Shetland Sheepdog – Small Bundle of Energy with a Big Heart

Shetland Sheepdogs cannot deny their kinship with Rough Collies. But they are much more than a miniature version of Lassie. Sensitive and intelligent, Shelties are loyal companions on hikes and enthusiastically take part in any canine sport. Their docile nature makes them excellent family dogs.

Much More Than a Small Collie

The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie for short, is native to the Shetland Islands. Small animals such as Shetland ponies and Shetland sheep thrive in the harsh climate of the islands. So farmers needed a frugal little herding dog and an agile working dog. It is believed that Shelties are descended from a cross between a Border Collie and a Greenland dog. They say that collies were also involved – this is evidenced by the resemblance. In 1909, enthusiasts formed the Shetland Collie Club with the aim of breeding a miniature version of the Collie. This, in turn, caused resistance from Collie breeders, so the breed was not recognized by the British Kennel Club until five years later. Shelties are now kept as companions and herding dogs. They are often seen in dog sports such as agility. The breed standard calls for an ideal height of 37 centimeters for males and 35.5 centimeters for females. A deviation of more than two and a half centimeters is undesirable. Shetland Sheepdogs are bred in sable, tricolor, blue merle, black and white, and black and tan.

Sheltie Personality

Shelties are far from lap dogs, but hardy working dogs. They learn quickly and easily. Above all, the Shetland Sheepdog wants to please his human and would love to be around him all day long – everything for a small dog is here. Like herding dogs, Shelties have a low threshold. This sometimes leads to them gleefully reporting and commenting. These are very sensitive dogs that show great empathy for their guardian. They are initially reserved towards strangers, which makes them good home and yard guards.

Training & Maintenance of the Shetland Sheepdog

The desire to please and sensitivity make the Sheltie an easy dog ​​to train. But: He can’t handle too much pressure in his upbringing. Shelties are ideal for people who love outdoor activities. If you keep your Shetland Sheepdog mentally and physically busy, you can even keep him indoors. When raising a puppy, make sure that he has periods of rest. This way you get a level-headed dog that joins in all the fun and agrees when no “action” is called.

Shetland Sheepdog Care

The Shetland Sheepdog is a long-haired dog with a luxuriant coat and a soft undercoat. However, it is easy to take care of. Brush your Sheltie once a week. Particular attention should be paid to the ears and underarms, where the coat tends to tangle. Here, comb more often or cut felt knots out of the fur regularly.

Sheltie Health

The Shetland Sheepdog is considered a relatively robust breed. However, hereditary defects such as HD (hip dysplasia), MDR1 defect (drug intolerance), and CEA (collie eye anomaly) are sometimes seen. So buy your Sheltie from a reputable breeder.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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