Caring for a Shetland Sheepdog
Feeding: Care should be taken to not overfeed the Sheltie.
Living with a Shetland Sheepdog
Family Dog: The Sheltie is a loving and affectionate family dog.
Shedding: The Sheltie is a heavy seasonal shedder with the dense undercoat being shed twice a year during the spring and fall.
Grooming: The coat of the Shetland Sheepdog is actually easier to care for than it looks. They do regular brushing. If matting occurs, mist the coat lightly with water and tease the mats out. The comb should be used sparingly. The Sheltie should be bathed or cleaned with a dry shampoo only when necessary.
Training: The Shetland Sheepdog is one of the most intelligent breeds. They are very eager to please which makes them very trainable. They should be well-socialized as a puppy.
Behavior: Care should be taken to not allow the Sheltie to believe he controls your home. If this is allowed many behavior problems may arise. They need a strong, consistent pack leader.
Exercise: The Sheltie is a very active dog that requires lots of exercise including a long daily walk or jog. They also enjoy running free in a safe fenced in area. The Sheltie has herding instincts and therefore need to be kept busy. They love to chase things and should be taught at a young age not to chase cars.
Living Conditions: The Shetland Sheepdog can live in an apartment if they are given sufficient exercise. They are fairly active inside.
Shetland Sheepdog Appearance
Appearance: The Shetland Sheepdog bears a striking resemblance to the Rough Coated Collie but there are some marked differences. They are small, alert, agile, sturdy, working dogs with a symmetrical outline.
Size: The Shetland Sheepdog is between 13 and 16 inches tall at the withers with an average weight between 14 to 27 pounds.
Companionship: The Sheltie is one of today's most popular companion breeds. They need lots of human interaction and should be raised in a home providing them with a consistent and confident pack leader.
Head: The head of the Shetland Sheepdog should for a long, blunt wedge shape gently tapering from the ears to the nose. The expression should be gentle, intelligent and alert. The top of the head should be flat with flat, smooth cheeks blending into the muzzle. The length of the Skull and muzzle should be approximately equal in length with the top of each lying in parallel planes.
Nose: The nose of the Shetland Sheepdog must be black in color.
Eyes: The Shetland Sheepdog has medium-sized, dark, almond-shaped eyes that are set obliquely in skull. The eyes should be dark in color except in blue merle coated dogs where the eyes may be either blue or merle.
Muzzle: The top of the well-rounded muzzle should be flat. The chin should be well-rounded and extend to base of the nostril with tight fitting lips that meet smoothly together all the way around.
Teeth/Bite: The Shetland Sheepdog has clean, powerful, well-developed jaws with evenly spaced teeth that meet in a scissors bite.
Neck: The Shetland Sheepdog's neck should be muscular and of sufficient length and arch to carry the head proudly.
Body: The body of the Shetland Sheepdog is moderately long. The back itself is relatively short with much of the body's overall length coming from the proper angulation and breadth of the hindquarter and shoulders. The back should be strong and level with a deep chest, well-sprung ribs and brisket extending to the point of elbows with moderate tuck up.
Forequarters: The shoulder blades of the Shetie should slope forward and downward at a 45-degree angle toward the shoulder joints. They should only be separated by the vertebra allowing them to slope outward to achieve sufficient spring of ribs. The shoulder blade should meet the upper arm in nearly a right angle. The elbows should split the dog's overall height equally. The clean, muscular front legs are straight when viewed from any angle. The pasterns are strong and flexible.
Hindquarters: The thighs of the Sheltie are wide and muscular with the bone adjoining the pelvis at a right angle. The stifle joins the thighbone with a distinct angle at the joint. The stifle should be at least equal in length to that of the thighbone. The hock joint should be clean-cut and angular with good strong bone and ligamentation. The hock should be straight and short when viewed from any angle.
Gait: The gait of the Shetland Sheepdog should appear smooth and effortless free from any signs of stiffness or jerkiness. The hindquarters provide the drive. The feet should be lifted just high enough to clear the ground as the leg moves forward. When at a walk both the front and rear legs should appear perpendicular to the ground. During forward movement they should slant just slightly inward at a slow trot. At a run the feet converge under the body toward center the center line.
Feet: The feet of the Shetland Sheepdog should be oval in shape with compact, well-arched, tight fitting toes, deep, tough pads and hard, strong nails. The front dewclaws may be removed while the rear ones should be removed.
Tail: The Shetland Sheepdog's tail should be long enough to allow it to reach the hock joint when it is laid along the back edge of the legs. When the dog is at rest the tail should be carried down or with a slight upward curve. When the dog is alert the tail is carried up but should never curve forward over the back.
Color: The coat of the Shetland Sheepdog can be black, blue merle or sable with varying amounts of white or tan markings. The shade of sable can range from a golden color to a darker mahogany shade.
Coat: The Sheltie has a double coat with a long, straight, harsh outercoat and short, dense, furry undercoat giving the coat it's "standoff" quality. The coat on the face, feet and tips of the ears should be smooth. There should be an abundant mane and frill that is particularly impressive in male dogs. The coat on the front legs should be well feathered while the hind legs are covered in heavy feathering down to the hock joint and smooth below. The tail has a thick profuse coat. The Sheltie's coat readily sheds dirt and mud.
Shetland Sheepdog Facts
Category: Herding, AKC Herding
Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of the Sheltie is between 12 to 15 years.
Characteristics: The Shetland Sheepdog is an extremely intelligent working dog who is among one of the top obedience breeds. They also excel at herding, tracking, guarding and agility. They make good guard and watchdogs.
Shetland Sheepdog Health
Health: Like the Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog has a tendency to inherit malformation and disease of the eyes. Some may be prone to hypothyroidism and luxating the patella.
Shetland Sheepdog History
History: The Shetland Sheepdog's ancestors can be traced back to the Border Collie of Scotland which was eventually brought to the Shetland Islands and crossed with other small, longhaired breeds including the Icelandic Yakkin to create a miniature looking Collie. Throughout its development the Shetland Sheep Dog was crossed with Collies until 1700 when the breed was completely developed. They were used throughout the years to herd and guard sheep. This breed was later refined during the twentieth century after they were brought to mainland Scotland. The Shetland Sheepdog was first recognized in England in 1909. The first Sheltie was registered in the United Stated in 1911.