Meet the Shetland Sheepdog aka The Sheltie Dog!

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the miniature collie shelty smilesWhether you’re a dog person or not, you can’t help but love the Shetland Sheepdog. Originally from Scotland, this long-haired, affectionate dog is a bundle of fun!

The Shetland Sheepdog may be an excellent farm dog, but there’s so much more to his personality than meets the eye. Let’s find out why so many people share the love for the Shetland Sheepdog!

What is the Shetland Sheepdog?

So, what actually is a Shetland Sheepdog? Originally from the Shetland islands (same place as the Shetland pony!) in Scotland, these dogs were perfected for the art of herding sheep. It was only in 1911 when they became recognized by the America Kennel Club as an official American breed.

Docile, affectionate and extremely intelligent, this devoted breed is formulated for obedience. Their trainability and obedience is what makes them exceptional at what they do. They were literally bred for it!

History: A Pooch from the Shetland Islands

Made up of many breeds including the Greenland Yakki, King Charles Spaniel, and even the Pomeranian, these pooches are an art form from the Shetland Islands!

But the Shetland Sheepdog not only can herd sheep but the possibilities are almost endless in the field of teaching! With their keen ability to understand and learn quickly, you can be sure you’d never go bored. Not only do they have the brains, but they also have a quirky look to match!

Appearance and Personality

A combination of their charming looks and gentle personality is what makes these pooches so loveable. The Shetland Sheepdog (also known as a sheltie) will never fail to draw eyes.

An animation-type look, with a long, thick wool-like coat, it’s no wonder the breed turns heads. Much like a smaller version of a rough collie, the Shetland Sheepdog is a swift, light-footed, and an agile runner.

Starting from the top, the Sheltie has a proud head with a distinctive long, well-rounded nose. Their dark almond-shaped eyes convey their alert, yet gentle manner. Small perky ears are set high, and thick lion-like mane boarders the face.

The Shetland Sheepdog breed can either be blue merle, black or stable, marked with white, tan or both. Along with their unique looks, Shelties have personalities just as capturing!

Shelties are an all-around family dog. Their gentle yet confident nature shines through in their overly affectionate manner. Shelties are big on loyalty!

They want to be with you every step of the way, unfortunately, this can also cause some issues!

Separation anxiety is very real in shelties and the result of their rather sensitive nature. Described sometimes as timid, Shelties can often be weary and almost fearful when meeting strangers. You could say the sheltie is more of an introverted type, so it is important to socialize well when they are young.

sheltie puppies looking off camera

A Miniature Collie? Is the Shetland Sheep Pooch-related to the Collie?

At first glance, you’d think they were cousins right? Well, they pretty much are! Both the rough collie and the Shetland Sheepdog descended from the border collie.

Although the Shetland Sheepdog (also known as the American Collie) may look like a miniature rough collie, it is important to know they are two distinct breeds.

To get from a border collie to a Shetland Sheepdog, they crossed one with an Icelandic yakking (now an extinct breed). Instead of herding sheep, the rough collies were used as water rescue dogs and herding mobs of cattle. Though they are similar in both looks and personality, they each carry distinctive characteristics!

How big do they get?

Smaller than most other herding dogs, the Shetland Sheepdog ranges in height between 10 and 15 inches tall! Their smaller build makes them an easier inside dog and possible to keep in apartments.

With their double coat, their weight can sometimes be deceptive, reaching as much as 40 pounds!

3 Facts You Need to Know About the Sheltie Dog

  1. They can be very vocal! Known for their high pitch bark, Shelties are usually heard before they are seen.
  2. The act of herding is in engrained in character. So, sometimes they may have the tendency to herd children, cars or even other dogs! It’s best to keep them on a leash when you’re out to prevent this from happening.
  3. As well as physical exercise, shelties need a lot of mental stimulation too! Something as easy as playing fetch or a challenging game will keep them in a positive mental state!

Shelties Can be a Healthy Breed!

The Shetland Sheepdog is typically a bright and healthy animal with a fairly long lifespan. However, there are definitely some health issues to be aware of!

A common disease across many breeds of dogs is the von Willebrand’s disease. A genetic disease affecting the ability for blood to clot.

Genetically acquired, this disease can present with excessive nosebleeds or blood in the stool and urine. If the disease is serious enough it can lead to anemia!

The best treatment is a synthetic analog of vasopressin which can be prescribed by your local vet. Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if signs are showing as it can progress quickly!

Hip dysplasia is largely thought to be a genetic abnormality in the Shetland Sheepdog. Its caused by subluxation of the hip joint which in turn can lead to very painful arthritis! So, if you notice your sheltie limping in the hind legs or hopping like a rabbit, get him to the vet!

Another common inherited disease found in Shelties is progressive retinal atrophy. Onset can be as early as two years of age! Beginning with loss of peripheral vision and sight in dim light, the disease can be tested for with CNGA1 gene.

Unfortunately, there is no available treatment for progressive retinal atrophy. It is widely accepted by veterinarians that most dogs with this disease will eventually become completely blind. But don’t sweat too much, the onset is very slow and the quality of life for your sheltie can be well upheld.

The Lifespan

Because they are quite a small breed dog, they have a slightly longer lifespan than other collies. With an average of 12-14 years, you get your fair share of fun years with them!

Longevity is, of course, helped with a good nutritious diet and well-kept health. Annual vet checks should never go a miss!

Maintenance and Exercise for those Cute Sheltie Puppies

Shetland Sheepdog puppies are small enough for an apartment, as long as you can promise them regular exercise! A walk at least five times a week and regular mental stimulation are essential.

happy sheltie dog

Ideally, you’d want to enroll your puppy into an advanced obedience, trick training or agility courses. These intelligent dogs need the opportunity to use their mind as much as their bodies, otherwise, they can start to show behavioral problems.

If they are well exercised and have plenty of mental stimulation, they will be a happy dog!

Maintaining that double coat of theirs can prove difficult. Brushing at least once a week to remove any mats, knots or loose hair from the mane is essential. It’s important when you’re brushing you get all the way to the skin, not just the top layer!

Thankfully, your Sheltie will probably come to love its weekly brushes! So it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Shetland Sheepdog for Sale!

So, by now you might be looking into the Shetland sheepdogs for sale near you! but before you start googling anything lets quickly cover some important aspects!

Adopting a Furrever Friend

There are plenty of adoption places all across America for these beautiful puppies! In North America, the most popular places include the North Virginia sheltie rescue, the Minnesota Sheltie Rescue and Long Island Shetland Sheepdog Rescue.

All sharing the common love of shelties, these adoption rescue centers are your best bet for your future fluff ball!

Reputable Breeders

Being able to recognize reputable breeders is important! So, before you purchase any puppies be sure to ask some rounded questions.

Begin by finding out whether or not the puppies were involved in sports or training. This should give you an idea of how dedicated and genuinely interested the breeder is for each and every pup.

Secondly, It goes without saying each puppy should receive their routine health checkups and tests, be sure to find out from the breeder.

Lastly ask the owner about the breed, its strength and weaknesses and so on. This suggests whether or not the breeder knows his dog breeds and has genuine interests.

Oh and don’t forget to ask to meet one of the parents! This is the best opportunity to get an idea of the personality and appearance of the little fella! follow this link to the American Shetland Sheepdog Association to find the best breeder near you!

The Price of a Pup!

Possibly one of the only downsides to sheltie puppies is the price. Ranging between $1000 to $1200, these pooches do not come cheap! But it won’t be long before you forget what you paid when your new puppy is covering you in licks and affection!

3 Tips for Pet Owners who want Shetland Sheepdog Puppies

  1. Be ready to give them a lot of time and attention! when they are young is when they need the most stimulation to help them grow and learn.
  2. Shetland Sheepdog puppies need more socializing with people than your average dog. This is to avoid them becoming too timid or afraid of strangers!
  3. Remember, they are a herding dog, their herding instinct is strong! Just aware of this when they are off the leash as they may begin to her children.

A Mini Lassie! Don’t Want a Big Collie? Then Choose a Little Sheltie Puppy

If you’re someone looking for a bright and alert breed with a whole-hearted personality then a Shetland Sheepdog might just be for you. With their endless amounts of affection and extreme loyalty, they make the perfect family all-around family pet.

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