Old English Sheepdog (Bobtail)

FCI standard Nº 16

Origin
Great Britain
Group
Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
Section
Section 1 Sheepdogs
Working
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Monday 25 November 1963
Publication of the official valid standard
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Last update
Wednesday 05 January 2011
En français, cette race se dit
Chien de Berger anglais ancestral (Bobtail)
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Altenglischer schäferhund (Bobtail)
En español, esta raza se dice
Antiguo perro de pastor inglés (Bobtail)
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Oud Engels Sheepdog (Bobtail)

Usage

Sheepdog.

Brief historical summary

Though the Old English Sheepdogs registry is listed as Britain its actual ancestry is thought to be from the European Shepherd Dogs of the Owtcharka and Bergamasco types bred to sheepdogs of Britain. It is now regarded as a native British breed, often called the Bob-Tail. Strong, compact and profusely coated; his coat is a distinctive feature and is weather-resistant. Basically a country dog, intelligent and friendly; he has a particularly resonant bark sufficient to frighten off any intruder.

General appearance

Strong, square-looking dog of great symmetry and overall soundness. Absolutely free from legginess, profusely coated all over. A thick-set muscular, able-bodied dog with a most intelligent expression. The natural outline should not be artificially changed by scissoring or clipping. Of great stamina, exhibiting a gently rising topline, and a pear-shaped body when viewed from above. The gait has a typical roll when ambling or walking. Bark has a distinctive toned quality.

Important proportions

Dog standing lower at withers than loin. Head in proportion to the size of the body. Muzzle measuring approximately half of the total head length.

Behaviour / temperament

A biddable dog of even disposition. Bold, faithful and trustworthy, with no suggestion of nervousness or unprovoked aggression.

Head

Cranial region

Skull
Capacious, rather square. Well arched above eyes. 
Stop
Well defined.

Facial region

Nose
Large and black. Nostrils wide.
Muzzle
Strong, square and truncated.
Jaws and teeth
Teeth strong, large and evenly placed. Scissor bite - jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Pincer bite tolerated but undesirable.
Eyes
Set well apart. Dark or wall eyes. Two blue eyes acceptable. Light eyes undesirable. Pigmentation on the eye rims is preferred.
Ears
Small and carried flat to side of head.

Neck

Fairly long, strong, arched gracefully.

Body

Body
Rather short and compact.
Loin
Very sturdy, broad and gently arched.
Chest
Deep, capacious brisket.
Ribs
Ribs well-sprung.

Tail

Previously customarily docked or natural stumpytail.
Docked: Customarily completely docked.
Undocked: Natural carriage. Well feathered with abundant hard-textured coat.

Limbs

Forequarters

Shoulders
Well laid back, being narrower at the point of withers than at the point of shoulder. Loaded shoulders undesirable.
Elbows
Fitting close to brisket.
Forearm
Forelegs perfectly straight, with plenty of bone, holding body well from ground.
Forefeet
Small, round and tight. Toes well arched. Pads thick and hard. Turning neither in nor out.

Hindquarters

Generality
Quarters well covered, round and muscular.
Lower thigh
Long and well developed.
Stifle
Well turned, but not exaggerated.
Metatarsus
Parallel, viewed from behind.
Hock
Set low.
Hind feet
Small, round and tight. Toes well arched. Pads thick and hard. Turning neither in nor out.

Gait and movement

When walking, exhibits a bear-like roll from the rear. When trotting, shows effortless extension and strong driving rear action, with legs moving straight along line of travel. Very elastic at the gallop. At slow speeds, some dogs may tend to pace. When moving, the head carriage may adopt a naturally lower position.

Coat

Hair
Profuse, of good harsh texture, not straight, but shaggy and free from curl.
Undercoat of waterproof pile. Head and skull well covered with hair, ears moderately coated, neck well coated, forelegs well coated all round, hindquarters more heavily coated than rest of body. Quality and texture to be considered above length and profusion.
Colour
Any shade of grey, grizzle or blue. Body and hindquarters of solid colour with or without white socks. White patches in the solid area to be discouraged. Head, neck, forequarters and under belly to be white with or without markings. Any shade of brown undesirable.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males 61 cms and upwards, females 56 cms and upwards.
Type and symmetry of greatest importance, and on no account to be sacrified to size alone.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Additional information from visitors

The origins of the Bobtail breed are rooted in South-Russian Ovcharkas, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, French Briards and Scottich Bearded Collies. It was developed in western England as a powerful defender and herder of livestock. The Old English Sheepdog's nickname "Bobtail" comes from the practice of docking the tails of working dogs as a proof of occupation for tax exemption. The breed was standardized in the late 1800's and the Old English Sheepdog became a popular show dog and urban companion.
Playful, friendly and gentle with children, the Bobtail makes an excellent family pet. It is also an alert and capable watchdog. Its body is massive, strong and well-boned. The Bobtail is an agile and energetic dog which enjoys an active lifestyle. This breed needs a fair ammount of grooming and upkeep. The rich coat is long and soft, allowed in any shade of gray, blue or merle with white markings. Average height is around 23 inches.

Detailed history

In collaboration with the Bobtail Club de France that we thank very much.

Its origins are uncertain
We know very little about the ancestors of the Bobtail. Several hypotheses are advanced according to which Roman and Celtic Mastins, the Scottish Greyhound, the Brie Dog, the Pyrenean Shepherd, the Labrit and even long-haired Eastern European Shepherd Dogs are ancestors of the Bobtail that we know today.
The French antecedents of the Bobtail are quite plausible, given the many exchanges made between France and England very early.
In the twelfth century, English possessions on the territory of France were far from negligible and represented about a third of France today!
From this time, Pyrenean shepherds, Labrits and other long-haired shepherd dogs were brought back to England.
Then came the Hundred Years War whose troop movements certainly contributed to imports.
With regard to the possible influence of the Italian Mastins, we should go back to the period when the Romans were conquering the British Isles. They remained masters of Great Britain (and especially of the south of England) until the fifth century. Which could explain a contribution of Italian blood, but in what proportions?
There is another possibility, if we take into account the Great Invasions of the early Middle Ages (among others, Saxons in Britain, Huns and Goths on the continent). We can imagine many crosses between the dogs that accompanied them and those of the countries crossed. If one assumes that the Bobtail is from dogs from France, and more particularly the Aquitaine basin, it is not excluded that it is an amalgam of Celtic dogs, Italian, Hungarian, French and English !
The above hypotheses suggest that a French relationship is not impossible. However, if the Bobtail that we know today has distant foreign ancestors, the breed itself could only develop thanks to local dogs, precisely from the south of England.
In doubt, we must admit that the origins of Bobtail remain uncertain.

Bobtail or shortened tail
The Old English Sheepdog (or Old English Sheepdog) was not originally the pet dog he became today. He was guarding the farm and its inhabitants, and the cattle ranchers had appointed him as herdsman. Its imposing size, its dynamism and its courage made it a precious auxiliary, whose peculiarity lay in a shortened tail. The term "Bobtail" is not race-specific: other working dogs that did not look like Old English Sheepdog, and whose tail had been amputated, were termed "Bobtailed"; but this term, also used for some horses, soon became part of the name: Old English Bobtail (or Bobtailed) Sheepdog. At the end of the eighteenth century, it was mentioned that dogs without tail were responsible for driving oxen and sheep on the roads.
Why did they cut their tail? It has been said that these big dogs were thus exempt from the tax payable for the possession of any mastiff assigned to the guardianship of the houses. In fact, it lacks historical documents corroborating this version. Here is another: all along their way, these dogs had to be regularly attacked by their local counterparts; to avoid the extremely vulnerable tail and ears from bleeding heavily as a result of these encounters, shortening them was a good precaution. This is another rather plausible explanation. With the advent of the railroad, harsh herdsmen on the roads were in danger of disappearing. At the time, few shepherds were concerned about the dog demonstrations that developed in the late nineteenth century. Let's also add that their busy work did not leave them free.
Fortunately, the dog started and was concerned to save this type of traditional dog. In 1873, three bobtail specimens appeared at the Birmingham Dog Show.

A first Standard in 1888
One of the first Old English Sheepdogs is a male born around 1883 and named "Wall-eyed Bob". He was born anoure (without tail) and was successfully exposed. It belonged respectively to Mr. J. Thomas (who contributed greatly to the launch of the Bobtail breeding in the United States), then to Mrs. Fare Fosse. From Bob, we notice Wall-eyed Flo; like her father, she had two blue eyes, a particularity much appreciated by the farmers of the time. As a result of Wall-eyed Bob, many dogs were born at Mrs.'s home. Pit, owner of the weather affix: Fair Weather Ch, Rough Weather Ch, Weather Glorious, etc ...
Dr. Edwardes-Ker produced, in May 1887, a Bobtail which was to be the basis of all lineages of the early twentieth century: Sir Cavendish (Sir Caradoe x Lady Ruth). It is said of him that he was one of the best Bobtails of his time. From his mother, he would have inherited a naturally short tail. Sir Cavendish was the founding male of the famous "Watch" line.
The Old English Sheepdog Club was founded in 1888 by Sir Humprey of Trattford, who was also president until 1911.

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