National Old English Sheepdog Council

Affiliated with the Australian National Kennel Council

                                                                A Letter From The President
2 January 2009

Dear OES Enthusiast

This is an open letter that I have asked all OES State Clubs to forward to all their members. As Incoming President of The National Old English Sheepdog Council I would ask that you please take a moment to read this letter and discuss at club level. The intentions of this letter is to encourage debate and discussion about the future of our breed.

The Outgoing President of the National Old English Sheepdog Council, Judy Chapman, expressed deep concern on just where the breed was heading in her final report, and I must say I share her concern.

I have taken the liberty of repeating part of her report as I don’t think I could put it any more succinctly. 

In part it says  “ today's reality is that the OES now almost deserves 'rare breed' status - with minuscule numbers of them being bred and shown, and the breed's future viability being very much in question……….

Obtaining puppies has become a virtual impossibility, with this high rate of attrition often leaving us unable to even just replace those Bobtails dying naturally of old age.

Many longtime fanciers have either changed breed allegiances, or just fallen by the wayside.

Very few new people are being wooed - or mentored - and those newcomers who do try to break into the OES world are not always made to feel welcome. 

The aging demographic of many of the devoted 'die-hards' in our breed means that the way things are heading, pretty soon there won't be sufficient active fanciers to even satisfactorily sustain our State OES Clubs - never mind provide enough of a gene pool to guarantee our beloved breed a future in which they can thrive and prosper.

As custodians of a breed we claim to love with a passion, what kind of legacy are we in fact really leaving?

If all this sounds rather bleak, that's because it is  - but it's the harsh reality of the situation in which we find ourselves.

We may not wish to acknowledge it, however face up to it we must, if we are to have any chance of safeguarding the future of our breed in this country. 

The time for damage control - and action - is now!!”

I would therefore suggest that this letter be discussed at State level with a view of developing a National Strategy to address the problem. I am sure there are plenty of ideas out there, so lets share them!

At some stage we may need to have a National symposium or workshop, but in the meantime lets start discussing the problem and find some solutions.

National Old English Sheepdog Council