Trimming- Dense Coat
This Old English Sheepdog has a dense coat
so the hair on his head tends to stand up.


Trimming & Topknots:
Some people use a combination of the two.

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Your Old English Sheepdog- Topknot or Trim
The importance of a topknot, trimming the hair near the eyes or both.

Trimming- Thinner Coat
These are Old English Sheepdogs with thinner
coats. Note how their hair tends to flop over.

Old English Sheepdogs need to have the hair over their eyes either pulled up into a topknot or trimmed shorter.  Keeping hair out of the field of vision is essential for both safety and training purposes.   

Trimming: If you trim your OESs hair near the corners of his/her eyes and the hair above the eyes, you must continue to trim the hair as it begins to grow out and obstruct the dog's vision.  But this method of allowing your dog to see won't require daily fussing.  Be forewarned however that if you later decide you want topknots, it will take some time for the hair to grow out and this transition stage can be a bit awkward.

Topknots:  If you allow your OESs hair to grow out, you must always put the hair up in a topknot.  Be prepared for the need to refresh it at least a couple of times during the day... more often if you have multiple dogs that like to wrestle.  Hair can be pulled up into one or more topknots and held in place with regular woman's hair bands or the tiny no-snag ones.  Click here for "Fun With Topknots"

The Difference Is Obvious!

An Old English Sheepdog with hair obstructing her view.
She's oblivious to the food being held right in front of her.
The same Old English Sheepdog with a topknot
This dog has 3 topknots... the hair needs to grow longer so one will hold it all up.

More On Why Topknots And/Or Trimming Is Essential

Really... it's NOT funny. It can be dangerous.

Ok, so I laughed.  My bad. I was trying to show that this dog could not see the treat before him.  I did not expect him to suddenly stand up so I ended up poking him in the eye.  Imagine if it had been something sharp in front of him.  This is how an OES can loose an eye or run into something or fall down the stairs. 

Don't kid yourself... this dog cannot see.
It's irresponsible to make a dog navigate like this.

If you allow the hair to grow long, you must pull the hair out of the way and hold it in place with a hair band.  With her hair now up in a topknot, this dog can clearly see the piece of turkey sitting on the table so she's sitting nicely waiting for it.

Topknots And/Or Trimming Is Vital For Deaf Dogs & Vision Challenged Dogs


Deaf Dogs- If your OES is deaf, it's even more important that hair is not obstructing the dog's view.  They need to be able to see you in order to follow visual cues like if you're leaving the room and see sign language commands.  They rely heavily on their vision since one of their senses is missing. 

Blind Dogs- Hair can be allowed to drop over and cover a missing or non-functioning eye.  The hair might help to protect that eye from blowing debris.  Be sure to check the blind eye(s) or socket daily however to remove any secretions or goop and to be sure it's healthy. I think it's best to allow for some air flow so her hair is layered and just long enough to cover the eye socket.  Even though an eye is non-functioning or missing, you still need to watch for infection or injury.  If a dog has even a very limited amount of vision, keep the hair in a topknot or trim it shorter. 

The little girl on the left is missing her right eye.  She does have very
limited vision in her left eye so the hair over that eye is trimmed short.

Examples Of Using Both Topknots & Trimming

This boy's hair near the inside corners of his eyes is in the process of growing out.  During this phase, the hair near his eyes would get flattened with water so he could see better.

Same dog as on the left with the hair now grown out.  Note that he does still get a little trimming done in the corners near his eyes due to the thickness of his beard.

The hair near the inside corners of this girls eyes is always trimmed and she always has a topknot except at bath time or during grooming.

Copyright 2010- J. Dunne.  All rights reserved.  The photographs and instructions on this page are the property of the author. Do not reproduce or copy for public use without written permission from the author.



The Companion Old English Sheepdog

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