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AKC Field Representative Guidelines

These Guidelines were approved by the OESCA Board of Directors on May 16, 2013 for use by the American Kennel Club Field Representatives when interviewing Permit and aspiring judges regarding the Old English Sheepdog.


  • JUDGING A HEAVILY COATED BREED - This is not an outline breed, judges must use their hands to go deep into the coat of an OES to find the correct structure of each exhibit. The judge should not hesitate to mess up the grooming. The OES is a square breed. The square is achieved by comparing length to height. Height is determined by a nearly 50/50 measurement from withers to elbow and elbow to the ground. Length is measured from the point of the shoulder to the ischium. These two measurements must be nearly equal to achieve the necessary square. The correct OES is pear shaped which is broader at the rump than the shoulders.
  • TOPLINE - "Attention is particularly called to the topline as it is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed." Proper use of the judge's hands is again of utmost importance. Begin by checking that the dog is stacked correctly as improper stacking will affect the topline. With a hand placed at the withers move it toward the loin. The judge should feel a gentle rise as the hand moves toward the loin. Finish the exam by feeling the broad rump over the hip. The loin is stout and gently arched. A roach backed is unacceptable. The topline need not be extreme; the rise should not be achieved by a sway back, very straight stifles or unusually short front legs.
  • BONE AND SUBSTANCE – An OES should be "Well muscled with plenty of bone," and in proportion to his size and substance. The OES should be thickset and able-bodied with substantial bone enabling him to perform his herding and drover tasks.
  • HEAD – The large squarely formed skull is well covered with shaggy hair. The width of the skull is approximately equal to the length of the skull from the stop to the occiput. The skull is neither too flat nor too domed. The head and the muzzle as a whole are squarely formed not just the top. Both the head and muzzle should exhibit good depth. To assess the head a judge should start by placing the heel of their hand on the muzzle at the stop and moving toward the backskull feel for the degree of stop. Continue by using a thumb and fingers to go over the eyes, checking for the well arched supra-orbital ridges and square skull. Large and square is an important combination for a correct head. The muzzle is truncated, square and strong. A judge should pay particular attention to this feature as a long narrow head or tapering muzzle is considered a deformity. A correct bite is level or tight scissors.
  • COAT – The OES has two distinct coats. A thick soft undercoat is next to his body with a crisp, harsh shaggy jacket on the outside. The outer coat is both long and harsh. The coat is not in the least curly, neither is it, to any degree, straight. A judge should examine the outer coat texture and check for the presence of undercoat. Quality is more important than quantity. Markings are not to be considered. The mature coat color is grey in a range of shades. In puppies and adolescents the coat may have a brown tinge to the hair. The judge should separate the hair and look at the coat closest to the body to verify that it is grey. The breed standard calls for the OES to have "moderate coat on the ears, the whole skull well covered with hair, the neck well coated with hair, the forelegs well coated all around, and the hams densely coated with a thick, long jacket in excess of any other part." The Standard is very clear, "Neither the natural outline nor the natural texture of the coat may be changed by any artificial means except that the feet and rear may be trimmed for cleanliness." A poor specimen should not be rewarded over a superior one simply on the basis of grooming. An OES should be clean, brushed out and free of mats.
  • MOVEMENT – The moving OES may pace or amble at slower speeds but should be judged at a trot. In motion a dog must maintain balance, proportion and topline while covering maximum ground with minimum steps. It is a free and easy gait, with reach equivalent to the drive. Equal emphasis should be placed on the three angles from which the judge views the dog's movement. Length of stride is determined by correct shoulder layback, length of upper and lower arms, and the rear angulation the dog possesses. "Soundness is of greatest importance." From the front the legs should be "dead straight" and the rear should be "round and muscular with well let down hocks." A shift of the body over the rump at slower gaits, such as the walk, pace or amble produces what is often described as a "roll." This "roll" is correct in the OES who is broad at the rump and has correct topline.

Please do not hesitate to advise judges to contact Mary Anne Brocious, Chair of OESCA Judges Education at qubicoes@comcast.net

Approved by the OESCA Board of Directors
May 16, 2013