Shetland Sheepdog aka”Sheltie”
The Sheltie’s history traces back to the Border Collie of Scotland, which, after being transported to the Shetland Islands and crossed with small, intelligent, long-haired breeds, was eventually reduced to miniature proportions. Over time, subsequent crosses were made with Collies. The breed worked as farm helpers and home protectors, watching over crofters’ cottages, flocks and herds from invaders of all kinds.
The Shetland Sheepdog looks like a miniature copy of the rough-coated Collie. When viewed from the side, the head looks like a blunt wedge, with the muzzle tapering slightly from the ears to the nose. There is a slight stop. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The nose is black. The almond-shaped eyes are dark; however, blue eyes can appear in the blue merle coat. The small ears are 3/4 erect with the tips folding forward. The neck is arched and muscular. The long tail is feathered, carried straight down, or at a slight upward curve. The tail should reach to the hock. Dewclaws are sometimes removed. The double coat is long and abundant all over the body, but is shorter on the head and legs, and the coat forms a mane around the neck and chest. The outer coat is straight and harsh to the touch, and the undercoat is soft and tight.
Sable and White, Blue Merle, Tri Color, Bi-Black, and Bi-Blue.
13 – 16 inches (33 – 40.6 cm)
14 – 27 pounds (6.4 – 12.3 kg)
The Shetland Sheepdog is loyal, willing and eager to please, making a wonderful companion dog. Docile and alert with a pleasant temperament. Loving, loyal and affectionate with its family, this breed needs people. Socialize it well starting at puppyhood. It is a good guard and watchdog. Sensitive to the tone of your voice, these dogs will not listen if they sense you do not mean what you say, and will also not listen if you are too harsh. They need their owners to be calm, but firm. Very intelligent, lively and trainable, the Shetland Sheepdog is one of the smartest breeds. With intelligence comes the need to occupy their minds. They like to be kept busy. The Sheltie is above all an intelligent herder, capable both of commanding large cattle and holding small sheep in check. The herding instinct is still very strong in many of them. They love to chase things. Teach this dog not to chase cars. Because of its beauty and kindness, the Sheltie has become a popular companion dog. They can become suspicious with strangers, especially with children. They may not allow themselves to be touched by strangers and will display noisy persistent barking, as they tell the humans to leave them alone. This can lead to guarding, snapping and even biting. They may hide behind something, barking persistently when company arrives. The dog needs to be told this is not an acceptable behavior. These negative traits are not Sheltie traits, but rather Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors where the dog believes he is pack leader to humans.
The coat is easy to care for, but regular brushing is important. This breed is a seasonally heavy shedder. The dense undercoat is shed twice a year: in the spring and fall. The coat readily sheds dirt and mud and Shelties are quite fastidious about their cleanliness. Bathe or dry shampoo only when absolutely necessary.
This active, graceful dog needs lots of exercise, which includes a daily walk or jog. They will also enjoy running free, but be sure the dog is in a safe area.
There is a tendency toward inherited malformation and disease of the eyes. Some lines may be prone to hypothyroidism and displacement of the patella (kneecap). Do not overfeed; gains weight easily.
About 12-15 years
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, CCR, APRI, ACR, DRA, NAPR, ACA