The Old English Sheepdog has been given the nickname 'Bobtail' because they are either born tail less or have been docked, however, with more countries banning the practice of docking, tailed Old English Sheepdogs are more common. The practice of docking comes from the 18th century where taxation laws required that all working dogs are docked. If it is done today then it is purely for cosmetic reasons.
The breed were a common feature on farm as they proved to be excellent herders. It was common practice that when the farmers sheared the sheep, they also sheared the dogs in order to make warm clothing and bedding.
The Old English Sheepdog has also been used to herd Reindeer, their thick coats giving excellent protection from the cold.
The breed is very intelligent and makes a very good pet as they are very sociable. Being such a good herder it has been known that they can 'herd' children away from dangerous situations.
Grooming is essential for this long haired dog with attention also required for the thick waterproof undercoat which becomes matted very quickly.