Belonging to the herding group. Shetland Sheepdogs are incredibly active, intelligent, and playful pets that make excellent working dogs on farms as well as family pets. This breed is sensitive and affectionate with family, does exceedingly well with young children, and gets along really well with other dogs. Lovingly called Shelties, these dogs are quick learners and obedient by nature.
However, you should know that Shelties are barkers by nature and don’t take to strangers easily. This does make Shetland Sheepdogs excellent watchdogs, though.
The Shetland Sheepdog has a long, straight coat with a thick undercoat. This dog’s long muzzle, elegant wedge-shaped head, and small erect ears give it an attractive appearance. Shetland Sheepdogs resemble their cousins the Collies in appearance but are smaller in size, averaging around 13-16 inches in height and 15-25 pounds in weight. The average life expectancy of a Shetland Sheepdog is 12-14 years. Standard colors in Shetland Sheepdogs are black, white, tan, blue merle, sable, and combinations of these colors.
Shetland Sheepdog are profuse shedders and require regular grooming. Owners need to perform weekly brushings to keep the dense coat matt-free. Also, you need to carefully check behind the dog’s ears and on the back legs for matting. However, Shetland Sheepdogs don’t need bathing very often.
This is an energetic, athletic breed that needs a moderate amount of physical activity every day. Shetland Sheepdogs can adapt to city living, but the owner needs to invest time and effort to give this dog enough exercise. Shelties do exceptionally well in agility, obedience, herding, and tracking canine events and make excellent therapy dogs.
As mentioned, Shelties tend to bark a fair bit, which is common with herding breeds. Early training can help to teach your Shetland Sheepdog to keep barking to a minimum. Also, given their herding heritage, they have a tendency to chase after cars, so you’ll need to walk your Sheltie on a leash and make sure your yard is fenced.
A Shetland Sheepdog does not have any special nutritional needs. Always feed your dog high quality dog food and limit table scraps and treats to prevent obesity. Make sure your Shetland Sheepdog has access to fresh, clean drinking water throughout the day.