The Shetland Sheepdog: A Complete Guide

The small, active Shetland Sheepdog was once a Scottish farmer’s best friend.

He’s a loving companion for all members of the family, including the children. But he can be reserved around strangers.

Because of his protective nature, he’s quick to bark if he senses that anything’s amiss in his territory. Training is essential to keep this trait from becoming a nuisance.

On the upside, he makes an excellent watchdog. You just need to teach him some discrimination. The Shetland Sheepdog has a reputation for being a little too smart for his own good.

This is a breed that needs a job. Without plenty of mental stimulation, he will quickly become bored and invent his own entertainment, which may or may not be to people’s liking.

He’s relatively inactive indoors and can handle apartment living if he is walked daily.

He can be a good choice for working people because he will stay home alone contentedly, provided he gets his fair share of attention when his humans are home.

He thrives in an environment where he’s given companionship, playtime, training, and quiet patting. He will return your love a tenfold!

Shetland Sheepdog Puppies – Before You Buy…

The Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is exceptionally attentive and responsive.

What Price are Shetland Sheepdog Puppies?

The price of Shetland Sheepdog puppies is approximately $800 to $1,000.

How to Find Reputable Shetland Sheepdog Breeders?

Reputable breeders only produce a litter with the goal of improving their breed and with the full intent of keeping a puppy from the litter with which to continue their efforts.

They do not breed to make money. If the breeder has produced a litter for a silly reason, beware!

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Reputable breeders nearly always belong to a local or national breed club, and they actively compete with their dogs.

They are willing and eager to spend time with you, explaining, teaching, and advising you about their breed.

They will make the disadvantages of owning their breed crystal clear, and these may be the first topic of conversation.

No breed is one size fits all. A good breeder will make sure that you really want and are ready to care for a Shetland Sheepdog.

If the breeder does not go into breed peculiarities, better ask them why. They will screen you carefully to assure your suitability for owning their dog.

If the breeder does not question you closely about your home, your family, and your expectations of the dog, this is another red flag.

Reputable breeders sell only healthy stock. Their dogs are tested for any genetic deficiencies which can be detected by the age at which the dog is sold.

They offer, or even require, that any dog they sell be returned to them if your situation changes and can no longer keep the dog.

Good breeders stay in touch with you on a regular basis to see how you’re getting on with your new dog.

They do not just sell you the dog and then disappear, leaving you to cope with problems on your own.

This is probably the greatest advantage to buying your dog from an experienced breeder. You not only get a healthy, well-adjusted companion.

You also get a lifetime of information, advice, and assistance from an expert who cares deeply about your success and happiness with your new furry family member.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Shetland Sheepdog Puppies

  1. The Shetland Sheepdog was once known as Miniature Collie because of its Collie ancestry.
    He has also gone by the names Fairy Dog, Toonie Dog, and Lilliputian Collie.
  2. To suit the small and rugged area of the Shetland Islands, everything is better smaller. This included the miniature sheepdogs that helped tenant farmers when it came to tending to their livestock.
  3. The Shetland Sheepdog had many duties on the island. He worked as a herder and protector of livestock, as well as watchdogs for the home.

Physical Traits of the Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is a highly intelligent breed.

The Shetland Sheepdog has a questioning, intelligent, and gentle expression.

Even though he appears like a miniature version of the Rough Collie, he has some differences as well.

This agile dog has a small body that’s long and proportioned to his height.

His gait is ground-covering, smooth, effortless, and, imparts good speed, agility, and endurance necessary in a herding dog.

His double coat is made up of soft, short, and dense undercoat that keeps him comfortable in hot and cold weather.

He has a straight, long, harsh outer coat that repels rain and moisture.

The mane, tail, and frill have abundant hair, with the mane growing to impressive sizes on the male Shetland Sheepdogs, especially. Colors vary.

The two main colors are sable, which is a mix of dark and light brown with white, and blue merle, with gray, white, and black.

How Big is a Full-Grown Shetland Sheepdog?

The Shetland Sheepdog stands 13 to 16 inches in height and weighs 16 to 24 lbs.

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What is the Life Expectancy of the Shetland Sheepdog?

The life expectancy of the Shetland Sheepdog is approximately 12 to 14 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdogs are easy to train.

The Shetland Sheepdog is loyal, willing, and eager to please, making him a wonderful companion dog.

He is docile and alert, with a pleasant temperament. Loving, loyal, and affectionate with his family, he needs people.

He’s also 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 or if you’re being too harsh.

He needs an owner who’s calm but firm. The Shetland Sheepdog must be raised in a home where the humans are confident, consistent, pack leaders.

He is very smart, energetic, and trainable. With his intelligence comes the need to occupy his mind. He likes to be kept busy.

Because of his beauty and kindness, the Shetland Sheepdog has become a popular companion dog.

He can become suspicious with strangers, especially with children. He may not allow himself to be touched by strangers and will display noisy and persistent barking.

The Shetland Sheepdog’s Diet

Fresh foods like meat and vegetables are perfect for the Shetland Sheepdog.

If you do choose to go with a premium dog food, make sure it has proper amounts of protein, fat, and other nutrients.

Steer clear of those with high grain content. Shetland Sheepdogs have allergies to grain and have sensitive stomachs that will tolerate only certain types of food.

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How Much Exercise Does a Shetland Sheepdog Need?

Shetland Sheepdogs are an extremely active breed and require a fair amount of exercise to be happy and healthy.

They will get the most joy out of exercise when they do it with their owners.

Without the appropriate amount of exercise, your Shetland Sheepdog may become extremely rambunctious or destructive in the house.

Just a little time spent attending to their need for physical activity is all it takes to ensure that he is in his best physical condition.

Having a fenced yard is great for Shetland Sheepdogs because it gives them the opportunity to run off leash.

They are also great walking or running companions. They leash train very effortlessly and love spending time with their humans.

Daily walks or runs with them is another great way to keep both of you in top physical condition.

Shetland Sheepdog Health and Conditions

Many Shetland Sheepdogs are vision-impaired or blind from hereditary eye diseases.

Epilepsy and heart disease are also serious concerns, as well as a severe blood-clotting disease. Both hip dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes occur in Shelties.

Elbow dysplasia and loose knee joints occur as well. All these orthopedic disorders cause lameness and pain.

Chronic allergies cause itchy skin and too much scratching, which can then lead to bacterial infections.

Other skin conditions in Shelties stem from autoimmune diseases, where the immune system is defective and attacks its own skin.

Bladder cancer occurs more often in Shetland Sheepdogs than in most other breeds.

My Final Thoughts on the Shetland Sheepdog

Proud and animated, the Shetland Sheepdog is a swift, light-footed runner and an agile, graceful jumper.

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Though on the small side, this breed has the heritage of an active herding dog and needs more exercise than many other smallish dogs.

These intelligent dogs cannot just lounge around doing nothing. To be happy, well-behaved, and satisfied, they need mental stimulation.

Exceptionally attentive and responsive, Shetland Sheepdogs are easy to train if you have a calm voice and a light hand on the leash.

Sensitivity is one of the hallmarks of this breed. Often, they need only verbal corrections.

They wilt or become defensive if you jerk them around. Praise, gentle guidance, and food rewards are the way to go with Shetland Sheepdogs.

Most Shetland Sheepdogs have a soft, sweet temperament. They’re peaceful with other animals and polite with everyone, though they are typically reserved and sometimes timid with strangers.

To build a confident temperament, the Shetland Sheepdog needs more extensive socialization than many other breeds.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

5.5
Cost to Buy
10
Cuteness Level
9.5
Family Safety
9.5
Friendliness
5.5
Health Concerns
7
Life Span
2
Exercise Required
4.5
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 6.7 / 10

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