Shetland Sheepdog

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Is the Shetland Sheepdog right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Sheltie; Miniature Collie; Shetland Collie

The basics:
The gentle Shetland Sheepdog, often affectionally called the "Sheltie," is a highly recommended family pet because of its beauty, intelligence, and relatively small size. Like other herding dogs, it is exceptionally intelligent and enjoys being given something to do. They're a great choice for active owners who like exercising with their dogs.

Although they're sometimes recommended to novice dog owners, you should be aware that individuals can be sensitive. Some Shelties fear thunder or other loud noises, and they may not do well in a household where there's a lot of shouting or rough-housing. They need to be socialized with kindness and patience. The neglected Sheltie could develop problems like barking or chewing. Unfortunately, the high-pitched bark can be a real headache for owners if your pet isn't properly trained from a young age.

Appearance / health:
The Shetland Sheepdog is a beautiful dog with the general appearance of the rough-coated collie in miniature, but he is not considered a “miniature” Collie as he was not developed from the selective breeding of Rough Collies. He has a long and wedge-shaped head; the top plane of his muzzle should be parallel to the top plane of his skull. His eyes are almond-shaped and generally dark (the exception being in blue merle dogs; their eyes may be blue or a merle color). He should have an intelligent expression that appears questioning, watchful, and gentle. His nose should be black; his teeth meet in a scissors bite; his ears are small, flexible, and expressive, with tops that drop. His tail should reach to his hock. Male Shelties should appear masculine and female Shelties should have a feminine appearance.

The Sheltie requires regular grooming, including some trimming and stripping and daily brushing. Good daily coat care consists of misting him lightly with water and then very gently removing any mats out of his hair prior to brushing. Avoid breakage of his hair by combing as seldom as possible.

The Sheltie is a heavy shedder twice per year, shedding the thick undercoat in the spring and fall.

Bathe or dry shampoo your Sheltie only when it is absolutely necessary.

The Sheltie requires plenty of activity and exercise. This can be accomplished through training, play, or regular activities such as walks, jogs, or a cycling companion. Shelties require both mental and physical challenges in their exercise regime to keep them emotionally happy. Teaching your Sheltie to play fetch or catch and return a Frisbee is a good way to accomplish both physical and mental exercise. The Sheltie greatly enjoys a free run, but ensure he is in a safely enclosed area so that he cannot take off “herding” or chasing vehicles.

While certainly not all Shelties are afflicted with one, any, or all of the following health issues, this list contains matters that are concerns that should be watched for because they are common in Shetland Sheepdogs:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Disease and malformation of the eyes (inherited)
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
  • Luxating patella (believed to be inherited)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Epilepsy
  • Sheltie Skin Syndrome
  • von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD)
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Obesity

The potential Sheltie owner can avoid many of these issues by purchasing only from a reputable breeder who can supply references and who has a history of the health of their breeding stock. Breeding stock should be CERF-certified. Every Sheltie puppy should have a veterinary eye examination.

Behavior / temperament:
The Sheltie is watchful, alert, active, affectionate, loyal, sensitive, intelligent and responsive. An obedient breed that gets along well with other pets and children, they are also hard working and love to have a job to do. Though they are a comparatively friendly breed, they are known to be suspicious of strangers and make a good watch dog. The Sheltie is a biddable, generally healthy breed that loves and needs people; he requires a home where he can have all the companionship he needs. Some Sheltie fanciers claim the males are more affectionate and make better pets. This is a good dog for a novice dog owner.

The Sheltie is an exceptional companion dog with a charming and pleasing temperament and is very trainable. The Sheltie is considered by many to be one to the smartest breeds, with many fanciers considering them to have a near-human level of intelligence; he exhibits a willingness to obey and please. He is lovable toward his family and will put up with a lot from the children in his family, but is suspicious of strangers and especially so of strange children. The Sheltie typically will not allow strangers to touch him and will persistently bark at them in warning. He is a good guard and watchdog, but requires extensive socialization as a puppy. It is of utmost importance to keep him busy and allow him to have a purpose by giving him a job to do. The herding instinct for which he was initially developed is still very strong in many Shelties - they love to chase things; regrettably (and frequently disastrously), a Sheltie will love to chase cars. He must not be allowed to run off-leash anywhere near a street or roadway lest he decide to chase a car or anything else interesting he sees across the road, and run the risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

The Sheltie is rated very high in learning rate, obedience and problem solving. They are a very easy breed to train due to their love of working and pleasing their owner, especially when training is started in puppyhood. Because of their love of running, the Sheltie does tend to pull at the leash but this can be quickly corrected utilizing proper training methods and early training. The Sheltie does respond better and faster to training when the services of a professional trainer and training classes are used. In fact, attending training classes will often accomplish two objectives at the same time: training and socialization.

Admittedly, the Sheltie does like to bark a lot and does have the potential to end up as a nuisance barker unless properly training from puppyhood in when it is and is not appropriate to bark.


intelligent, sweet, great family dogs, lovable, great personalities, loyal companion, handsome


skittish, barking, bit high strung, nippy, Separation anxiety, perpetual grooming


positive training, double coat, incredible learning ability, agility dog, perfect sized lapdog

Helpful Shetland Sheepdog Review

Shetland Sheepdog

From T Lee Feb 14 2019 5:35PM


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