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Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog Dog Breed Information

In a Sentence:

An agile and intelligent herding dog with a thick coat and a distinctive “mane” of fur around the neck.

Scientific Name:

Canis lupus familiaris.
Also Known As:Sheltie
Type:Mammal

Size:

Shetland Sheepdogs are considered a Small Dog breed.
Weight:6-12 kg.
Height:33-41 cm (13-16 inches) at the shoulder.
Length:37-41 cm.

Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a Shetland Sheepdog is 12-14 years

Behavior:

What type of dog is a Shetland Sheepdog, how do they behave and what temperament do they have? See below for a detailed overview of their traits and personality.

Personality & Temperament

Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as Shelties, are a breed of herding dogs that are renowned for their intelligence, loyalty and affectionate nature. They are medium-sized dogs that typically weigh between 15-25 pounds and stand at a height of 13-16 inches at the shoulder.

Shelties are friendly and outgoing. They are highly social dogs that love to be around people and other animals. They are also very intelligent and eager to please, which makes them easy to train. They are very loyal to their owners and will often follow them around the house.

Shelties have a gentle and sweet temperament. They are not aggressive dogs and are generally good with children and other pets. They are also very alert and make excellent watchdogs. They are sensitive to their owner’s moods and will often try to comfort them when they are feeling down.

Shelties are active dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are very playful and enjoy playing games with their owners. They are also very agile and excel in activities such as agility and obedience training. They are vocal dogs and will often bark to alert their owners of any potential danger.

In summary, Shetland Sheepdogs are friendly, intelligent and affectionate dogs that make excellent family pets. They are loyal, gentle and playful and require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Intelligence

Shetland Sheepdogs are considered to be highly intelligent dogs. They are known for their ability to learn quickly and their eagerness to please their owners. They are often used in obedience and agility competitions and are also commonly trained as therapy dogs. Shelties have strong problem-solving skills and their ability to adapt to new situations. Overall, Shetland Sheepdogs are a very smart breed of dog.

Trainability

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally considered to be intelligent and trainable dogs. They are eager to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. However, like all dogs, individual Shetland Sheepdogs may have their own unique personalities and temperaments that can affect their trainability. Some may be more stubborn or independent than others, which can make training more challenging. Overall, with patience, consistency and positive reinforcement, Shetland Sheepdogs can be trained to excel in obedience, agility and other activities.

Sleep

Shetland Sheepdogs typically sleep for around 12-14 hours per day. However, the amount of sleep they need can vary depending on their age, activity level and overall health. Puppies and older dogs may require more sleep, while highly active dogs may need less. It’s important to provide your Shetland Sheepdog with a comfortable and quiet place to rest so they can get the rest they need.

Bark

Shetland Sheepdogs are vocal dogs and can bark quite a bit. They were originally bred as herding dogs and have a strong instinct to bark to alert their owners of potential threats or to herd animals. However, with proper training and socialization, excessive barking can be minimized. It is important to note that every dog is different and some Shetland Sheepdogs may bark more than others.

Drool

Shetland Sheepdogs are not heavy droolers. They have a moderate amount of saliva and do not drool excessively. However, like all dogs, they may drool occasionally, especially when they are excited or anticipating food. Overall, Shetland Sheepdogs are considered to be a relatively clean breed with minimal drooling.

Lick

Shetland Sheepdogs are affectionate and social dogs and they may lick their owners or other dogs as a way of showing affection or greeting them. However, the amount of licking can vary from dog to dog and may depend on their individual personality and behavior. Some Shetland Sheepdogs may lick more than others, but excessive licking can also be a sign of anxiety or stress. It’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Jump

Shetland Sheepdogs are known for their agility and athleticism. They are capable of jumping up to 24-30 inches in height, depending on their size and physical ability. However, it is important to note that jumping too high or too frequently can put strain on their joints and lead to injury, so it is important to train and exercise them safely and appropriately.

Dig

Shetland Sheepdogs are not excessive diggers. However, like all dogs, they may dig occasionally, especially if they are bored or trying to escape. It’s important to provide them with enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent destructive behavior. If you notice your Shetland Sheepdog digging excessively, it may be a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Good Fit for You?

Is a Shetland Sheepdog the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out how compatible you are with a Shetland Sheepdog.

Exercise

Shetland Sheepdogs are an energetic and active breed that require a moderate amount of exercise. They should have at least 30-60 minutes of exercise each day, which can include walks, runs, playtime and training sessions. It is important to provide them with mental stimulation as well, such as puzzle toys or obedience training. However, it is important to note that every dog is different and their exercise needs may vary based on their age, health and individual personality.

Space

Shetland Sheepdogs are a medium-sized breed and require a moderate amount of space. They can adapt to living in apartments or small homes as long as they receive regular exercise and mental stimulation. However, they do enjoy having a yard to run and play in. A fenced yard is recommended to keep them safe and prevent them from wandering off. Overall, Shetland Sheepdogs can thrive in a variety of living situations as long as their exercise and socialization needs are met.

Apartment

Shetland Sheepdogs can adapt to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. They are an active breed and require daily walks and playtime. They also need mental stimulation through training and interactive toys to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Additionally, they may bark when they hear noises or see people outside, so apartment living may not be ideal if excessive barking is a concern. Overall, Shetland Sheepdogs can make good apartment dogs with proper exercise and mental stimulation.

Left Alone

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally social dogs and do not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. They thrive on human interaction and may become anxious or develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. It is important to provide them with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and attention to prevent these issues. If you need to leave your Shetland Sheepdog alone, it is recommended to gradually acclimate them to being alone for short periods and provide them with toys and treats to keep them occupied. Additionally, hiring a pet sitter or dog walker to visit and spend time with your Sheltie can help alleviate their loneliness.

Kid/Family Friendly

Yes, Shetland Sheepdogs are generally good with kids and families. They are friendly and have an affectionate nature and they often form strong bonds with their owners. Shelties are also very intelligent and trainable, which makes them great companions for families with children. However, it’s important to note that like any breed, individual Shelties may have different temperaments and personalities, so it’s always a good idea to socialize and train them properly to ensure they are well-behaved around children.

Perfect Fit

A Shetland Sheepdog, also known as a Sheltie, would be a perfect fit for a household that is active and has plenty of time to devote to their pet. Shelties are highly intelligent and require mental stimulation and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. They also love to be around their family and thrive on attention and affection.

Additionally, Shelties are great with children and make excellent family pets. They are loyal and protective of their family, but can also be reserved around strangers. Shelties are adaptable to different living situations, but they do require regular grooming to maintain their beautiful coat.

Overall, a household that is active, has plenty of time to devote to their pet and is looking for a loyal and intelligent companion would be a perfect fit for a Shetland Sheepdog.

Pros and Cons:

Like any breed, there are both pros and cons to owning a Sheltie. Here are five of each:

Pros:
  1. Trainability: Shelties are highly trainable and eager to please, making them great candidates for obedience training and agility competitions.
  2. Affectionate: Shelties are known for their affectionate nature and love to be around their owners, making them great companions.
  3. Low-shedding: Shelties have a double coat that sheds minimally, making them a good choice for people with allergies or those who don’t want to deal with a lot of dog hair.
  4. Good with children: Shelties are generally good with children and make great family pets.
  5. Active: Shelties are an active breed and enjoy regular exercise, making them a good choice for people who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or running.
Cons:
  1. Barking: Shelties do have a tendency to bark, which can be a problem in apartments or close quarters.
  2. Separation anxiety: Shelties can be prone to separation anxiety and may become destructive if left alone for long periods of time.
  3. Herding instincts: Shelties were originally bred as herding dogs and may try to herd children or other pets in the household.
  4. Grooming: Shelties require regular grooming to maintain their coat, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
  5. Health issues: Shelties are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, eye problems and allergies, which can be costly to treat.

Cost:

The cost of a Shetland Sheepdog in Australia can vary depending on several factors such as the breeder, location, age and pedigree. On average, a Shetland Sheepdog puppy can cost between $1,500 to $3,500 AUD. However, some breeders may charge more for puppies with exceptional pedigrees or show potential. It’s important to do thorough research and choose a reputable breeder to ensure the health and well-being of your new pet.

Breed History:

Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as Shelties, were originally bred for herding and protecting sheep in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They were developed by crossing the local Spitz-type dogs with the Rough Collies brought to the islands by Scottish shepherds. The resulting breed was smaller and more agile than the Rough Collie, making them better suited for working in the rocky and rugged terrain of the Shetland Islands.

Shelties were also used as watchdogs and companions for their owners. Their intelligence, loyalty and trainability made them popular pets and show dogs. Today, Shetland Sheepdogs are still used for herding and as family pets.

Current Usage

Shetland Sheepdogs are primarily kept as companion pets, but they can also be used as working dogs. Here are some ways Shetland Sheepdogs are currently being used:

  1. Herding: Shetland Sheepdogs were originally bred to herd sheep and other livestock. While they may not be as commonly used for herding today, some Shelties still have a strong herding instinct and can be trained to work on farms.
  2. Therapy dogs: Shetland Sheepdogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, which makes them great candidates for therapy work. They can visit hospitals, nursing homes and schools to provide comfort and companionship to those in need.
  3. Agility: Shetland Sheepdogs are highly trainable and excel in agility competitions. They are fast and agile and their small size makes them well-suited for navigating obstacles.
  4. Search and rescue: Shetland Sheepdogs have a keen sense of smell and can be trained to work in search and rescue operations. They can help locate missing persons or assist in disaster relief efforts.
  5. Obedience: Shetland Sheepdogs are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them great candidates for obedience training. They can learn a variety of commands and tricks and can compete in obedience competitions.

Overall, while Shetland Sheepdogs are primarily kept as pets, they have a variety of skills and abilities that make them well-suited for a range of working roles.

Guard Dogs

Shetland Sheepdogs are not typically known for their guarding abilities. They are a friendly and social breed that is more likely to greet strangers with a wagging tail than to act as a guard dog. While they may bark to alert their owners of potential intruders, they are not typically aggressive enough to deter or attack them. Therefore, if you are looking for a guard dog, a Shetland Sheepdog may not be the best choice.

Where Are They Found?

Shetland Sheepdogs are popular in many countries around the world. However, the countries where they are most popular include:

1. United States6. Germany
2. Canada7. Sweden
3. United Kingdom8. Norway
4. Australia9. Finland
5. Japan10. Denmark

These countries have active Shetland Sheepdog clubs and breeders and the breed is often seen in dog shows and competitions.

Climate

Shetland Sheepdogs are best suited to a moderate climate with mild temperatures. They have a thick double coat that provides insulation in cold weather, but they can overheat in hot weather. Therefore, they may struggle in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. It is important to provide them with proper shelter and temperature control to keep them comfortable.

Population

According to the American Kennel Club, there are currently over 18,000 registered Shetland Sheepdogs in the United States and around 7,000 registered Shetland Sheepdogs in the UK. However, there is no exact number of Shetland Sheepdogs in the world, as not all dogs are registered with breed-specific clubs.

Physical Appearance:

Shetland Sheepdogs are a small to medium-sized breed of dog. They have a long, thick double coat that comes in a variety of colors including sable, black and blue merle. They have a distinctive mane of fur around their neck and chest and feathering on their legs and tail.

Shetland Sheepdogs have a wedge-shaped head with a pointed snout and dark, almond-shaped eyes. Their ears are small and triangular and they stand erect on top of their head. They have a long, slender body with a deep chest and a slightly curved back. Their legs are straight and muscular and their feet are small and oval-shaped.

Shetland Sheepdogs are known for their graceful and elegant appearance, with a proud and alert posture. They are often compared to miniature Collies, as they share many physical characteristics with their larger counterparts. Overall, Shetland Sheepdogs are a beautiful and distinctive breed with a unique appearance.

Coat:

Colours:

Shetland Sheepdogs can come in a variety of colors, including sable, black, blue merle and bi-black. They may also have white markings on their chest, feet and face.

Hair/Fur Length:

Shetland Sheepdogs have a double coat of fur, with a long and straight outer coat and a soft and dense undercoat. The hair on their body is typically medium length, while the hair on their neck, chest and legs is longer and more feathery. The hair on their face is also longer, forming a distinctive “mane” around their ears and a frill around their neck. Overall, their hair is considered to be of medium length.

Shedding:

Yes, Shetland Sheepdogs do shed. They have a thick double coat that sheds moderately year-round and heavily twice a year during shedding seasons. Regular brushing and grooming can help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy.

Grooming:

The Shetland Sheepdog requires regular grooming to maintain its thick, double coat. It is recommended to brush the coat at least once a week to prevent matting and tangling. During shedding season, which occurs twice a year, the coat will need to be brushed more frequently to remove loose hair.

In addition to brushing, the Shetland Sheepdog may also require occasional trimming of the hair around its ears, paws and hindquarters. This can be done with scissors or clippers, but it is important to be careful not to cut the dog’s skin.

Overall, the Shetland Sheepdog does require some grooming, but it is not overly demanding compared to some other breeds.

Hypoallergenic:

No, Shetland Sheepdogs are not considered hypoallergenic. They have a double coat that sheds moderately year-round and heavily twice a year during shedding season. This shedding can cause allergies in some people. However, some individuals with allergies may be able to tolerate Shetland Sheepdogs better than other breeds due to their lower dander production. It’s always best to spend time with a Shetland Sheepdog before bringing one home to see if allergies are triggered.

Speed:

Shetland Sheepdogs can run up to 48 kph (30 mph).

Health:

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health issues that Shetland Sheepdogs may face include:

  • Hip dysplasia: a genetic condition that affects the hip joint and can cause pain and lameness.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): a genetic condition that causes the degeneration of the retina, leading to blindness.
  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA): a genetic condition that affects the development of the eye and can cause vision problems.
  • Von Willebrand’s disease: a genetic bleeding disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot.
  • Dermatomyositis: an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and muscles, causing skin lesions and muscle weakness.

Teeth:

Shetland Sheepdogs typically have 42 teeth, which includes incisors, canines, premolars and molars.

Eyesight:

Shetland Sheepdogs have excellent eyesight. Their eyes are set well apart and are almond-shaped, which allows them to have a wide field of vision. Additionally, their eyes are typically dark in color, which helps to reduce glare and improve their ability to see in bright light. Overall, their eyesight is an important part of their ability to excel in activities such as herding, agility and obedience competitions.

Nipples:

Shetland Sheepdogs typically have 8 to 10 nipples, arranged in two rows on their underside.

Gestation:

Litter Size:

The typical litter size for Shetland Sheepdogs is between 4 to 6 puppies. However, litter sizes can vary and may be influenced by factors such as the age and health of the mother, genetics and environmental factors.

Gestation Period:

The gestation period for Shetland Sheepdogs is approximately 63 days. However, it can vary by a few days depending on the individual dog. It is important to monitor the pregnant dog closely during this time and consult with a veterinarian if there are any concerns or complications.

Heat:

Shetland Sheepdogs typically go into heat twice a year, although this can vary depending on the individual dog.

Male vs Female:

Male and female Shetland Sheepdogs have some physical and behavioral differences. Males tend to be slightly larger and heavier than females, with a more masculine appearance and thicker coat. Females, on the other hand, have a more feminine appearance and a finer coat. In terms of behavior, males are often more outgoing and confident, while females tend to be more reserved and cautious. However, these differences can vary depending on the individual dog’s personality and training.

Tips and Advice:

If you are considering getting a Sheltie, it is important to know how to properly care for them. Here are some tips and advice for caring for a Shetland Sheepdog:

  • Grooming: Shelties have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Brush their coat at least once a week and more frequently during shedding season. They also need regular baths and nail trims.
  • Exercise: Shelties are an active breed and require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. They enjoy walks, runs and playing fetch. A fenced yard is ideal for them to run and play in.
  • Training: Shelties are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train. They excel in obedience, agility and other dog sports. Positive reinforcement training methods work best with this breed.
  • Socialization: Shelties are friendly dogs, but they can be reserved around strangers if not properly socialized. Expose them to different people, places and experiences from a young age to help them become well-adjusted adults.
  • Health: Shelties are generally healthy dogs, but they can be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, eye problems and allergies. Regular vet check-ups and a healthy diet can help prevent or manage these issues.
  • Mental stimulation: Shelties are intelligent dogs that need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Puzzle toys, training sessions and interactive playtime can help keep their minds active.
  • Love and attention: Shelties are affectionate dogs that thrive on human companionship. They do not do well when left alone for long periods of time. Make sure to give them plenty of love, attention and cuddles.

By following these tips and advice, you can provide your Shetland Sheepdog with the care and attention they need to live a happy and healthy life.

Food:

The amount of food a Shetland Sheepdog needs depends on its age, size and activity level. As a general guideline, an adult Shetland Sheepdog should eat about 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. However, it’s important to monitor your dog’s weight and adjust their food intake accordingly.

Shetland Sheepdogs are known to be food-oriented dogs, meaning they are highly motivated by food and treats. This can make them easy to train using positive reinforcement methods that involve food rewards. However, it’s important to ensure that they don’t become overweight or obese, as this can lead to health problems.

Facts:

Here are three interesting facts about Shetland Sheepdogs:

  1. Shelties are often mistaken for miniature Collies, but they are actually a separate breed that originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland.
  2. Shetland Sheepdogs are highly trainable and excel in obedience competitions, agility trials and herding competitions.
  3. Despite their small size, Shelties are known for their loud and persistent barking, which makes them excellent watchdogs. However, this trait can also be a challenge for owners who live in apartments or close quarters.

Names:

They are often given names that reflect their Scottish heritage, as well as their playful and energetic personalities. Here are 15 names that would be a good fit for a Shetland Sheepdog:

1. Angus6. Freya11. Niamh
2. Bonnie7. Hamish12. Rory
3. Brodie8. Isla13. Skye
4. Callum9. Lachlan14. Tavish
5. Finn10. Maisie15. Willow

Famous:

Over the years, several Shelties have become famous for their incredible feats, appearances in movies and TV shows and for being owned by famous people. Some of the most famous Shetland Sheepdogs of all time include:

  1. Ch. Caledonia’s Crowd Pleaser: This Sheltie won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1990, making him the first Shetland Sheepdog to win the prestigious award.
  2. Lassie: Perhaps the most famous Shetland Sheepdog of all time, Lassie appeared in several movies and TV shows, captivating audiences with her intelligence and loyalty.
  3. Ch. Laureate Landslide: This Sheltie won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2012, becoming the second Shetland Sheepdog to win the award.
  4. Ch. Apple Acres Odyssey Armani: This Sheltie won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1986, making him the first Shetland Sheepdog to win the award.
  5. Buddy: This Sheltie was owned by former US President Bill Clinton and his family and was known for his loyalty and affection towards the family.
  6. Ch. Sunnybank Lad: This Sheltie was owned by author Albert Payson Terhune, who wrote several books about the dog’s adventures.
  7. Ch. Barwood’s Brushfire: This Sheltie won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1983, becoming the first Shetland Sheepdog to win the award in 50 years.

These famous Shetland Sheepdogs have left a lasting impression on the breed and have shown the world just how incredible these dogs can be.

Summary:

The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as the Sheltie, is a small to medium-sized herding dog breed that originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They were originally bred to herd and protect sheep, but have since become popular as family pets and show dogs.

Shelties are intelligent, loyal and have an affectionate nature. They are highly trainable and excel in obedience and agility competitions. They are also renowned for their vocal nature and will often bark to alert their owners of any perceived threats.

In terms of appearance, Shelties have a long, thick double coat that comes in a variety of colors including sable, black and blue merle. They have a distinctive mane of fur around their neck and a plumed tail.

As pets, Shelties make great companions for families with children and other pets. They are gentle and patient with children and have a playful nature. They do require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Overall, the Shetland Sheepdog is a loyal and intelligent breed that makes a great family pet for those willing to provide them with the attention and exercise they need.