Often mistaken for the Border Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog is a majestic creature that was bred to herd sheep in Scotland.
Despite their rugged job, these dogs are actually quite small, often weighing less than 30 pounds and standing less than 16 inches tall. However, they make up for their diminutive stature by being incredibly smart and energetic.
While they obviously make fantastic working dogs, “Shelties” are also wonderful pets. However, owning one can be an expensive proposition because like any dog breed, they can be prone to having all sorts of expensive needs.
Just how pricey are these dogs? Let’s find out.
Bringing Home a New Shetland Sheepdog: One-Time Costs
The initial costs associated with acquiring a Sheltie will vary wildly depending on whether you buy, adopt, or manage to find one for free. While this can potentially be a difference of hundreds of dollars, it’s only a drop in the bucket compared to what you’ll likely spend on these dogs (or any dog) over time.
That means while saving money up front might be important, it shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all when it comes to deciding whether to get a Sheltie. You’ll have to shell out quite a bit of money over time, anyway, so if the price of getting one puts you off, you might want to rethink dog ownership.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be gifted a purebred Sheltie, but it’s not unheard of, especially in farming communities where their use is commonplace.
Keep in mind, though, that while a free dog might save you a bit of money, you’ll still pay a small fortune over time for their care and maintenance.
As with getting a free dog, finding a purebred Sheltie from rescues and animal shelters is a bit of a long shot. Your odds are better with a rescue group, especially in a place where Sheltie ownership is common.
Adoption fees will vary depending on where you get the dog from (shelters are cheaper) and how old the animal is. Puppies are the most expensive, whereas senior dogs can be quite cheap, even free in some cases.
Also, keep in mind that adoption fees might go up if expensive medical care has been given to the dog. Even then, paying the fees will usually be cheaper than paying for the surgeries out of pocket.
Going through a breeder is both the easiest and most expensive way to get your hands on a purebred Sheltie. The costs will depend on the breeder’s reputation and whether you’re willing to pay top-dollar for premium bloodlines, but typically, a Shetland Sheepdog costs between $500 and $1,500. Typically, this isn’t necessary unless you’re planning to show or breed the dog.
Shelties aren’t the most expensive dog to buy, but beware of a too-cheap puppy. That can be the sign that you’re dealing with a puppy mill or backyard breeder. Not only are these operations unethical, but dogs from these facilities also tend to have more health problems, drastically increasing your overall costs.
Initial Setup and Supplies
It’s hard to put an exact figure on how much you’ll need to spend out of the gate on your Shetland Sheepdog. Those costs will depend on whether your dog needs any expensive medical care and how much you’re willing to splurge on supplies.
If you adopt your dog from a shelter or rescue group (or certain breeders), some of the pricey medical procedures may have already been performed, possibly at a steep discount. If you’re paying out of pocket, though, a healthy dog will be much cheaper than one with medical issues.
List of Shetland Sheepdog Care Supplies and Costs
|ID Tag and Collar||$10-$30|
|Nail Clipper (optional)||$7-$15|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10-$30|
How Much Does a Shetland Sheepdog Cost Per Month?
- $50-$200+ per month
There’s no set monthly cost that’s associated with owning a Sheltie. The total amount will depend on several things, the biggest of which being the quality of food that you serve them and whether they require regular medical care.
Shelties can be quite reasonable to own or they can be money pits. In that sense, they’re just like any other dog breed, but they’re probably a bit less likely than most to suffer from expensive medical conditions.
- $0-$500+ per month
Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy animals, especially if you take proper care of them. Like any other dog, though, they could suffer from chronic (read: expensive) health conditions.
If they’re healthy, you may not need to spend a dime on their health care, outside the occasional checkup. A dog with chronic issues, however, could require frequent vet visits and daily medication, both of which will add up quickly.
The most common health issues that afflict this breed are eye problems and bladder cancer, as well as skin allergies. The skin allergies aren’t likely to be expensive, but the other two could end up costing you a small fortune once everything is said and done.
- $20-$100+ per month
Feeding your Sheltie a high-quality diet is a great way to keep them happy and healthy, and it can pay big dividends in terms of medical savings down the road.
Look for a food loaded with protein, as that will help their muscles grow and give them energy without fattening them up. Avoid kibbles that are loaded with cheap fillers like animal by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and the like.
Don’t overfeed your Sheltie either. That can cause obesity, which is absolutely terrible for the breed. Luckily, these energetic dogs have high metabolisms, but that’s no reason to overfeed them.
Some owners may elect to feed their dogs a raw diet, which will drive their food costs up considerably. There’s some merit to these diets, but they can also be nutritionally deficient, so talk to your vet before making the switch.
- $0-$25+ per month
You can take one look at these fluffy dogs and just know that they require extensive grooming. They have a double coat, which is quite long and prone to shedding.
As a result, they’ll require daily brushing and a full grooming session every other month or so. You can do this yourself if you want to save money, but expect to pay upward of $50 to have a professional groomer do it.
Like all dogs, they also need their nails trimmed and teeth brushed, both of which you should be able to handle on your own.
Medications and Vet Visits
- $0-$100+ per month
As with other health care costs, this will depend on the overall health of your dog. You may not need to spend anything on monthly medications.
Even if your pup is healthy, though, you’ll likely want to give them a monthly flea and tick medication, which can be fairly pricey. You may also want to give them supplements like fish oil (which is good for their eyes) or glucosamine for their joints.
- $20-$80+ per month
Pet insurance isn’t a required expense by any means, but if you have a dog that has a host of health problems, it could save you a bundle. Of course, you could also drop a small fortune on pet insurance premiums and never get your money’s worth — and there’s no way to tell which it will be ahead of time.
Ultimately, it comes down to your financial situation and your ability to handle risk. Many people are better-suited to pay a small amount every month than a massive fee every few years; if that’s you, then insurance is likely a wise investment.
Fortunately, Sheltie premiums are usually comparatively low because they’re a healthy breed.
- $0-$5+ per month
Shelties need little in the way of environment maintenance. Your only costs here may be waste disposal bags if you have to walk them to give them a bathroom break, and those are cheap. If you have a yard, you can skip the monthly bag fees and just buy a pooper scooper instead.
Of course, if your Sheltie is allowed to run around a farm all day, you might not bother with picking their poop up at all.
|Waste Disposal Bags||$5/month|
|Pooper Scooper||$20+ (one-time cost)|
- $0-$50+ per month
Shelties are both extremely energetic and incredibly smart, so they need something to engage them. If they don’t have sheep to herd, you’re likely going to have to drop a bit of cash on toys.
The total amount that you spend will depend on the quality and quantity of toys that you buy. You might be able to save money without depriving your pooch by subscribing to a toy box service. These are companies that will mail you a new box of toys every month for a flat fee; some are better than others, so shop around before deciding.
Toys alone won’t cut it in terms of exercise and entertainment, though. You’ll also need to spend time training them, but the good news is that if you do it yourself, training is free.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Shetland Sheepdog
- $50-$200+ per month
The costs associated with owning a Sheltie can swing greatly from one extreme to the other. For the most part, though, this is a cheaper breed to own, as long as you take care of them.
Then again, given how active these dogs are, you’ll be trading money for your time and energy, as they’ll demand a great deal of attention from you.
Additional Costs to Factor In
As with any dog, there will be unexpected expenses when you own a Sheltie. All dogs, regardless of breed, have at least one extremely expensive and completely unexpected vet trip in them, so plan on that at some point.
You may also need to hire someone to look after your dog from time to time, so a walker or pet sitter should be factored into your budget.
Shelties are smart and generally obedient, but the downside of that intelligence is that if they want to misbehave, they can really misbehave. In that case, you may need to bring in a professional to get them to act civilized.
They’re not a destructive breed, but if you don’t give them an outlet for all their energy, they’ll take it out on something and that something may be your expensive shoes or furniture.
Owning a Shetland Sheepdog On a Budget
While it may not seem like it, it’s certainly possible to own a Sheltie on a shoestring budget. You just have to know which corners to cut.
If you provide them with plenty of outdoor exercise (or give them a few sheep to wrangle), you can likely cut out your entertainment budget altogether. You can also save money by buying them cheaper toys or equipment.
They also don’t eat much, which can be a huge money-saver.
For the most part, though, saving money on Sheltie ownership will likely come down to the luck of the draw. If your dog is healthy, they won’t be too expensive.
Saving Money on Shetland Sheepdog Care
It’s possible to save quite a bit of money on Sheltie care if you know where to look. Some clinics have low-cost vaccinations and spay/neuter clinics, and you may even be able to find places that provide regular medical care on the cheap. You’ll have to spend more time looking, but it will be well worth it in the end.
However, we wouldn’t urge you to try to save money by buying an inferior food or skipping regular checkups. While these steps will save cash in the short term, in the long run, they’re likely to cause serious health issues that will cost significantly more than what you saved.
Shetland Sheepdogs are certainly wondrous creatures because they’re equally capable of holding down a job on a farm as they are holding down a spot on your couch. While they’re not as expensive as many other breeds due to their small size and healthy nature, they can still cost a pretty penny over time.
Luckily, if you take good care of your dog while they’re young and healthy, you can greatly reduce the odds that you’ll have to spend a bundle on them in the end. There are no guarantees here, of course, but the numbers are in your favor.
Featured Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay
- Bringing Home a New Shetland Sheepdog: One-Time Costs
- List of Shetland Sheepdog Care Supplies and Costs
- How Much Does a Shetland Sheepdog Cost Per Month?
- Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Shetland Sheepdog
- Additional Costs to Factor In
- Owning a Shetland Sheepdog On a Budget