The Shetland Sheepdog is an obedient dog, suitable for all kinds of obedience and agility competitions, and it makes the best companion for families with children.
What are The Shetland Sheepdog Physical Characteristics?
The Shetland Sheepdog is a small breed of dog that is very active and restless. On average they measure 35 / 45cm at the withers and weigh about 10kg. The sexual dimorphism of this breed is not very pronounced, and little difference can be observed apart from the size of the males, which is slightly larger than that of the females. But this feature is hardly noticeable. It has a life expectancy of 12/14 years, which is relatively long compared to other dog breeds. It has a harsh outer coat with a long, smooth undercoat comprised of many colors, which you will have to brush often. The base of the coat is white and is accompanied by browns, golds, grays, and blacks.
Shetland Sheepdogs have a long muzzle and skull, small, erect ears, and a black nose; making them an almost smaller replica of a collie. The only negative comment related to these dogs is that they are not very affectionate in front of strangers, making them good watchdogs and guard dogs. It is essential to train and socialize your Shetland Sheepdog at a young age to overcome its combative and reserved behavior in front of strangers.
The Shetland Sheepdogs must be made to work as they need daily exercise because they fall into the category of herding breeds. They are a breed that can wreak havoc if you don’t take them out of the home for a while to release their energy. They also get lonely if you are away so it is best to leave them in an environment that contains games that involve mental stimulation. However, if you do not have time to exercise your Shetland, it may not be the best dog for you.
Shetland Sheepdogs are a shepherd-breed of animal. You will have to teach your dog not to nibble on the heels of children when he plays with them due to their long past of being a sheepdog, as they have a strong herding instinct. But don’t worry, they never bite or hurt; they only make the gesture but without biting. For Shetlands, it is a game, but a very young child may be scared. This behavior only occurs on rare occasions and can be eliminated with proper obedience training and socialization. The Shetland Sheepdog loves children making them a great family dog.
What Kind of Personality Does The Shetland Sheepdogs Have?
Apart from being sensitive and loyal dogs, they are very gentle and love to be accompanied. Yes, it will spend all of its time at home following you around, wherever you go, even in the bathroom! It is crucial to socialize your Shetland as soon as possible. It is best if you expose them at a young age to all kinds of people, places, and everyday experiences, especially to the presence of strangers at home and on walks. Only with this will you have a healthy and happy Shetland, ready to give love forever.
These high-energy animals need regular exercise and enjoy the outdoors, particularly large patio spaces and open yards; they make the perfect dog if you live on a farm or have a house with a large patio or terrace. In addition to their energetic behavior, Shetland Sheepdogs also shed a lot of hair due to their long double coat, and need several weekly brushings.
What is the Breed History of the Shetland Sheepdog?
Shetland Sheepdogs originally belong to the Shetland Islands. The Shetland Islands are geographically located between Scotland and Norway. (Hence its name Shetland). The Norwegians began to breed these animals as herding dogs and called them “Toonie.” (Which in Norwegian means farm). They were crossing breeds such as the “Border Collie” and the “Shetland sheep.”
Some ethnologists believe that the Shetland Sheepdog was also bred to protect small sheep and young birds and raptors. On the other hand, many experts insist that this breed has a great fondness for chasing and hunting birds due to its past as a bird hunter. However, it is not entirely clear.
This breed was officially recognized in the 20th century by the Kennel Club of England in 1909 and by the American Kennel Club in 1911.
English breeders never liked the original name “Toonie” for this breed. They eventually managed to change the name to Shetland, as it is known today. The breed became popular for its great herding qualities and was exported to the United States. In the 70s, it landed in the category of the 10 most popular breeds in the world due to its small size and other admirable characteristics. Making it one of the most popular family dogs. Today, it is in the 20th position of the best-known and bred dogs in the world.
What Are Common Health Conditions for shetland sheepdogs?
A common health issue for Shetland Sheepdogs is hypothyroidism which involves abnormal levels of hormones in the thyroid. The disease is usually manifested by weight gain, slow heart rate, poor coat appearance, abundant hair loss, and sensitivity to cold. It can be cured through medication issued by a vet.
Another common health issue for Shetland Sheepdogs is hip dysplasia. This consists of abnormalities in the growth of the hip bones. They end up becoming deformed over time, cause significant pain, and the dog tends to lose movement of its hindquarters. The best form of treatment is to prevent it through consultation with your vet and regular check-ups.
How to care for your Shetland Sheepdog?
They are very tough dogs and bred to withstand all climates, but do not overexpose them to the cold. In the winter they appreciate having a corner of the sofa next to you. They are perfect for flats and small houses because of their small size, but their long coat often needs care. They have a double coat that is short and soft on the inside and an outer coat that is hard and long.
It is important to give them a good bath every week if you have a habit of taking your Shetland out for walks or you live on a farm. This will greatly improve the care and brushing of your pet, which should be done often. They will molt once or twice a year and you will need to allow for daily brushing during these periods. In addition, its long coat requires you to give special care and attention to its ears, which you must protect from parasites and infections.
You have to trim your Shetland’s nails once or twice a month. One way to know that your dog needs its nails cut is when you notice the sound of nails scratching on the floor as the animal runs down the hall of your house.
Another important hygiene issue in relation to caring for your Shetland Sheepdog is brushing its teeth. This should be done 2 or 3 times a week.
Do not leave food within reach of your Shetland as 2 servings a day with the appropriate amount based on weight and energy expenditure is more than enough. If your Shetland is at a healthy weight, you should be able to slightly feel its ribs with your fingertips. I not, you are conditioning the animal to be overweight so it is best to cut back on their food intake. It is best to feed your Shetland high-quality dog food and allow them to expend a significant amount of energy by playing outdoors.
I highly recommend you take all of this into account before making the decision to adopt a Shetland Sheepdog. If you are still unclear on your decision, it is not the dog for you.