Canine Breed Menu

Sheltie

Sheltie


Additional
Sheltie
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Breed Organization
American Shetland Sheepdog Association
Website: http://www.assa.org
Native Country
United Kingdom
Other Names
Shetland Sheepdog, Shetland Collie, Apartment Collie, Dwarf Scotch Shepherd, Mini Lassie, Miniature Collie, Toonie Dog
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-14 Years
Litter Size
Average 4-6 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Herding
Breed Appearance
The general appearance of the Sheltie is that of a miniature Rough Collie. They are a small, double coated, working dog, agile and sturdy. Blue merle Shelties may have blue eyes or one brown and one blue eye, but all others have dark colored eyes. Their expression should be that of alertness with a gentle and sometimes reserved nature. They carry their tail down low, only lifted when alert and never carried over the back. They are an intensely loyal breed, sometimes reserved with strangers but should not be shy or showing timidness as per the AKC breed standard.

Breed Description
Head: Long and wedge-shaped. Flat, straight skull. Slight stop.
Ears: Small, carried three-fourths erect breaking forward at the tip.
Eyes: Set obliquely in skull, almond-shaped. Dark brown color, though blue or merle eyes are permitted for some merle varieties.
Body: Length slightly greater than height. Muscular and well-balanced. Deep chest with well-sprung ribs. Straight back.
Tail: Carried low. Abundantly feathered. Raised when dog is alert, but never carried above the level of the back.
Hair: Long, straight, harsh. Abundant, short, soft undercoat. Very full mane and frill giving the dog a majestic air. Hind legs are heavily feathered.
Coat: Shades of sable – from golden through mahogany; tricolor - jet black with tan and white markings; blue merle - silvery blue, mottling, merled with black; black and white; black and tan.
Size: Dog: 36 to 40 cm.Bitch: 34 to 38 cm.
Weight: 5 to 10 kg.


History
Unlike many miniature breeds that resemble their larger counterparts, this breed was not developed simply by selectively breeding the Rough Collie for smaller and smaller size. The original sheepdog of Shetland was a Spitz-type dog, probably similar to the modern Icelandic sheepdog. This dog was crossed with mainland working collies brought to the islands, and then after being brought to England, it was further extensively crossed with the Rough Collie, and other breeds including some or all of the extinct Greenland Yakki, the King Charles Spaniel (not the Cavalier), the Pomeranian, and possibly the Border Collie. The original Spitz-type working sheepdog of Shetland is now extinct, having been replaced for herding there by the Border Collie. The Shetland Sheepdog in its modern form has never been used as a working dog on Shetland, and ironically it is uncommon there.

When the breed was originally introduced breeders called them Shetland Collies, which upset Rough Collie breeders, so the name was changed to Shetland Sheepdog. During the early 20th century (up until the 1940s), additional crosses were made to Rough Collies to help retain the desired Rough Collie type – in fact, the first AKC Sheltie champion's dam was a purebred rough Collie.

The year 1909, marked the initial recognition of the Sheltie by the English Kennel Club, with the first registered Sheltie being a female called Badenock Rose. The first Sheltie to be registered by the American Kennel Club was "Lord Scott" in 1911.


Behavior
The Shetland Sheepdog is loyal, willing and eager to please, making a wonderful companion dog. Docile and alert with a pleasant temperament. Loving, loyal and affectionate with its family, this breed needs people. Socialize it well starting at puppyhood. It is a good guard and watchdog. Sensitive to the tone of your voice, these dogs will not listen if they sense you do not mean what you say, and will also not listen if you are too harsh. They need their owners to be calm, but firm.

Very intelligent, lively and trainable, the Shetland Sheepdog is one of the smartest breeds. With intelligence comes the need to occupy their minds. They like to be kept busy. The Sheltie is above all an intelligent herder, capable both of commanding large cattle and holding small sheep in check. The herding instinct is still very strong in many of them.

They can become suspicious with strangers, especially with children. They may not allow themselves to be touched by strangers and will display noisy persistent barking, as they tell the humans to leave them alone. This can lead to guarding, snapping and even biting.


Health
Like the Rough Collie, there is a tendency toward inherited malformation and disease of the eyes. Some lines may be prone to hypothyroidism and displacement of the patella (kneecap), which is thought to be inherited. Do not overfeed; they gain weight easily. Some herding dogs carry a MDR1 gene which makes them sensitive to certain drugs that are otherwise okay to give another dog, but if tested positive for this gene, it can kill them.

Advice
Brushing two times per week is required, more often during periods of seasonal shedding. Do not bathe this breed more than Brushing once per month. Daily walks are necessary.

Function
Herding, Pet.


Dogs
Horse Herd