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Known as the Bobtail in Britain where this breed originated about 200 years age, the Old English Sheepdog is thought to descend from a variety of European Herding breeds. It was originally developed by sheep farmers in the English countryside to herd and drive sheep to market. The practice of cropping the tail was started in order to identify the breed as a working dog, which made its owner exempt from taxes.

The origins of the Old English Sheepdog are obscure but, it is thought to be a combination of the Scottish Bearded Collie and the South Russian Owtchar. The breed achieved official breed status in l873 with the founding of the Kennel Club in England, and came to America in the late l880’s. Five of the ten wealthiest American families-the Morgan, Vanderbilt, Gould, Harrison and Guggenheims all owned, bred and exhibited the Old English Sheepdog.

Copyright Susan McChesney

Last updated 12/7/2003