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Breed: Sheltie Health Problems, Lifespan, Temperament & Maintenance

| Published on August 28, 2017

Suggested tests: Eye, hip, DNA for vWD
Major concerns: Dermatomyositis
Avg Size of Female: Height: 13-16 inches, Weight: 20 pounds
Life span: 12 – 14 years
Minor concerns: CEA, PRA, trichiasis, cataract, CHD, hemophilia, Legg-Perthes, patellar luxation
Avg Size of Male: Height: 13-16 inches, Weight: 20 pounds
Occasionally seen: PDA, deafness, epilepsy, vWD
Note: May be sensitive to ivermectin. Merles should not be bred to merles because homozygous merle is lethal or detrimental to health.

Brief History on Shetland Sheepdog Origin

The Sheltie was originally bred with some Icelandic dogs and possibly even a black and tan King Charles terrier to create the iconic look we all known today. Because of the lack of vegetation, the livestock was generally in smaller groups on the Islands. The Sheltie was not only used for livestock, but for chicken and ponies as well. They performed wonderfully under these conditions. The dogs were brought over to England by the British navy, which stopped at the Islands frequently for maneuvers. When first shown around 1906 they were labeled Shetland Collies, however Collie enthusiasts balked at what they thought was a ridiculous comparison. The name was later changed to Shetland Sheepdog, however the breed is more frequently referred to as the “Sheltie.” The first Shetland Sheepdog was registered by the AKC in 1911. The breed is very reputable among families seeking a smaller pet that is sophisticated and loyal.

Shetland Sheepdog Breed Appearance

The Sheltie pretty much the Rough Collie in form and overall, general appearance. It is lightly built, making it quick and agile. The gait is best described as effortless and free, and it always maintains a gentle and understanding expression. It has a weather resistant double coat, featuring a longer mane of hair on its neck and chest area. The Shelties undercoat is short and close, while its outer coat is rough, long and straight. It is colored in sable, tricolor, blue merle, black and white and black and tan.

Shetland Sheepdog Breed Temperament

The Sheltie is truly a perfect family pet. It is bright, gentle, loyal and friendly. It is known to be very obedient as well as playful, making it great for a family with children. However this breed may nip at heels during play due to their natural herding talents. It normally gets along pretty well with other dogs, as well as cats and other non-canine pets. It is aloof with strangers and may bark a lot if they feel the person is suspicious or posing a threat, which makes it a wonderful watchdog. It should not, however, be used as a guard dog. First and foremost, its looks are not very intimidating. We know this is not the only quality of a good guard. It should be noted that though this dog will warn of intruders, it will either ultimately flee in fear or end up warming up to the intruder. Please note the difference between a guard dog, and a watch dog.

Shetland Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

Regular grooming is required to keep the Sheltie’s long coat looking nice and tangle free. The coat can be misted with water prior to brushing to help with mats and tangles. Tangles are commonly found behind the ears, on the hindquarters and beneath the shoulders. Bathe or dry shampoo only as needed to avoid stripping the skin of natural oils. This breed sheds twice a year which is normal for most long haired breeds, and will require additional brushing during this period. It is a fairly active dog both indoors and out and requires a moderate amount of exercise to remain mentally and physically healthy. The Sheltie is capable of living outdoors in temperate climates, however it won’t be happy away from its family so free access to the inside of the home is highly recommended. It is quite adaptable to smaller living conditions, such as an apartment dwelling, so long as it receives adequate activity and exercise. This breed is relatively easy to train and is incredibly intelligent. It enjoys a challenge, and would truly enjoy partaking in an obedience or agility classes.


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