Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog is an extremely intelligent, quick, and obedient herder from Scotland’s remote and rugged Shetland Islands.

Shetland Sheepdog
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Overall Status

Height 13 to 16 inches
Temperament Playful, Energetic, Bright
Weight 15 to 25 pounds
Life Expectancy 12 to 14 years
Coat Color Black & White, Black White & Tan, Blue Merle & Whi
Barking Level Frequent

Quick Factors

Playfulness
Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips Exercise Tips Feeding Tips Health Tips Trainability

Regular and thorough brushing and combing is a must for this double-coat breed because the undercoat can mat into a layer of uncomfortable felt while the long outer coat still looks normal. Ask your Sheltie’s breeder to show you how to brush him so you get all the way down to the skin.

Owners must be prepared to brush the coat weekly, and more often during shedding season, to help in removing at least some of the loose hair before it drifts all over the house. Be sure to check for mats behind the ears, under the elbow on each front leg, and in the “pants” under the tail. Shaving the dog is not recommended, because the coat protects against sunburn and heat as well as cold. The Sheltie needs a bath only occasionally.

Shelties are good at keeping themselves clean, especially if you do your part by brushing regularly. Give your Sheltie a bath once every month or two. He shouldn’t need one more often than that.

Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally.

Sealyham Terriers are feisty and strong-willed dogs. They require an assertive but kind family that won’t let the dog walk all over them. The Sealy needs regular training sessions to keep him from misbehaving. Consistency, along with loads of praise and treats, is best when working with a Sealy. Training should begin from the time you get the new puppy. This should go on throughout the dog’s life to ensure that he never forgets his place within the family.

If possible, your Sheltie should be enrolled in advanced obedience, trick training, agility, or organized herding activities. These smart dogs need to use their minds as much as their bodies and appreciate the opportunity to learn new things as they exercise. Properly exercising and occupying your Sheltie's brain help keep them calm indoors. A bored Sheltie can bark obsessively, which can drive the house crazy and alienate your neighbors – especially in an apartment building.

Because the Sealy is small but active, he needs a diet of high-quality, dry food. Feeding dry kibble can help to prevent oral hygiene problems such as bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Be sure to feed the Sealyham Terrier the proper amount of food as indicated on the bag as Sealies have a tendency to overeat and become overweight.

If you get aSealypuppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.

Treatscan be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Shetland Sheepdog can develop certainhealth problems. Here’s a brief rundown on a few of the conditions you should know about.

The average life span of the Shetland Sheepdog is 12 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include Collie eye anomaly, dermatomyositis, hemophilia,hip dysplasia,hypothyroidism, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis,von Willebrand’s disease,Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, carpal ligament weakening, polyarthritis, nasal cavity tumors,congenital deafness,entropion, distichiasis, corneal dystrophy,cataracts,cryptorchidism, testicular neoplasia, MDR-1 gene mutation,patent ductus arteriosus,progressive retinal atrophyandseizures.This breed is especially sensitive to ivermectin and milbemycin.

Tests are available for many potentially heritable disorders, and minimum health testing of breeding stock is recommended by the breed’s national parent club, theAmerican Shetland Sheepdog Association(ASSA).

Sealyham Terriers are feisty and strong-willed dogs. They require an assertive but kind family that won’t let the dog walk all over them. The Sealy needs regular training sessions to keep him from misbehaving. Consistency, along with loads of praise and treats, is best when working with a Sealy. Training should begin from the time you get the new puppy. This should go on throughout the dog’s life to ensure that he never forgets his place within the family.

Shelties are excellent showmen and enjoy being the center of attention in the home. Trick training can be a great way to keep your Sheltie mentally sharp and get some extra bonding time.

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History

Shetland Sheepdogs were originally bred on the rocky Shetland Islands, the United Kingdom’s northernmost point. They were employed by farmers to herd sheep, ponies, and poultry. (“Toonie dog” was an old slang name for Shelties, “toon” being a Shetland word for farm.)

The origin of the little dogs is unknown. Theories suggest that the Sheltie might be a blend of Nordic breeds, including thePomeranian, the larger Collie, and maybe even a King Charles Spaniel. Through the years, he has gone by several names: Lilliputian Collie, Toonie Dog, Fairy Dog, and MiniatureCollie.

Visitors to the remote islands were often entranced by the fluffy little dogs and took them home as souvenirs. Islanders began breeding them for income, and dog fanciers became interested in them as well. Some people bred them with Collies for more consistent size and look. It’s even suspected that other, unknown, breeds were mixed in, which may be the source of the blue merle with the tan pattern. To this day, Shelties vary widely in size, even within the same litter, because of the variety of dogs in their relatively recent background.

The American Kennel Club registered its first Shetland Sheepdog in 1911. The parent club of the breed, the American Shetland Sheepdog Association, was organized in 1929 by breed enthusiasts at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. The first specialty show for the Sheltie in America was held in 1933. There has been much debate between the various Shetland Sheepdog clubs worldwide about the proper description of the structure, size and type for this breed. The American standard calls for a Sheltie between 13 and 16 inches at the withers, with any size variations being a disqualification.

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Picture & Video

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