The Shetland Sheepdog is popularly known as Sheltie. He comes from Scotland with a plenty of smartness and mirth. He has been standing guard in the farmlands of Scotland for hundreds of years.
This medium sized herder used to protect the herd of sheep from aerial and land attacks respectively from wild birds and animals. He has an awesome looking coat. This is a beautiful dog with moderate energy.
Shetland Sheepdog personality:
Exceeding loyalty and love is a trademark of the Shetland Sheepdog. Usually, this is an outgoing and friendly dog. He possesses a sound temperament that thrives on close bondage and deeper interactions.
He behaves gently with the family members and is especially careful of the kids. Shelties love to have a job at hand. This is a talkative dog breed willing to sing at any moment upon an incident. Shelties are super wary of strangers and may become restive at their presence.
It makes them an amazing watchdog. He will most probably bark at anything and everything and will not stop before it pinches your nerve. This is especially true when the intruder is another dog.
However, some dogs can show signs of shyness and nippy tendency. They have been bred to be aloof so that a thief cannot easily snatch such a small dog and get away.
But excessive timidity is never welcome as this is a wrong behavior and should be controlled firmly. He is good for an exhausting work schedule and can be a good apartment dog as well provided enough physical activities.
Measure Shetland Sheepdog smartness:
High intelligence places them among the smartest dogs. They are fantastic show performer and awesome trickster. They have captured the 6th spot in the dog intelligence list prepared by Professor Stanley Coren. This position demonstrates their high adaptability as well as capability.
Herding itself is a high IQ function. Shetland sheep flocks have been reaping the benefits of Sheltie company for a long period of time. He is a cousin to the Collie and resembles them only in a smaller version. Training him is a fairly easy job because of his innate brightness. Shetland Sheepdogs are tremendous athletes and ultimate performers in dog competitions.
You cannot write this dog off in any consideration. He is full of life and a herding history has made him deft at physical movement which is mandatory for agility courses. Smartness has gifted him a bit of sensitivity which is often a prerequisite for a wonderful family dog.
What & how to feed:
An adult Shetland Sheepdog requires 1½ to 2 cups of daily food. You can give him two meals respectively in the morning and evening.
But dog food is really a dynamic issue and needs much consideration based on his age, health, sex, activities and so many aspects. Usually, you can determine the amount for yourself as you continue living with him.
Shelties possess high work drive and must have high quality dog food. This dog does not mind whether the food is homemade or commercially produced as long as it meets up his nutritional necessities. Small to medium sized dog food products fit him well. Dog food should be based on animal protein and fat ingredients.
At least, 20 percent of protein in each meal will conserve his energy. Beef, chicken, fish and lamb are excellent sources of proteins. On the other hand, flaxseed oil, fish oil are going to supply the dog with necessary fat.
Tapioca, sweet potatoes and brown rice give him carbohydrates and fibers. While purchasing a commercial item, you should avoid preservatives, dyes and flavors for his betterment.
Normally, small to medium sized dogs possess swift metabolic functionality. So, easier chew ability and compact energy must two key factors before choosing the perfect formula for this dog. Your furry friend can develop allergic reactions and you have to inspect the ingredients for the responsible allergens.
Altering his dishes regularly will help you identify the culprit element.
Escape a few health issues:
Centuries of island life has kept this dog in good health. But you always have some room for precautions. You should ask for medical clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
These certificates will mostly lift you out of major conditions. You should know the basic health status of this breed to undertake rapid action if situation demands. Moreover, a few general care instructions will come to your help.
Shetland Sheepdog is notorious for eye issues. Collie eye anomaly is one of those problems. This is an inherited case from the family. There is little hope for recuperation in a major condition.
Usually, it leads to blindness. Progressive retinal atrophy can cause blindness too. It a genetic issue and not a painful disease. But it gradually takes out his rod cells in the retina.
There are other eye problems including optic nerve hypoplasia and corneal dystrophy. Dermatomyositis is a breed specific disease of the Shetland Sheepdog. This is a hereditary problem related to his skin.
Skin lesions show up on his front legs, tail and head. This problem can also remain latent in the dog showing no symptoms at all. Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s Disease and hypothyroidism are some other conditions that can affect your puppy.
Insightful care program:
Shetland Sheepdog has a lustrous double coat. Short and thick undercoat with long as well as harsh outer coat maintains his body warmth. It sheds profusely you have to beat it with timely brushing and combing.
The undercoat tends to form mats which remain invisible at first look. Brushing him requires some expertise and you may need to visit a professional groomer once every two month interval.
Seasonal shedding in Spring and Fall will take an extreme upward turn. Slicker brush, rake and a pin brush are going to rescue you from a flood of hair.
However, this is a naturally clean dog breed and does not get into too much dirt. So, you should not bathe him too often. It is better to wash him once in every 2-3 months. Cut his nails and brush the teeth regularly.
You must check out his ears properly for smell or discharge. A normal look over would not do the job due to excessive hair in and around the ears. This active dog should be kept under a leash while going out. You can give him a fenced yard for free running.
He is not susceptible to cold. But hot weather is a concern because of his huge coat. Do not get him out in too ht weather. Get him plenty of fresh and clean water.
Proper exercise method:
A lot of exercise is an integral part of a happy Shetland Sheepdog. This is especially a robust dog looking for tons of physical actions. Athleticism lies in his heart and a free space can give him joy like nothing else. He can cope up with an apartment life only if you promise to fulfill his requirements in this regard.
Running, tracking, herding and interactive games such as fetching or frisbee will keep them jolly. Brisk walks and short jogs can do the trick as well. Agility course is a keeper of Sheltie body and mind. Their intelligence comes to a natural application in such a course. Take your dog out for at least 40 minutes or more.
Shetland Sheepdog training cues:
Beginning early is the key to a rounded personality. Training the Shetland Sheepdog is always easy because of their high receiving capability and pleasing tendency. Judicious use of treats and a lot of appreciation are the pillars of an awesome Sheltie training.
Socialization is tremendously important for such an active family dog who loves chasing and herding moving things. The dog should meet a lot of people and peer pets so that he can grasp the inner meaning of a sound relationship.
Never leave your children alone with the Sheltie. Probably, the dog will start herding the kids. So, proper social skills are of vital importance for this dog. Crate training will assist him with house training. This positive confinement is going to teach him the necessity of doing his business at a certain location.
It will also help him to handle separation issues. But you have to make sure that he enjoys his time within the crate. In this respect, its environment should be comfortable with toys and treats.
Imparting the basic dog commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come’, ‘stay’, ‘leave’, etc are vital. Especially, his chasing habit demands a due implementation of the ‘come’ command. These instructions will give you an obedient dog.
They are fantastic at dog sports of various types such as agility, tracking. They talk too much and often require a seasoned bark control method. This dog can greatly benefit from hand signals.
Shetland Sheepdog origin:
Scottish harsh lands contributed to breeding this dog breed. They come from Shetland island which is located on the tip of the northern UK. The name of the dog is eponymous to the island. Farmers had the greatest use of this dog to protect and gather up their herd of livestock.
The Shetland Sheepdog has been a result of cross between the Collie and some other smaller dogs. Experts opine that the Pomeranian and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have some contribution as well. Shetland island was not a place where people would usually visit frequently due to its rugged terrain. So, the dog lived its life in solitude away from the rest of Britain.
As a result, their development lineage and history has been shrouded in mystery. It came to public notice only in the 20th century. By the way, this dog was recognized as a separate breed by the AKC in 1911.