of an ideal companion. Although the modern dog is seen less often than of old performing his legitimate duties as a shepherd dog, there is no ground whatever for supposing that he is a whit less sagacious than the mongrels which have largely supplanted him.
The Ancestry Of The Old English Sheepdog History
As to his origin, there is considerable conflict of opinion, owing to the natural difficulty of tracing him back to that period when the dog-fancier, as he flourishes today, was all unknown, and the voluminous records of a watchful Kennel Club were still undreamed of. From time immemorial a sheepdog, of one kind or another, has presided over the welfare of flocks and herds in every land. Probably, in an age less peaceable than ours, this canine guardian was called upon, in addition to his other duties, to protect his charges from wolves and bears and other marauders. In that case it is very possible that the early progenitors of the breed were built upon a larger and more massive scale than is the sheepdog of today.
Herd Dog History
The herd dogs of foreign countries, such as the Calabrian of the Pyrenees, the Himalayan drover's dog, and the Russian Owtchah, are all of them massive and powerful animals, far larger and fiercer than our own, though each of them, and notably the Owtchah, has many points in common with the English bob-tail ( otherwise known as the Old English Sheepdog in history). It is quite possible that all of them may trace their origin, at some remote period, to the same ancestral strain. Indeed, it is quite open to argument that the founders of our breed, as it exists today, were imported into England at some far-off date when the duties of a sheepdog demanded of him fighting qualities no longer necessary.
Old English Sheepdog History In The Nineteenth Century
Throughout the nineteenth century, one finds conclusive evidence that the breed was very fairly represented in many parts of England, notably in Suffolk, Hampshire, and Dorsetshire, and also in Wales. Youatt writes of it in 1845, Richardson in 1847, and "Stonehenge" in 1859. Their descriptions vary a little, though the leading characteristics are much the same, but each writer specially notes the exceptional sagacity of the breed. The dog was well known in Scotland, too, under the title of the Bearded Collie, for there is little doubt that this last is merely a variant of the breed. He differs, in point of fact, chiefly by reason of possessing a tail, the amputation of which is a recognized custom in England.
General Characteristics of the Old English Sheepdog History
GENERAL APPEARANCE--A strong, compact-looking dog of great symmetry, absolutely free from legginess, profusely coated all over, very elastic in its gallop, but in walking or trotting he has a characteristic ambling or pacing movement, and his bark should be loud, with a peculiar _pot casse_ ring in it. Taking him all round, he is a thick-set, muscular, able-bodied dog, with a most intelligent expression, free from all Poodle or Deerhound character.
EYES--Vary according to the colour of the dog, but dark or wall eyes are to be preferred. NOSE--Always black, large, and capacious.
BODY--Rather short and very compact, ribs well sprung, and brisket deep and capacious. The loin should be very stout and gently arched, while the hind-quarters should be round and muscular, and with well let down hocks, and the hams densely coated with a thick long jacket in excess of any other part.
COAT--Profuse, and of good hard texture, not straight but shaggy and free from curl. The undercoat should be a waterproof pile, when not removed by grooming or season.
COLOUR--Any shade of grey, grizzle, blue or blue-merled, with or without white markings, or in reverse; any shade of brown or sable to be considered distinctly objectionable and not to be encouraged.
HEIGHT--Twenty-two inches and upwards for dogs, slightly less for bitches. Type, character, and symmetry are of the greatest importance, and on no account to be sacrificed to size alone.
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