Shetland Sheepdogs

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The Shetland Sheepdog

"Small, long-haired working dog of great beauty, free from cloddiness and coarseness.  Outline symmetrical so that no part appears out of proportion to the whole. 
 Abundant coat, mane and frill, shapeliness of head and sweetness of expression combine to present the ideal"

(published with kind permission of  The Kennel Club)
 ŠThe Kennel Club

The above description is taken from the Kennel Club breed standard and describes the general appearance of the Shetland Sheepdog, the ideal height at withers  being 14 inches (35.5 cms) for a bitch and 14˝ inches (37 cms) for a dog.  However, as those who have bred this delightful little dog will testify, the ideal is difficult to achieve and a great variation in size and type can be seen. 

One thing is certain, regardless of their 'general appearance', these affectionate, lively, intelligent dogs, with their lovely temperament, make excellent family pets.  They are  very good with children and extremely loyal to their owners, thoroughly enjoying human company.  You will more than likely find that wherever you are, your Sheltie is very close behind. Their  gentle nature means that they live quite happily together, with new owners often choosing to get a second dog.   Words cannot describe the sheer joy of watching two Shelties running across fields and playing together.

They love going for walks and as soon as my Shelties hear the rattle of the lead, regardless of where they may be, they appear at my feet.   However, if for any reason walks have to be restricted, then they are quite happy running around the house or garden.   Being very intelligent,  they are easy to train and are the ideal choice for those interested in obedience and agility.  Another popular activity which Shelties seem to love is fly-ball competition.

Being quite vocal, they make excellent burglar alarms and will instantly warn you should anyone venture anywhere near their territory.   One New Year's Eve, I was woken at 4.00 a.m. by my dogs barking furiously.  I got up to quieten them and heard a car driving away but presumed it was some late night partygoers.  The following day my neighbour visited to let me know she had been woken by the sound of my dogs barking and discovered someone was attempting to break into her home.  On hearing my dogs they made a quick getaway having caused damage to her window.  This lady lives alone and was very grateful that my dogs had barked that night!!!

One of the Sheltie's many attributes is his attractive coat.  This consists of a soft, short undercoat and harsh-textured outer coat which gives protection from the elements and repels moisture.  A comment often made to me is that I must spend hours grooming my dogs.  I thoroughly brush my Shelties' coats through once a week, paying particular attention to the soft hair behind the ears which can easily become matted.  At the same time I trim their nails and remove any excess hair from their feet.  The exception would be if we have been out in wet weather and the dogs return home wet and muddy.  Then I rinse off any excess mud and allow their coats to dry before brushing them through, which removes any remaining grit and dirt .  During moulting more regular grooming is necessary in order to remove any loose and dead hair.  I find the act of grooming very therapeutic for me and my Shelties and my oldest will immediately lay on her back, waiting to be pampered, when she sees me with the grooming bag in my hand.

Shelties come in several colours, Sable (from pale gold to deep mahogany), Tricolour, Blue Merle, Black and White and Black and Tan.

If you are thinking of getting a Sheltie for a pet, you will be rewarded with a small, lively, intelligent dog with a gentle temperament, easy to train and willing to please, whose only desire is to be loved and be with his family.   

Just one word of warning, PLEASE do not buy from a puppy farmer, contact a reputable breeder.  Details of reputable breeders can be obtained from the Kennel Club or the Secretaries of any of the Shetland Sheepdog Clubs listed on the links page.

If you would like to know more about the sheer joy of owning these delightful little dogs, please take a look at 'Sheltie Inspirations' or Living With The Shetland Sheepdog and read the short stories send to me by visitors to my site.