This dog breed was developed in Shetland in Scotland. It is also called the Sheltie and probably descended from the Rough Collie. Due to fishing activities in the Shetland Islands, boat fish brought different breeds of dogs such as Spitz and Spaniels, which bred with the local dogs. It eventually produced the Sheltie. There were numerous variations of the Sheltie due to extensive crossbreeding during the 1800s. There was a lot of controversy on the original Sheltie breed however the Scottish and English dog club settled on a close resemblance to a Collie in miniature form. They were used for herding and protecting owners’ property.
The Shetland has a unique fluffy long coat that covers its entire body except the legs and face. They have a sturdy rectangular frame and stand at a height of 12 – 16 inches and weighs 15 – 27 pounds. They have a medium sized face with dark oval eyes positioned level to its nose. Its medium sized muzzle is proportional to its head with a black tipped nose. Its ears are on the side of its head with a leaf shape and set wide apart. It has an inward curving back that rises as it approaches the tail area. Its tail is fluffy and medium sized.
They are loyal and eager to please. They provide good companionship to families and develop a great sense of affection for them. They are gentle and sensitive hence prefer tranquil environments. They are highly intelligent and will pick up training instructions very easily. They are very agile and obedient and will be able to cope with advanced training that challenges their mental capability. They have a deep sense of herding and may have tendencies of herding a group of children together.
They will be comfortable with apartment accommodation as long as they are sufficiently exercised with a daily walk or jog. They also need to be mentally challenged, and advanced obedience and agility training is recommended. They have a high pitched bark that can be a great nuisance to neighbors. They should be trained on when to be quite to prevent unnecessary barking.
They are generally a healthy breed though like others they will do succumb to some common diseases such as: eye diseases, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, hip dysplasia and skin disorder.
They should be fed on high-quality meals that are rich in all the required nutrients. Avoid over feeding the dog by giving it a single large meal daily as this may cause gastric complications but rather spread the meals into two equal portions. The amount of food given depends on the age, size and metabolic rate of the dog.
Coat, Color and Grooming
Shelties have a double coat. The undercoat is thick & short while the outer coat is long and coarse. The coat color come in a mix of several colors which include white and black or white and a variation of brown. Brush its hair on a weekly basis to prevent it from getting entangled.
With family and other pets
They are great companion dogs and will bond with every member of the family. They get along well with other pets particularly fellow Shelties.