The Pet Gazette

The Pet Gazette

The Pet Gazette is
published by
Pet Media, Inc.
11 Market Street, #549
P.O. Box 549
Mashpee, MA 02649

Telephone: 508-419-6356
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Mugzy, the Old English Sheepdog

Some of the cutest stuffed animals are in my likeness- and I am one big stuffed animal come to life! I am Mugzy, an Old English Sheepdog, easily recognized, but not so common that you see one of us every day.  As puppies we are one of the most irresistible breeds out there- but beware- we need lots of care and attention that requires careful consideration before you devote yourself to one of us.  No matter how charming, delightful, and cute we are (and we will play it up to the hilt to catch all of your attention) - you must resist until you really get to know our breed.  We demand time and an emotional commitment more so than most breeds, but we return and inspire love by tenfold.  We like to be the center of attention and have fun and be sure everyone around us joins in the fun!  We are called clownish and rambunctious at playtime and have been described as being “an eternal teenager”- always looking for fun and mischief, but after all that fun; I need my sleepy time too! 

Our history dates back to the early 19th century in the western farms of England.  We were drovers for the farmers as they brought their sheep and cattle into the major cities to the markets.  We were used to drive the livestock down roads and narrow alleys into the auctions.  We worked closely with the farmers using our strength to keep the livestock moving.  Here we also got our nickname, “Bobtails”, as we had docked tails to signify we were working dogs and therefore considered a tax exemption for our owners.  The farmers worked the land and were not required to pay taxes on anything that helped produce their goods such as equipment.   We were considered an essential part of farming; therefore we fell under this tax exemption.  This distinguished us from the hunting and gaming breeds that were subject to taxing, and our bobtails became a hallmark characteristic that is still in existence today.  Our distinctive gravelly bark helped us keep the animals in check on the road to the city.  Our unique shuffling, bear like gait helped us cover long distances with little effort.  And of course our most famous feature- our hair is profuse, it is shaggy not straight and not curly to insulate us on our long journeys.  We were first imported to the United States in the 1880’s and quickly became very popular.  By the 1900’s five out of the ten wealthiest families in America owned, bred and showed Old English Sheepdogs.  In 1904 at the Westminster Show- the judge took to heart a precaution given by the show’s superintendent: “take plenty of time; the dogs in the ring are the property of some of our leading Americans”.  Even Paul McCartney was inspired by his Old English Sheepdog, Martha to write at least one Beatles song about his deep affection for his pet.
We like lots of fun, but according to the information pamphlet by the Old English Sheepdog Club of America there are eight considerations to ask yourself prior to getting an Old English Sheepdog.  Two of those include: “am I prepared for dog hair on my clothes, on furniture and occasionally in the butter” and “can I cope with wet, muddy feet around the house following a rain or snow storm…Old English Sheepdogs have ‘drippy’ whiskers after a stand at the water bowl.” They recommend you are easily able to answer yes to all their considerations.  Our coat does not require any more grooming than any other long hair breed, and we adapt to grooming easily when we are introduced to it early as a puppy.  Three to four hours weekly is required to make sure we are brushed and free from matting if my hair is grown out.  I am hypo-allergenic and do not shed, but my hair is very thick and takes a long time to dry.  If I am caught in the rain or at the water dish for a while, I will become a bit drippy.  I have a short clip so I can have lots of fun rolling around and wrestling with all my friends at school!  I need a couple of hours of exercise a day to frolic, or I will become restless.  I am turning a year old this month, and I have learned basic commands, sometimes I’d rather have fun than focus on learning.  I love to play with the kids I live with; chase is my favorite game to play with them.  I will hide behind a car or the couch and then chase them around, and then they will chase me!  I can adapt well even to apartment living as long as I get enough time for play.  Our even-tempered, merry, non-aggressive personality makes us welcome into any home.  We are easily trained and make excellent pets even with kids, but I do still have my natural herding instincts and will herd a kid, dog, adult here and there so play should be monitored with small kids.  I weigh 70-75 pounds and may grow to be a little bigger, 100 pounds is about average for our breed.   I am a gentle giant and agile not clumsy like other large breeds that can unwittingly cause chaos in a household.  I love hugs and snuggling and require being a big part of the family life- demanding lots of love like the big stuffed animal I am.  I, in return will make you happy and love you unconditionally, even if you get mad about the occasional hair in the butter!