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Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

The Shetland Sheepdog breed profile is sponsored by visit PetWear to custom design your Sheltie's next designer dog collar, leash or more and then let PetWear hand make it and then ship for free!

The Shetland Sheepdog enjoys immense popularity with a wide variety of people.  Why not? The small size and friendly personality seems to make them a great fit with many homes.  For the serious dog sport competitor they are among the most trainable of dogs and as versatile as they are agile.  While few are likely worked toward their native "herding" skills, they are still clearly very alert, attention seekers.  This is the source of most nuisance behaviors in Shelties when they are owned by people who either don't know or don't care how to properly train and thus inadvertantly train badly.

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General Information
Group(s): Herding Height: 13-14.5 inches
Weight: usually no more than 24 pounds Longevity: mid-teens
Colors: merle, sable and white, black and white, tricolour, black and tan Coat type: thick soft undercoat, topcoat is long, straight and somewhat harsh with a glossiness. The undercoat causes it to stand out creating a very full effect. Face, ears and feet have smooth, short coat with feathering on the legs.
Recognized Registries: FCI, ANKC, AKC, CKC, TKC, UKC, NCA and others
Overall Appearance: Small compact dog with foxy face and natural tipped ears. Full coat somewhat hides the substance and muscling but this is an athlete. Tail is never carried curled over the back as a spitz but rather straight.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: very high
General Nature: happy, alert, talkative, active, playful
  with Children: generally good but deserves proper socialization with well behaved children under supervision
  with other pets: variable but generally good though with some inclination to excitability and to herd
  with dogs: generally quite good
Socialization requirements: significant: The Sheltie can fall into the trap of many smaller dogs of being overly indulged and becoming tyrannical or overly shy
Ideal home characteristics: Remarkable shedding takes place twice a year. Breed is known for vocalizing. Some understanding of training as the Sheltie makes a game of everything. Exceedingly easy to train which is a problem in a novice home.
Temperament Notes: Bit of a busy body, very happy and entertaining, friendly, gentle, alert and active. Very intelligent, exceptionally high desire to please.
Training requirement: rather high: socialization, basic manners and some ongoing activity(ies)
Trainer notes: The Shetland Sheepdog is ALWAYS learning.  This is a problem for many people who get a Sheltie thinking they want a "nice pet".  Because the Sheltie IS a nice pet, a nice pet that wants to be with you, entertaining you, getting your attention, etc.  The inadvertant training of many Shelties makes them into total nuisances as they learn that barking gets attention, stealing your socks and running through the house, gets attention and so much more.  These people are then confused when their aggravation doesn't result in an end to the behavior.  What they don't understand is that the Sheltie has trained them.  Many if not most dogs do this but the Sheltie is especially masterful because these little dogs thrive on attention and learning.  If you won't train them they will train you.  Or to be fair, you will train each other in any event, the question is whether the home is aware of what they are teaching.  The Sheltie is a fireball with a brain, don't bring one home expecting a different kind of Peke or Shih Tzu, they are wired totally differently.  If you aren't interested in Agility, Flyball, Obedience, Rally, long walks, pet therapy or some other mentally and physically stimulating activity, there are likely better choices for your situation than the typical Sheltie.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: late 19th century
Country of Origin: Shetland Islands of UK
Original Function: herding with some guardian aspects perhaps to keep sheep out of gardens
History: The Sheltie was a multitude of crosses with native dogs and imported herding dogs, when tourists came and wanted the small fluffy canines, added crosses with breeds like a small spitz and perhaps even Terriers create the dog we know today.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard:
Health Notes: hypothyroidism, von Willebrand's disease, hip dysplasia, eye problems
Health Testing: Thyroid Panel, vWD test, OFA and CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Shetland Sheepdogs?
  • Why do you have Shetland Sheepdog (show, performance, herding, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Shetland Sheepdog?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you send your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Shetland Sheepdog?
  • How would you describe the ideal Shetland Sheepdog home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Shetland Sheepdog?
  • How do you assist or help Shetland Sheepdogs in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites: - American Shetland Sheepdog Association National Rescue Network with contacts in every state

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: - The Kennel Club (UK) Standard for the Shetland Sheepdog - Shetland Sheepdog Standard as per the American Shetland Sheepdog Association

    Breeder Ethics: - Potomac Valley Shetland Sheepdog Club Code of Ethics - Dallas Shetland Sheepdog Club Code of Ethics - English Shetland Sheepdog Club Code of Ethics - Triangle Shetland Sheepdog Club Code of Ethics - Shetland Sheepdog Club of Central Kentucky Code of Ethics - Tampa Bay Shetland Sheepdog Club Code of Ethics - American Shetland Sheepdog Association Ethical Guidelines (and club information including constitution)

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