The origin and history of the Bobtail breed
Bobtail is an Old English Sheepdog. The name "bobtail" in the literal translation has the meaning "short tail". These dogs were named so because puppies were born with short tails. And if they were born with ordinary tails, they were stopped. This was because the UK dog tax in the 18th century depended on tail length. But now bobtail puppies are born with a tail of the usual length.
Pictured: bobtail dog
The origin of the Bobtail breed is still not entirely clear. It is believed that the ancestors of the Bobtail were shepherd dogs who migrated to England in the company of merchants from Eastern Europe. However, the appearance of bobtails at that time was different from modern dogs of this breed: they were lighter and had short hair on their heads. By type, these dogs were more like Greyhounds.
Bobtail was especially popular in the western counties of England. Many working Old English Shepherds lived in Sussex, so at one time they were called Sussex Shepherds. Adelaide Gosset at the beginning of the 20th century described them as gray-white furry creatures, short-tailed and very intelligent. However, for the first time the breed was described by Dr. Gordon Stybles.
According to one version, the Bobtail breed was originally used to drive livestock.
By the end of the 19th century, there were many bobtails in Great Britain, which by that time were already significantly different from other herding breeds. These hardy and unpretentious dogs, able to easily tolerate the harshest climate, smart, obedient and independent, were very appreciated by shepherds. One such dog could independently control a herd of two hundred sheep. And she worked neatly and gently, without scaring animals. Until now, the shepherd's instinct is clearly expressed in bobtail.
For the first time at the exhibition, Bobtails performed in 1873 (Birmingham). In 1875 the first pedigree book appeared, and in 1888 a club of breed lovers was organized. The breed was named "Old English Shepherd." Then the breed standard was first adopted, which, however, has still remained almost unchanged.
Old English Shepherd dogs successfully participated in competitions, which in the 20s of the 20th century led to a rapid increase in the popularity of the breed. However, with the outbreak of World War II, the number of dogs declined sharply. And only thanks to the efforts of several enthusiasts did the breed manage to be preserved.
In the 50s of the 20th century, bobtails began to be widely advertised, and thanks to this, the breed again began to gain popularity among the public.