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.
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.