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Other Names: Sheltie
Dog Group Kennel Club: Herding (AKC) Pastoral (KC)
The Sheltie is a small dog and is a separate breed in its own right, from the similar looking larger rough collie.
Their double coat is long straight, dense and coarse with smooth hair on the face, feet, and tips of the ears. They have abundant fur around the neck, tail, and rear legs. Colours are sable from pale wheaten to a rich mahogany, black, and blue merle, with white or tan markings.
Weight: 14 – 16 lbs
Average Life Span: 12 – 14 yrs
The Sheltie is a small, strong, nimble and lightly built dog breed, making it a fast runner and an able jumper. Shelties lives to please and crave human attention. They are intensely loyal, affectionate, intelligent, a very quick learner, highly trainable and very obedient. Shelties are good with children and other pets, making them delightful family companions. They are suspicious of strangers and so are good watchdogs.
The Sheltie can be quite vocal. Proper training at a young age is highly recommended to prevent the barking from becoming a behaviour problem.
The Shetland Sheepdog is a double coated breed that requires a thorough brushing at least once a week – during the shedding period thorough brushing is required daily. Be sure to start your Sheltie’s grooming routine early in life so that it is a part of his schedule. The earlier you start him on this, the easier it will be for both you and the dog.
Exercise needs are moderate a good daily walk is sufficient to satisfy this affectionate breed.
Shetland Sheepdog Health Issues
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
The disorder occurs commonly in collie breeds, including the border collie, rough collie, smooth collie, and Shetland sheepdog. This eye disorder results in the dog having “blind spots”. This condition is not a life threatening disorder and the animals are capable of having normal, full lives. It is only through screening and selective breeding that this problem will be eliminated. The best way to avoid this problem is to purchase a pup from parents that have been registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF), and have never produced affected pups.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary disease of the eye that has been identified in this breed. PRA is a blanket term for many types of retinal diseases, all of which result in blindness. All shetland sheepdogs, regardless of age or breeding status, should be examined yearly by a member of the Veterinary Opthalmologists.
Hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint resulting in a poor fit between the head of the femur bone and the hip socket. This condition can be alleviated by surgery, at some cost to dog and owner. Because dysplastic dogs often produce dysplastic puppies, buyers should ask if both the sire and the dam of the puppy in which they are interested have been rated clear of hip dysplasia. Do not take yes for an answer without seeing a certificate, and ask for a copy to take to your veterinarian.
Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) – is an autosomally (not sex-linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time (somewhat similar to hemophilia in humans) and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. A DNA test for vWD is now available. Carrier-to-carrier breedings, in theory, will produce puppies that are 25% clear, 50% carriers, and 25% affected. Ideally, only clear-to-clear or clear-to-carrier should occur, so that no puppies will be affected. Not all dogs that are vWD affected will have severe bleeding problems, but they ARE at risk whenever they need to have surgery or have an accident. Some unlucky affected dogs will actually bleed out from a needle stick or minor wound.
Hypothyroidism, an endocrine disease that results in the abnormally low production of thyroid hormones. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include lethargy, mental depression, weight gain and a tendency to seek out warm places. Hypothyroidism can also affect the coat and skin, causing hair loss and excessive dandruff.
Epilepsy: is a seizure disorder which has been found in this breed. Seizures vary between a far-away look or twitching in one part of the face to your pet falling on his side, barking, gnashing his teeth, urinating, defecating and paddling his limbs. Seizures usually appear suddenly and end spontaneously, and can last from seconds to minutes. The disorder has no known cause, however it is important for your veterinarian to determine your pets general health and make sure there is no underlying disease that may be causing the seizures. Treatment can include anticonvulsant medications. Always ask your vet for advice.
Shetland Sheepdog History
The Shetland Sheepdog originated in the Shetland Islands off the Northeast coast of Scotland. The job of this breed was to herd small flocks of sheep. Living conditions on this little island were very harsh and the shepherd needed a dog that was intelligent, courageous, hardy, loyal, obedient and gentle with an all-weather coat since he had to work in rain and snow and varying extremes of temperature.
Shelties are thought to descend from an Icelandic breed called the Yakkie, (which was brought to the Shetland Islands by whaling fleets), the Norwegian Buhund and the small collie. Some theories also include the king charles spaniel breed The original this breed was known as the Shetland Collie and was not supposed to exceed 12 inches nor 14 pounds according to the Shetland Stud book set up in 1908. As the Shelties were bred in Scotland and England, the collie breeders objected to the name and it was changed to the Shetland Sheepdog and so remains today.