Shetland Sheepdogs might look like miniature collies, but they're their own unique breed. “Shelties,” as their fans call them, are among the smartest dogs in the world.
This is a playful and very energetic breed, who will definitely appreciate being given a job to do. With her energy level, your Shetland Sheepdog will also happily join you for a morning run. Though born to herd and very comfortable on a farm, these dogs will thrive in any environment that provides enough mental and physical exercise. These dogs hail from the Shetland Islands, off the coast of northern Scotland.
This medium-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 15-25 pounds and lives an average of 12-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.
|Breed's original pastime||Herding|
|Average lifespan||12-14 years|
|Date of origin||1800s|
|Original function||Sheep herding|
|Today's function||Sheep herding, herding trials|
|Average size of male||Height: 13-16 Weight: 20|
|Average size of female||Height: 13-16 Weight: 20|
|Energy level||Medium energy|
|Affection level||Moderately affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Shy|
|Ease of training||Hard to train|
|Protection ability||Very protective|
|Grooming needs||High maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||Medium tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A SHETLAND SHEEPDOG'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Shetland Sheepdogs adore children, and may make gentle, playful companions for your little ones under proper supervision. They also get along well with other pets, including dogs. But Shelties are herders — you'll want to discourage them from nipping to try to get kids or furry friends in line. These dogs can be a bit shy with strangers, so early and frequent socialization is important.
WHAT IS SHETLAND SHEEPDOG BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is an energetic and very active breed. Shelties will want short runs, long walks, or extended playtime every day. Their quick minds need as much activity as their busy bodies, so indulge this dog's love of learning. Your Shetland Sheepdog will enjoy impressing you with games, tricks, and sporting accomplishments — especially agility and herding.
Shelties have a lot on their minds, and they're not afraid to let you know it. These dogs are very vocal. Be sure to discourage nuisance barking early and often. Their alert nature does make them unparalleled watchdogs; however, think of them like fluffy, snuggly alarm systems.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A SHETLAND SHEEPDOG?
Shetland Sheepdogs are an extremely biddable breed. These dogs are seriously teacher's pets — they love to learn new things, and they pick up training quickly. Be gentle with these sensitive souls. Shelties respond best to positive reinforcement, like praise, treats, and games as rewards.
Shetland Sheepdogs are fierce competitors in agility and obedience events.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO SHETLAND SHEEPDOGS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Those fluffy double coats make Shetland Sheepdogs a somewhat high maintenance breed. They're heavy seasonal shedders. Plan to brush and comb your Sheltie three or four times a week to stay ahead of mats and tangles. Brush this breed's dense hair while wet to prevent breakage.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO SHETLAND SHEEPDOGS HAVE?
As a breed, Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy. Some are prone to orthopedic issues, like slipping kneecaps or hip dysplasia. Eye ailments, inflammatory diseases, and blood-flow disorders may also be of concern.