The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a type of Miniature Collie, and although it shares genes withe the Collie, it is not considered to be the same breed. It is one of the most intelligent breeds, and they are capable of learning how to learn commands in less than five repetitions. It is a guardian and affectionate companion dog; the Sheltie is ideal for an active and jovial family.
The Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie, comes from the Shetland Islands, in Scotland, the United Kingdom.
Unlike the Collie, which shepherd sheep in mountainous areas, the Sheltie used to shepherd sheep far away from the small farms of Shetland, called ‘toons’, to prevent the few plantations from being eaten by sheep. That is why the Shetland was first introduced as a ‘Toonie’ dog.
Some sources indicate that this breed was a descendant of the crossing between a small-sized Collie and the King Charles Spaniel, although the Collie type which took part in the Sheltie’s formation was the Border Collie.
Shelties have a double coat, which makes them have more hair loose tan other dogs. The outer coat is long, straight and rough; while the under coat is short, soft, and thick. The mane and the chest are all covered by fur.
The color can be sable, tricolor, blue merle, black and white, and black and tan.
Its beautiful head and its sweet expression are two combined characteristics which form an ideal specimen.
The Shetland Shepherd has a fine head which narrows from the ears to the nose. The ears are small and flexible, placed very close to each other on the top of the head. It has almond eyes and a large and round snout. Its hairy tail goes up to the hock and it is slightly curved.
The ideal height to the withers is 37.5cm for males and 35.5 for females.
Shelties are intelligent, thoughtful, stable and easily trained. It feels really close to its owners, who it delightfully obeys but not as a servant. It is a dog with a lot of attitude, very affectionate with children; they play together and it looks after them. It is an excellent companion dog; very loyal.
The average Sheltie is an excellent watchdog, it barks when there is someone behind the door or when a car passes by. They can easily adapt living both in an apartment or in a farm.
These dogs’ coat must be brushed once or twice a week. Despite the fact that they have a long coat, Shetland Shepherds tend to be clean and its coat does not get tangled easily.
Despite these are small dogs, Shelties are shepherding dogs which need a lot of daily exercise, both mental and physical. A long daily walk and a game session could be enough, but it would be ideal to practice herding and canine Freestyle. Agility games could also be a good option as long as there are no articulation problems, such as hip dysplasia.
Thanks to its small size, these dogs are able to live in apartments as long as they have their daily exercise dose. However, they tend to bark a lot. It is also important to keep in mind that even if these dogs tolerate low temperatures it is not a good idea to keep them isolated in the garden, because it is necessary for them to be surrounded by their family.
Like the Collie, there is a tendency toward inherited malformation and disease of the eyes. Cada cachorro deberá tener sus ojos examinados por un veterinario oftalmológico calificado. Each individual puppy should have his/her eyes examined by a qualified veterinary ophthalmologist. Some lines may be susceptible to hypothyroidism, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, or skin allergies. They have a life expectancy of 10-15 years.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/088g01-en.pdf