Old English Sheepdogs are touted as one of the best canine companions. They are lovable, loyal, fun to be around and they are great with children; they are so great that they have been nicknamed "The Nanny". They have been called "jolly" and a "clown"; they are quite intelligent and can be trained to do virtually anything. Indeed, they have excelled at a wide variety of jobs throughout their history. Despite all these positive accolades given to the breed, though, there are still some individuals who are wary of owning an Old English Sheepdog, given some of the complaints registered for the breed.
For one, the breed's increasing popularity has made it susceptible to bad breeding practices. When a breed becomes popular, many unscrupulous individuals who know nothing and care nothing about proper breeding practices start to breed dogs to make a quick buck. This bad breeding leads to dogs with very unstable temperaments; what should be an even-tempered, affectionate dog may become nasty, fearful, neurotic, hyperactive and may be prone to biting. You don't want a dog with this temperament around your children. Furthermore, this is a working breeding, bred to be active, both mentally and physically; you must provide your Old English Sheepdog with the mental and physical stimulation it needs, or it can tear apart your house. These are big dogs and can do a lot of damage. If you don't have the time to entertain your dog, don't get an Old English Sheepdog.
The Old English Sheepdog will also tear apart your house if he is left alone for extended periods of time. This is a dog that loves human companionship and feeling like an integral part of the family; while it is true that many Old English Sheepdogs enjoy their private time, they are very hurt if they feel they are left out. Since the dog is intelligent, and was bred to think on its own, some Old English Sheepdogs may demonstrate a streak of stubbornness, bordering on manipulative. In order to train them, you must be firm and consistent; this is most likely not a dog for the first time dog owner.
Some of the major complaints regarding this dog involve its profuse coat. First of all, you need to dedicate time and/or resources to keeping it clean because if it not brushed frequently, it will matt; matting is painful for the dog and it is unhygienic. The Old English Sheepdog also sheds a great deal and you might have to say goodbye to wearing the color black; fur will be everywhere. Because he is a shaggy dog, moreover, lots of icky things can cling to the coat of the Old English Sheepdog, like mud and feces, and they can get tracked into the house; the water he drinks will drip to the floor and the food he eats will be all over whatever he sniffs after his meal. Some people have also complained about flatulence issues, which can be remedied by feeding the dog fresh, real food.