(aka: Sheltie, Miniature Collie, Toonie Dog, Dwarf Scotch Shepherd, Toonie Dog, Dwarf Scotch Shepherd)
Shetland Sheepdog Description
The Shetland Sheepdog resembles a Rough Collie, but is much smaller in size. These small to medium sized dogs have a sturdy build, a very sweet face, and an intelligent expression. He has a long, straight outer coat that is harsh to the touch, with a softer, close fitting undercoat. The coloring of the Shetland Sheepdog includes sable, blue merle, and black, with white or tan markings, and some may be tri-colored. The height of the Shetland Sheepdog is around 13-16 inches, and these dogs weigh in at around 15-25 pounds.
The Shetland Sheepdog is a charming, affectionate, and loyal dog, and makes a fine family pet or companion for both experienced and inexperienced dog owners. These are responsive and intelligent creatures, and are easy to train. He is one of the most trainable of all breeds. The Shetland Sheepdog thrives on the companionship and affection of his owners, and is not the right choice for those with little time for a pet, as he will get destructive if neglected. This is a sweet natured dog with grace, dignity, and a sociable attitude. The Sheltie is always enthusiastic and eager to please his owner, and is a quick learner. They are very in tune with their owners, and extremely responsive. The Shetland Sheepdog is a family dog through and through, and enjoys plenty of interaction and cuddles.
Early socialization and consistent training is recommended to promote a stable, sociable, and well balanced temperament, as some Shetland Sheepdogs can be reserved and shy. They can be startled easily and do not like to be teased. These dogs are best around gentler or older children, and will usually get along fine with other animals. They can be shy and reserved around strangers. The Sheltie needs a stable environment to live in, and does not like loud noises or tense atmospheres. This is a sensitive breed, and needs to be part of a loving, close family. They can bark a fair amount when excited, and due to their herding instincts may try and herd people and other animals into groups through nipping. He needs a fair amount of exercise, and should have a safe, secure area to play and run around when not on a leash.
The Shetland Sheepdog is a relatively low maintenance dog, which is ideal for those with little time to spend on grooming. You can brush his coat around twice a week to keep it in good condition, although you will need to increase this at times when he is shedding more heavily. He is a medium shedder, and sheds more heavily on a seasonal basis, so he is not the best choice for those suffering from allergies.
The Shetland Sheepdog has a lengthy and fascinating history. The breed has been traced back to originating in the Shetland Islands which is just off the coast of Scotland. This is a colder and harsh climate which explains the warmth the Shelties coat and fur provide for it. Recently the Shetland Sheepdog has been replaced in its home of the Shetland Islands with the more popular Border Collie and is rarely found in Shetland, however they are quite popular in other parts of the world both as pets, show dogs and herding dogs. The Shetland Sheepdog is still commonly used as a working or herding dog on farms and other agricultural business.
Shelties are very smart and can easily be trained to play Frisbee or fetch with any number of items. Shetland Sheepdogs are very good runners and will be happy to run or jog with you for exercise as well. Although they are very intelligent and easily trained without training they will most often pull at the leash because of the instinct to be free, run and heard other animals. This is easily and often quickly corrected through early training with the right methods.
Because of the great intelligence of the breed of Shetland Sheepdogs training is usually a simple and successful matter. Especially when training is started early in puppy years or as a young dog. However even older Shetland Sheepdogs are trainable with the right methods. The best results will be through a professional training class with the right trainer and technique where your Sheltie can be trained and socialized at the same time. This is generally a successful route for training as this breed of dogs is very intelligent and will learn quickly. Part of their general demeanor is to obey quickly and eagerly making them train exceptionally well, this is largely due to the herding instincts that is inherent in Shetland Sheepdogs and other herding breeds.
The life expectancy of the Shetland Sheepdog is around 12-14 years, and there are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed. This includes epilepsy, vWD, thyroid problems, luxating patella, PRA, HD, eye problems, seizures, and heart problems. The parents of the Shetland Sheepdog puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.