The loyal and tough Shetland dogs have expanded beyond herding at farms to as pets at home. It is a testament to the qualities of this breed that traces its origin to Scotland.
In the early 20th century, James Loggie added smaller Rough collie to breeding stock, which eventually became the Sheltie of today. The breeders of Scotland Island began to realize that the working dog breed was disappearing in 1900. This made them take steps to reintroduce Collie crosses. They started to become popular as Shetland Collie.
Physical Attributes and grooming
Physical attributes of Shetland sheepdogs are mentioned below:
- Weight: Shelties usually weigh around 11 to 24 pounds (5-10 kgs). It is common for Shelties to grow into under-size or over-size dogs. There are dogs that weigh as big as 40 pounds. You can not find much of a difference in size between male and female dogs, although males are generally bigger.
- Height: They range in height of about 13 to 16 inches, measured by the shoulder. There is an upper cut-off on the permissible height of Shelties in different countries. Normally, dogs that are taller than the cut-off are not considered as true Shelties.
- Coat: They are normally double coated dogs, having a dense and furry coat. Your dog’s coat gives you the major challenge in grooming by otherwise easy to train Sheltie. Unless you make a close watch, you cannot know the amount of loose hair your dog carries. Groom and maintain their easy-to-comb hair that you can handle even with a vacuum cleaner.
- Colour: Shelties are in a variety of colors like white, black with white, blue merle with white, sable with white or tan and even tri-colored.
- Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.
- Health: Shelties are naturally healthy. Therefore, providing an average diet would be sufficient for normal growth. Hereditary genetic diseases of the eyes are among the most prominent health conditions. Periodical check-ups help in remaining cautious against the diseases.
It is easy for you to train Shetland sheepdogs since they are very affectionate and intelligent. You can even leave them alone at home and as they have the ability to use their own minds in their activities.
There is no problem if you leave your kids with this kind of dogs. You can play with them and they enjoy activities with high energy like running, athletic games requiring agility and observance playball.
The sensitivity level of your Sheltie will always depend on the behavior and reaction of yourself and your family.
Shetland sheepdogs are famous for their observing traits and can be the best watchdogs. They have good vocal cords and sense of hearing. They are protective of their property and can be a perfect watchdog. Do put an effort to control their barking from an early age. They are athletic, but not aggressive and tend to herd sheep and livestock like a natural instinct.
Shelties are the best therapy dogs, which becomes affectionate and love those who love and take care of it. If you need a dog for nursing homes, schools, retirement homes etc, Shelties are the best. Shelties are like a pillar of comfort for other breeds during tough times like diseases or disasters, thereby serving as therapy dogs.
GROWTH AND SIZE
Shelties grow at a rapid rate, especially in the first couple of years. Here is the growth progression of the dog at different stages.
- At birth to two weeks: They have the features like touch and smell to help them feed enormously at this stage. The pups almost double in size in the first two weeks but do not grow healthy enough to actively move around.
- Up to 10 weeks: The pups become physically healthier, active and start socially interacting with humans and animals. This is where you can put your first lessons on their behavior. Sheltie pups understand about bite inhibition here and you can train them to restrain from play bites and develop their socializing instincts.
- Up to 12 weeks: The puppies learn to be independent and develop the ability to bond with external families. It becomes easier to bond with them at this time. You can decide what kind of relationship training your pups wants now. Give him housetraining or start his dog training for bigger purposes.
- Upto 6 months: The kids strongly associate with their packs. The shelties identify their rank in the hierarchy of dogs and the behavioral rules to show dominance and submission.
- One year and beyond: The inherent traits of bonding with its pack and humans become strong by the time your pup becomes 1 year old. Now, that your training on basic commands and interaction started earlier, it is time to strengthen and expand it to fit the dog in its social position. Do you feel that your pup has too much testosterone energy to spend off? Moderate neutering at this stage will help in calming this energy burst.
Essential sheltie reality tips
The below written are some of the realities to help you plan your pet’s development:
- Shelties are medium-sized dogs and have permissible height recommendations.
- These dogs are 6th most intelligent dogs in the world. Because of this reason they can be good watchdogs at your home.
- Shelties have long hair which attracts people and are double coated dogs.
- These are not collies and there are only a few similarities with a collie. This often confuses people, though the latter is bigger.
- Shelties have a wonderful temperament. They are loving, caring and active.
- All shelties love to run outside. They need at least 30-60 minutes of outdoor exercise every day.
- They are the best vocal dogs. They communicate with their owners through different noises not often seen in other dogs.
If you are in search of a dog that loves to have a job, then pick Sheltie. These are a breed of highly intelligent dogs, capable of following a new command in 95% of the cases. The natural tendency to herd eliminates the need to subject shelties to rigorous training sessions.
You can effortlessly make them take part in herding trials. The excellent showmanship skills displayed by these dogs are another asset to your ownership. Groom a bit and you can take them to big shows and trials to display their tracking, and flyball skills, while the basic level of herding training makes them fit for competitive herding tests. If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please feel free to share your comments.