Shetland Sheepdogs come in many colours and colour varieties, but the most popular is the tri-colour, which is white, black and tan.
Origin of the Shetland SheepdogThe original working dog of the Shetland Isles was a Spitz-type dog, which was then cross bred with breeds including working collies, the King Charles Spaniel and the Pomeranian to create the Shetland Sheepdog we know today. Ironically, this dog has never been used as a working dog on Shetland and is in fact fairly uncommon there. They are also known as Shelties.
Sizes of Typical Male and Female Shetland Sheepdogs
Male Shetland Sheepdogs may be slightly heavier and taller than females, but in general there does not tend to be a great difference between the sexes. Healthy dogs should weigh anywhere between 6 and 12kg, depending on their height, which in general is between 33 and 41cm.
Shetland Sheepdog Temperament
These are very intelligent dogs, like their collie relatives. They are a loving and loyal breed, which makes them ideal companion dogs, although they can also be used as a guard or watchdog, thanks to their working dog ancestors. A strong herding instinct makes them unsuitable pets for a family home, and can mean their instincts tell them to chase large objects such as cars. Owners must be careful to be firm with this breed, as Small Dog Syndrome can be a problem as with all breeds of this size.
Shetland Sheepdog Coats
Like their collie relatives, the Shetland Sheepdog has a double coat which sheds periodically, often heavily. Regular grooming is important to keep their long hair tangle and matt free, however bathing should only happen on rare occasions as Shetland Sheepdogs are very fastidious about their cleanliness. Mist the coat with a spray of water before grooming with a bristle brush, and try to use combs sparingly as they can tug on the outer coat and cause skin irritation.
Exercise Your Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdogs require at least one walk or jog a day, lasting no less than 45 minutes. Running off the leash when safe to do so is an excellent way of burning off some of that excess energy too! These highly intelligent little dogs excel at agility and flyball, and also famously at dancing. Any obedience disciplines are recommended for this little breed to keep their bodies and minds agile and alert.
What Health Problems can Shetland Sheepdogs Suffer From?
The Shetland Sheepdog tends to share the same health problems as its cousin the Rough Collie, such as eye diseases and displacement of the patella, which is thought to be genetic. It is important not to over-feed this breed either, as they tend to put on excess weight which can trigger patella displacement. Importantly, some herding dogs carry a gene, MDR1, which causes a negative reaction to medicinal drugs that are perfectly all right for non-carriers to take, but can kill dogs carrying this gene.
The Life expectancy of a Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog, on average, will live between 12 and 15 years.
The cost of a Shetland Sheepdog
A Shetland Sheepdog puppy can cost anywhere from £300-£700, depending on the pedigree and bloodlines.
Shetland Sheepdog Puppies
Shetland Sheepdog puppies are energetic and boisterous, requiring a lot of attention and training to stop negative behaviours from developing. Always make sure you view your puppy with its mother to ensure it has been raised by a reputable breeder and to prevent giving custom to puppy farmers.
Dog Groups Related to Shetland Sheepdogs
Similar dog breeds to the Shetland Sheepdog
Rough Collie, Border Collie