Pet Insurance for Old English Sheepdogs

Find out all about Old English Sheepdogs, and their common health conditions, and then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on September 28th, 2023       

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Price range

$1,500 –$4,000


53cm - 61cm


27kg - 45kg


Adaptable, gentle, intelligent

Coat length

Long, thick, double

Exercise needs




Life expectancy

10 - 12 years

Old English Sheepdog


The Old English Sheepdog, sometimes called the ‘Bobtail,’ or in Australia the ‘Dulux dog,’ originated from the southwest counties of England, where it was used to drive cattle and sheep to market. It is thought to be a relatively new breed, with the first references to this breed of dog found in the late 1700’s.  It is possibly a cross between a Scottish Bearded Collie and a Russian Owtchar, which is a similar-looking large, shaggy-coated dog used for herding livestock.  

In the early days, the tails of this breed were often docked to avoid injury when working with livestock, although there is a recessive gene that produces puppies who naturally have no tails, which is why it is sometimes known as the ‘Bobtail.’ Purebred Old English Sheepdog were once on the ‘potentially endangered’ list when the well-known paint brand Dulux adopted them as their brand mascot in 1961, gaining them renewed popularity worldwide. 

Old English Sheepdogs have a thick shaggy coat that is both waterproof and acts as a sunscreen in hot weather. They are known for their friendly and playful nature. They make great family companions for families with plenty of space, and they are particularly good companions for older children. However, their large size may intimidate smaller kids. They are known to be intelligent but can be very independent, requiring consistent and firm training.

Common diseases and conditions of Old English Sheepdogs

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common orthopaedic condition affecting the joint's development. It can lead to discomfort and mobility issues. 
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Another common orthopaedic condition that affects the elbow joints and can lead to lameness and mobility issues.  
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A hereditary eye condition that can lead to vision impairment or blindness. 
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat): A serious condition where the stomach twists, potentially causing a life-threatening emergency. 
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis: An inflammatory condition that damages healthy thyroid tissue, and can lead to lethargy and weight gain
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): A serious heart condition that can lead to shortness of breath, fainting and collapse.

Breed-specific issues:

The shaggy coats of Old English Sheepdogs require a lot of care, so be prepared to spend at least five hours a week grooming this loveable companion. This breed is also very energetic and requires a lot of daily exercise.  

How much does pet insurance cost for an Old English Sheepdog?

Most Australians can expect to pay between $20 and $60 a month for pet insurance. There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your dog, which is why it's important to compare pet insurance policies. Factors affecting the cost of your insurance include: 

  • Age: The older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because senior dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.    
  • Type of insurance you choose:  There are three basic types of pet insurance available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type of insurance available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most.  
  • The policy annual limit: Each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.   
  • Sub-limits: In addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub-limits that apply to the policy, for example, a $300 sub-limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.   
  • Benefit percentage: Pet insurance does not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies, up to 90% for the best policies available.   
  • Excess amount: This is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, whilst others do.  
  • Any add-ons you choose: It’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.  
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.
  • Gap-only insurance options: Some insurance companies offer a gap-only insurance option, which means when you go to the vet you'll only be required to pay the gap amount, not the cost of the whole bill. This is similar to the Medicare system of health insurance for humans in Australia, where gap payments can be made at HICAPS terminals at the time of treatment. 

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

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Common questions about Old English Sheepdogs

Are Old English Sheepdogs good family pets?

Yes, they make excellent family pets. They are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them great companions for families of all sizes. They are typically good with children and can be protective of their loved ones. 

Do Old English Sheepdogs shed a lot?

Yes, they do shed, and their thick coat can produce quite a bit of loose hair. Regular brushing helps manage shedding, but be prepared for a lot of hair around your home, especially during seasonal changes. 

Do Old English Sheepdogs make good guard dogs?

While they may not be aggressive, Old English Sheepdogs are very protective of their family and home. Their size and very loud bark can deter potential intruders, making them very effective watchdogs. 

Do Old English Sheepdog bark a lot?

Old English Sheepdogs are not known for their excessive barking. While they will alert their owners to potential intruders or unusual sounds, they are generally not yappy or prone to constant barking. However, they do have a very loud and distinctive voice, so when they do bark, you’ll know all about it!  

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Whether you're buying for your dog or cat and whether they're big or small, you can compare pet insurance policies tailored to your furry friend's needs from Savvy's panel of trusted Australian insurers. Grab a free, no-obligation quote today!
Old English Sheepdog

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