The sheltie is actually a Shetland Sheepdog. It looks like a smaller version of a collie (the rough-coated one). Its muzzle about comes to a point but is rounded at the nose. The nose is always black. This dog has a muscular neck and a sturdy body under its coat. The breed is a small breed though only measuring 13 to 16 inches at the withers. It has a double dense coat that comes in a variety of colors like sable/white, blue merle, tri-color and more.
This sheltie breed originated from the border collies of Scotland. They were taken to the Shetland Islands and were bred with an Icelandic Yakkin, which is a small breed that lived on the islands at that time. By the 1700s, the breed of the Shetland Sheepdog was fully developed. These dogs were great for guarding and herding the flocks of sheep on the islands. To keep the characteristics of the rough collie, this breed was mixed with them over the years. The AKC recognized the breed in 1911 and it is part of the herding group.
The Shetland Sheepdogs are eager and willing to please by nature. They are loyal, alert with a docile personality. This breed love attention and affection from the people who own it. When training this breed, the owner needs to have a firm tone, but stay away from speaking harshly for the best results. As with all dogs, the sheltie needs to be socialized as a young puppy.
Any owner of this breed needs to be the leader of the pack; if not, behavior problems can happen. The Shetland Sheepdog loves to herd still, and should not be let loose without a fence or leash; it will chase small animals and even cars. It could get hurt if not restrained in some way. Freely running in a fenced backyard is fine just not out in the open. These dogs are fantastic with kids.
This breed in some line can be prone to epilepsy, hypothyroidism, skin allergies and epilepsy. These dogs can also have eye malformations or diseases. Many health problems can be avoided by getting a dog that has been bred properly.
Routine checkups at the veterinarian are important for the breed’s overall health. This breed gain weight easily so do not overfeed. The normal life span for the Shetland Sheepdogs is about 10 to 15 years when the dogs are properly cared for.
The topcoat is straight, long and water repellent. It gives the dog protection from the weather. The undercoat is furry, short and quite dense; this keeps the Shetland Sheepdog warm. This breed does shed in the fall and spring. Brushing the coat daily helps to remove loose and dead hair, using an undercoat rake is also recommended. The owner should only bath the dog when necessary to avoid removing the natural oils from the coat.
This Sheltie is a great family dog or companion dog. It is well worth checking out the breeders to get one.