The Shetland Sheepdog (nicknamed the “Sheltie” and originally named the “Shetland Collie”) is a herding breed that resembles a smaller version of the Rough Collie. They commonly feature a sable and white, black, white and tan, blue merle, sable merle or black and white coat. Their high intelligence as well as their loyal and affectionate temperament make the Shetland Sheepdog a popular choice for competitive agility or as a family companion dog.
Origins Of The Shetland Sheepdog
Much of their early history is a mystery, though the Shetland Sheepdog is thought to have originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland when Border Collies and other herding dogs from the mainland such as the Rough Collie or Pomeranian were brought there and cross-bred with the smaller local dogs as early as the 1700s. Their smaller size enabled better control over the smaller livestock found in this area and they were also often chosen for protecting the homes of farming families.
Average Size Of The Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdogs are classed as a small to medium-sized dog. The recommended standard size for the Shetland Sheepdog male and female is 13-16 inches high from paw to shoulder and a weight of 14-27 pounds.
Temperament Of The Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is famous for their loyal, affectionate and obedient personality. They are generally reserved with strangers though can bark quite a lot at them, which could make them somewhat suitable as a guard dog.
The Shetland Sheepdog is also known to be extremely intelligent – placing 6th compared to other dogs based on their ability to learn obedience commands.
They are famous as being excellent with kids – meaning they are highly suitable as a family pet. The Shetland Sheepdog is quite well-suited to live with other dogs and smaller animals, though they may try to herd them without proper training.
Living Requirements Of The Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog doesn’t always need a yard unlike many other herding breeds, so they are fairly suitable for apartment living if they are exercised on a regular basis. If you do have a yard, be sure it is well-fenced to prevent them escaping and chasing things like cars due to their herding instinct.
Health & Life Expectancy Of The Shetland Sheepdog
Like many small to medium-sized dogs, the Shetland Sheepdog is commonly longer-lived with a life expectancy of 12-14 years or more. The major health problem for Shetland Sheepdogs is generally proven to be Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). They can also be vulnerable to conditions such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and hypothyroidism.
Exercise Needs Of The Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog takes pleasure in hobbies that include chasing after a frisbee or ball, taking part in agility, herding, flyball and running free in a safe open area. They have a medium to high quantity of energy and need to be given exercise each day in the shape of moderate walks to keep them happy – though often they may achieve much of their daily exercise needs by simply running around the yard.