Shetland Sheepdog Description
The Shetland Sheepdog is a strong, nimble, lightly built, beautiful dog, with a long, wedge-shaped head. Its coat is rough with a soft undercoat. Some say they are almost a perfect miniature copy in of the long-haired collie. The top plane of the muzzle should be parallel to that of the skull. The glorious long double coat sports a lion-like mane and frill around the neck, and comes in blue merle, sable and black with various amounts of white and/or tan. The outer coat is lined with a dense, woolly undercoat. The legs and long tail are feathered, and the hair on the face and feet is smooth. The tail should reach to the hock. The almond-shaped eyes are generally dark, except in blue merle dogs where they may be blue or merle color. The dog should have a watchful, gentle, questioning and intelligent expression. The nose should be black. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The ears are small, flexible and expressive, with dropping tips. The Sheltie is an agile, swift dog and a good jumper. Dogs should appear masculine and bitches, feminine.
Shetland Sheepdog Temperament
The Shetland Sheepdog is an outstanding companion dog with a delightful temperament. Gentle, sensitive, loyal and dainty. Very lively, intelligent and trainable. The Shetland Sheepdog is one of the smartest breeds, very willing to please and obey. Loving, loyal and affectionate with its family. Socialize extensively as a puppy. It is a good guard and watchdog. This breed needs people and must be raised in a home where the humans are his confident, consistent, pack leader. 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. A Sheltie should not be allowed to run free near a road as it may decide to chase a car or something else it sees across the road, running a high risk of getting hit by a car. Because of its beauty and kindness, the Sheltie has become a popular companion dog. Do not allow this dog to believe he needs to run your home, or many behavior problems will start to develop. 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 it 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. Varying degrees of negative behaviors result when a dog feels he is the leader of a human pack and must keep HIS humans in line. These negative traits will subside as soon as the humans around the dog start to display the proper leadership, along with daily pack walks to relieve mental and physical energy.
Shetland Sheepdog Height, Weight
Height: 13-16 inches (33-40.6 cm.)
Weight: 14-27 pounds (6.4-12.3 kg.)
Shetland Sheepdog Health Problems
Like the Rough Collie, there is a tendency toward inherited malformation and disease of the eyes. Each individual puppy should have his eyes examined by a qualified veterinary ophthalmologist. Some lines may be prone to hypothyroidism. It can also be affected by displacement of the patella (kneecap), which is thought to be inherited. The Sheltie is a very popular breed, leading to the sale of many inferior animals. Buy only from a reputable breeder. Do not over-feed the Sheltie.
Shetland Sheepdog Living Conditions
The Sheltie will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard.
Shetland Sheepdog Exercise
This active, graceful dog needs lots of exercise, which include a daily walk or jog. They will also enjoy running free; but be sure the dog is in a safe area.
Shetland Sheepdog Life Expectancy
About 12-15 years.
Shetland Sheepdog Grooming
The coat is easier to care for than you might expect, but regular brushing is important. Mist the coat lightly with water before you begin and tease out the mats before they get bad, but use the comb sparingly. 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.
Shetland Sheepdog Origin
The Shetland Sheepdog is probably descended from Scottish Rough Collies brought to the Scottish island of Shetland and crossed with the Icelandic Yakkin, a small island dog (now no longer recognized) brought over in the boats of fishermen. By 1700, the breed was completely developed. For centuries these little dogs were used to herd and guard the sheep flocks of the Shetlands, those rugged islands off the Scottish coast where many of the animals are rather small in stature. Refinement of the breed took place mainly in the twentieth century after the export of Shelties to mainland Scotland and beyond. These small shepherds were very gentle when herding the miniature stock. One of the top obedience competition breeds, the Sheltie is an extremely smart and willing worker. The Shetland Sheepdog was first recognized in England in 1909, and first registered in the United Stated in 1911. Because of his kindly disposition, the Sheltie has become one of todays most popular companion dogs. Some of the Shelties talents include: tracking, herding, watchdogging, guarding, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.
Shetland Sheepdog Group
Herding, AKC Herding