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Shetland Sheepdog


General Information - Shetland Sheepdog


Group:
Working

Size:
medium

Lifespan:
12-14 years

Exercise:
medium

Grooming:
high

Trainability:
very high

Watchdog ability:
very high

Protection ability:
very low

Area of Origin:
Scotland (Shetland Islands)

Date of Origin:
1800’s

Other Names:
Sheltie

Original Function:
Sheep herder



History

The Shetland Sheepdog is probably descended from Scottish Rough Collies brought to the Scottish island of Shetland and crossed with the Icelandic Yakkin, a small island dog (now no longer recognised) brought over in the boats of fishermen. By 1700, the breed was completely developed. For centuries these little dogs were used to herd and guard the sheep flocks of the Shetlands, those rugged islands off the Scottish coast where many of the animals are rather small in stature. Refinement of the breed took place mainly in the twentieth century after the export of Shelties to mainland Scotland and beyond. These small shepherds were very gentle when herding the miniature stock. One of the top obedience competition breeds, the Sheltie is an extremely smart and willing worker. Because of his kindly disposition, the Sheltie has become one of today’s most popular companion dogs.

Temperament

Owners of a Shetland Sheepdog can expect a very loyal, loving and responsive dog. It is an excellent guardian of children and is friendly, yet reserved, with strangers. It loves to please its master and is an excellent candidate for obedience work.

Upkeep

The Sheltie is energetic, but its exercise needs can be met with a good walk, short jog or active game and training session. It can live outdoors in a temperate climate, but it is strongly advised that the Sheltie be a house dog. It is too attached to its family to do well separate from them. Its thick coat needs brushing or combing every other day.