Old English sheepdogs, or OES, have a gentle nature that can make them perfect companions for cats who aren't intimidated by dogs. With the right temperaments, careful introductions, and time for them to get to know each other, your cat and your Old English sheepdog can become fast friends.
With their gentle, fun-loving and sociable temperaments, Old English sheepdogs often get along well with cats. In fact, if you must leave your canine buddy alone regularly, you might want to provide her with a dog-friendly feline pal. A kitty can offer the companionship your dog craves, and also keep her entertained, so she doesn’t grow bored and get into trouble. Sheepdogs are family-oriented, and many will easily expand their family circle to include cats and other pets.
Finding the Right Pup
An Old English sheepdog who has an amiable, easygoing temperament can probably adapt well to cats. Unfortunately, some breeders are not careful about selection of parent dogs for excellent temperament, health and emotional well-being, and their puppies may be mean, anxious and fearful. It is important to find a reputable breeder or a rescue that can match you with a basically friendly, clear-headed OES. These mellow dogs should be able to adjust quite easily to life with a cat, no matter their age. While a rambunctious puppy might be a better companion for a kitten, a well-bred adult Old English sheepdog usually has a gentle personality that won't seem threatening or overwhelming to many cats.
Finding the Right Cat
Kittens are just as varied temperamentally as dogs are, but they usually adjust more easily than adult cats to life with a dog, because kittens tend to be more bold, adventurous and open to new experiences and companions. That doesn’t mean you can’t introduce an adult cat to a dog, however, especially a mellow pooch like an Old English sheepdog. Some cats won’t ever welcome a big, sloppy canine infringing on their turf, while others will gradually develop a neutral, friendly and even playful relationship. Before you decide that two individual animals can live together, you should introduce them and see how they interact.
How you introduce the Old English sheepdog and the kitty can affect the speed with which they get comfortable, and even the quality of their relationship. Provide several high places where the cat can retreat to safely check things out. If possible, let her enter the room a few minutes before you bring in the dog, so she can explore the space and identify escape routes. Watch both animals’ body language during the initial encounter. If your canine pal seems hostile, growls or snaps, he's probably not going to be the best companion for a kitty. If the cat cowers in a corner, spits or hisses, she might never get along with a dog. On the other hand, if she seems more curious than frightened -- even if she keeps her distance -- you might have the potential for a good match. Let the animals get used to each other at their own pace, and you might end up seeing the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
- Animal Planet: Dog Breed Selector: Old English Sheepdog
- Iams: Guide to Dog Breeds: Old English Sheepdog
- Your Purebred Puppy: Old English Sheepdog Temperament What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
- The Old English Sheepdog Club of America: Buying and Owning an Old English Sheepdog
- Dog Breed Info Center: Old English Sheepdog
- New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue Inc.: So You’re Thinking About Getting an Old English Sheepdog?