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Shetland Sheepdog

Quick facts

Shetland Sheepdog AKC Group: Herding
Height: Male: 13-16 inches, Female: 13-16 inches
Weight: Male: 14-17 pounds, Female: 14-17 pounds
Colors: gray, white, and black; black, white, and tan; blue merle; sable
AKC recognized in: 1911

The Shetland Collie of old is now known as the Miniature Collie or Sheltie. The Sheltie is short for the Shetland Sheepdog, which happens to look like a miniature version of the Rough-Coated Collie.

Shelties were first recognized and registered as a breed between 1909 and 1911. It is said that this breed of herding sheepdogs could have originated in Scotland. They used to herd and protect flocks of sheep in the Shetland Islands.

Experts remain unsure whether the breed is a result of a cross between a Scandinavian Spitz-type dog and the local Scottish sheepdog. What is known is that it bears some similarity to the modern Icelandic sheepdog.

The huggable Sheltie has a double coat which keeps it warm and water-repellent. It flows all over the body to form a mane covering the neck and chest. Viewed from the side, its head is blunt and wedge-shaped while its tail is long, feathered, and slightly-curved upward.


Shetland Sheepdog Summary
Affection three paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training five paws
Energy level three paws
Exercise Requirements three paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals four paws
Friendliness: Other Pets four paws
Grooming Requirements four paws
Heat Tolerance three paws
Playfulness three paws
Protection Ability one paw
Watchdog Ability five paws

Shelties display behavior consistent with a herding dog's temperament. They're responsible and protective towards their flock, and they'll be vocal and excited whenever there's an intruder.

They perform outstandingly as companion dogs for families because of their loving, loyal, and affectionate nature. To prevent them from being aloof, train them early in obedience and socialization.

As to level of intelligence, the Sheltie is considered one of the brightest breeds of dogs. It is able to understand and remember a new command without much repetition.

A well-trained adult Sheltie will be responsive to its owner, reserved with strangers, but never shy or fearful. Energetic and hardworking, the Sheltie will excel in obedience competition. Able and willing to be trained, this smart tracker and herder doubles as a guardian watch dog and agile show dog.

Health and Exercise

The Shetland Sheepdog has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

You don't need to raise your voice or be harsh in your manner to be heard by this dog. Used to the role of being on the guard and watch, they will sensitively listen to your tone. Out of a sense of duty, they will obey what you say as long as you have established your calm yet firm authority as a leader.

As it grows, a hyperactive Sheltie is far from timid. Always on the go, it needs to burn off that restlessness and excess energy by engaging in sufficient exercise outdoors. Otherwise, it gives in to incessant barking or other nervous behavior.

To satisfy its intelligence, you need to occupy its mind with stimulating activities. Neglect its desire of being busy and it will go about the business of chasing cars and other moving objects. Eliminate its risk of getting run over by keeping it well exercised and confined within a safe area.

Like Collies, Shelties are prone to eye malformations and inherited diseases such as the Von Willebrand bleeding disorder. They are also highly susceptible to a cancer of the urinary bladder known as Transitional Cell Carcinoma or TCC. Aside from these, they can also suffer from hip dysplasia common to sheepdogs.

Visitor Comments

This is your chance to add your feedback. Do you have a Shetland Sheepdog in your family, or know one in someone elses? Do you have a story to tell related to that Shetland Sheepdog? Or maybe you have more questions that either or another of our visitors might be able to help you with? Feel free to add your comment or question below.


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