The Bobtail belongs to the FCI Group 1 of herding and protection dogs and originally comes from England. Its name derives from the English word for stub tail = “bobtail”. During the 18th century, when the breed was still primarily used as a drover, such dogs were exempt from taxes.
So that the authorities could see at first glance that it was a driver’s dog, their tails were docked. Another name for the Bobtail is “Old English Sheepdog”. The owner of a Bobtail becomes a grooming expert like no other dog. The effort involved in combing and brushing can be seen from the length of the coat.
One to three hours over the course of a week is adequate for this. If there is no intensive care, the hair coat becomes matted within a short time and the beautiful sight of the dog is gone. Anyone who, despite these efforts, shares a home with an Old English Sheepdog, as the breed is officially called in Great Britain, will be richly compensated.
The FCI standard number 16 for the Old English Sheepdog refers to its original use as a herding and herding dog. Various herding dog breeds in the west of England are the ancestors of the bobtail.
History of the Breed
The Bobtail is one of the oldest herding dog breeds in Great Britain. Originally he guarded the herds of cattle against the wolf, which was still widespread at the time. After it was almost exterminated, this large, powerful dog was used to drive cattle herds. The breed is believed to have been developed in western England, although cattle drives to markets in London also took place from the far north of Scotland.
His ancestors were very likely the shepherd dogs of England such as the Bearded Collie with crosses from European herding dogs such as the Bergamasque and the Russian Ovcharka. Due to its excellent qualities as a driving dog, it was very common in rural areas, especially in the 19th century. In those days there was no needless time wasted grooming, instead, the dogs were shorn together with the sheep every spring and the fur, like sheep hair, was spun into wool to provide warm clothing and additional, much-needed money.
As the long cattle drives became fewer and fewer due to the increasing railway traffic, the Bobtail, like so many other tried-and-tested herding and cattle dog breeds, was threatened with extinction. Only the breed of pedigree dogs that had already emerged saved him from this sad fate. Originally decried as wild and sometimes unreliable, these characteristics have now been eliminated through breeding and a dog beauty has emerged that is much noticed at all exhibitions, whose formerly shaggy coat requires hours of intensive care and treatment for this purpose.
It was first exhibited in England in 1873, and it is now well-known and popular not only there, but also in the rest of Europe as well as overseas and the rest of the world. His unmistakable appearance with the tousled fur and his unique, slightly swaying gait have even made him a coveted fashion dog, which is also often used in the advertising industry.
The shaggy four-legged friends, first mentioned in the early 18th century, guard herds of sheep and cattle. In addition, the herds reach the livestock markets with the active support of the dogs. The first independent breed standard of the bobtail was created at the end of the 19th century. The Old English Sheepdog owes its name, which is more common in Germany, to its short tail.
According to tales that have been handed down, docking is a feature that means that working dogs marked in this way are exempt from the dog tax to be paid. The clipped stumpy tail (Bobtail) is colloquially used as a name for the breed. Docking the dog’s tail has been banned in Germany since 1998 and now provides the bobtail with aid for balance and communication.
The impressive fur, which richly covers the dog’s body and doesn’t spare the eyes, is unchanged. Dense, shaggy, and with a lot of waterproof undercoats, it protects the herding dog from adverse weather. The bobtail prefers the cold season, in summer the coat can limit the active dog’s urge to move.
Nevertheless, for the sake of its unadulterated appearance, you should refrain from shearing the fur. In the standard, the coat color in gray and blue, as well as mixed tones from these, is desirable. Furthermore, the white on the head and in the front area belongs to the strong and square-looking body. Puppies are born in black and white.