As for me, Sugar is simply very special. I've been around many different dogs, from curs to Whippets, to Anatolian Shepherds. Many have been intelligent, willing to please, and fairly easy to train to
do simple tricks. Sugar seems to be the brightest I've ever come across. When I displease her, she will not allow me to sit next to her, and will move away if I approach her. If I haven't been giving her enough attention, she cuddles up to someone else, if I am watching. If I leave the farm truck door open, she jumps in and will not get out until we take a ride.
She is not very interested in performing parlor tricks, but is eager to help with the cattle. She has had no training, and yet, is an asset when
it comes to moving cattle around. She walks with me and sweeps back and forth in front of me, but behind the cattle. When I start making noises to move the cattle, she becomes aggressive, nipping at their heels and barking, while pushing them in the direction I want them to go. She understands we move them from one pasture to another; from one lot to another; in and out of the barns; and, in and out of trailers. She's seen us do it, and knows what needs to be done. She knows enough to stand in a gate opening or in the middle of an alley to keep cattle from passing her.
It has taken some time to train her to stay behind the cattle. An OEB, by nature, wants to work the head of the animal, which is nice for cutting animals, but often counter-productive when trying to move groups from one place to another. She readily understood that "back here" meant I wanted her closer to me and behind the cattle, but it wasn't so easy to bring her around to where she wanted what I wanted.
It is my belief you will not get the most out of an OEB unless you spend a lot of time culturing the relationship. Sugar is not inclined to perform for food or affection. If she is convinced you really care for her, she will be your constant companion and try to help you whenever she can. She is my protector. When in groups of cattle, she usually watches my backside (not that she needs to. My cattle are pretty docile). Yearlings are still pretty curious and will try to approach (often from behind), and that does not happen when Sugar is around.
Sugar sleeps at the foot of our bed. When in the house, she is in the room I am in, generally about 10' away. In the morning, or anytime we meet after an absence, a greeting ritual is in order. She wiggles all over, wants her head scratched a little, then a good scratching right above her tail.
She is interested in strangers and friendly towards them. She will touch them, but doesn't really allow most to touch her. She often will stay just an inch or two out of hand's reach. You clearly have to earn her trust and respect. You are the one with something to prove, not her.
She's good with other dogs. She has never been aggressive upon meeting, and will often be submissive, with one exception. Food or toys belonging to her, are hers. She gives ample warning, but is deadly serious. This is the one situation that needs careful watching. One of the animals will get hurt, if you allow the situation to escalate. An OEB is absolutely fearless and feels little or no pain. They do not give up. Don't ever let them fight.
As to why OEBs and not English Bulldogs, American Bulldogs, or Mastiffs? It is much like raising cattle. I raise purebred Angus because the breed has a lot going for them: great carcass traits, great mothering ability, best taste, moderate size and food intake, and so on. I sell bulls to commercial cattlemen who put the AngusBulls on different kinds of cows to promote hybrid vigor in the calf crop. The OEB in its current form is a hybrid cross of four breeds, and as such has eliminated problems inherent in foundation breeds.
They are healthier. For instance, they don't have the breathing or structural problems of the English bulldog. They are heavily muscled,
athletic dogs. As a result, it is almost impossible to take them out in public without people stopping you to ask about the dog. They are
eye-catching, impressive animals, and yet they have a great disposition; make excellent guard dogs; and, excellent family dogs. They have natural livestock working ability. Everything you could ask for.
I sent pictures in another message, but will describe what is going on here. Pic 1 - Sugar and I out checking cows for calves. 3-we've starting moving calves down to the working alley. One has turned on Sugar and she is evading her. 4and5-Sugar moving the cattle into the alleyway. 6-dodging an aggravated heifer. 7,8,9,10,11-Sugar holds the heifers at the top of the alleyway. 12-moving the heifers back to their pen. 13-left the truck door open...looks like Sugar has decided it is time to take a ride (you can see her head laying on the back of the seat looking at and waiting on me.
We want to share what are the best dogs in the world with people who will appreciate them. They need to continue to be relatively expensive to help ensure owners have the means to properly care for them, and yet they really need to be a part of the family. They are not "kennel dogs".
Click on any picture to make it larger!
Pic 1 - Sugar and I out checking cows for calves. 3-We've starting moving calves down to the working alley. One has turned on Sugar and she is evading her. 4 and 5-Sugar moving the cattle into the alleyway. 6-dodging an aggravated heifer. 7,8,9,10,11-Sugar holds the heifers at the top of the alleyway. 12-moving the heifers back to their pen. 13-left the
truck door open...looks like Sugar has decided it is time to take a ride (you can see her head laying on the back of the seat looking at and
waiting on me.