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Shetland Sheepdog

shetlandsheepdog

A Gentle Dog

Herding Group, Intelligent, Sensitive

Shetland Sheepdogs are extraordinary pets. While it is interesting to learn about the breeding purpose of Shetland Sheepdogs, their genetics actually influence health, outward appearance and behavior. Some behaviors make the Shetland Sheepdog and some can be quite irritating! 

Understanding their unique needs will help you keep them healthy and will create a stronger bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about where Shetland Sheepdog came from, which health conditions are a risk to them and how to keep them feeling their best.

Breed Details

Height:13-16" Weight:18-22 lbs Lifespan:12-14 years

Size
2

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
4

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
5

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
1

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Shetland Sheepdogs are well suited to apartment life as long as they are given a daily walk and frequent play sessions. They are an athletic dog that excels at dog sports like agility, obedience, and herding. They also have a strong chase instinct, so they need to be leash walked and a fenced yard is a must.

Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: Shetland Sheepdogs often have serious problems with their teeth, so you'll need to brush them at least three times a week. 

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

There is a lot going on behind those sparkling almond eyes. Intuitive and bright, Shetland Sheepdogs make great family pets.

Positive Traits:

• Loyal and loving companion

• Good with kids and other pets

• Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

• Sweet, gentle, and sensitive

• Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

• Agile, sturdy, and muscular

Negative Traits:

• Suspicious of strangers

• Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

• Strong herding instinct can lead to chasing cars and small animals

• Needs daily exercise

• Prone to quite a few health problems

• Prone to separation anxiety

Whether you are considering adding a new Shetland Sheepdog to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Shetland Sheepdog will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Shetland Sheepdog you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They're counting on you to be their health expert. 

Some health issues a Shetland Sheepdog could encounter:

Heart Disease

Bleeding Disorders

Hemolytic Anemia and Thrombocytopenia

Eye Problems

Cataracts

Distichiasis

Shetland Sheepdogs are descendants of the Collie originating in Scotland. Shelties have worked many jobs including herding, protecting, tracking, and competitive obedience. They are well known for her intelligence and their seemingly human understanding of their companion. They thrive in competition and loves to be useful. Their double coat requires a considerable amount of grooming but her beauty is more than worth it. The Shetland Sheepdog is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Shetland Sheepdog shows signs of the following:

• Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

• Gums that are a color other than bright pink

• Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

• Cloudiness to eye lens

• Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

• Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

• Vision impairment

• Skin sores, shifting leg lameness

• Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

• Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

• Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

• Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

• General reluctance to run or play

• Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

• Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Care

    Routine Care: Shetland Sheepdogs are well suited to apartment life as long as they are given a daily walk and frequent play sessions. They are an athletic dog that excels at dog sports like agility, obedience, and herding. They also have a strong chase instinct, so they need to be leash walked and a fenced yard is a must.

    Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: Shetland Sheepdogs often have serious problems with their teeth, so you'll need to brush them at least three times a week. 

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

  • Characteristics

    There is a lot going on behind those sparkling almond eyes. Intuitive and bright, Shetland Sheepdogs make great family pets.

    Positive Traits:

    • Loyal and loving companion

    • Good with kids and other pets

    • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

    • Sweet, gentle, and sensitive

    • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

    • Agile, sturdy, and muscular

    Negative Traits:

    • Suspicious of strangers

    • Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

    • Strong herding instinct can lead to chasing cars and small animals

    • Needs daily exercise

    • Prone to quite a few health problems

    • Prone to separation anxiety

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Shetland Sheepdog to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Shetland Sheepdog will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Shetland Sheepdog you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They're counting on you to be their health expert. 

    Some health issues a Shetland Sheepdog could encounter:

    Heart Disease

    Bleeding Disorders

    Hemolytic Anemia and Thrombocytopenia

    Eye Problems

    Cataracts

    Distichiasis

  • History

    Shetland Sheepdogs are descendants of the Collie originating in Scotland. Shelties have worked many jobs including herding, protecting, tracking, and competitive obedience. They are well known for her intelligence and their seemingly human understanding of their companion. They thrive in competition and loves to be useful. Their double coat requires a considerable amount of grooming but her beauty is more than worth it. The Shetland Sheepdog is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Shetland Sheepdog shows signs of the following:

    • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

    • Gums that are a color other than bright pink

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Vision impairment

    • Skin sores, shifting leg lameness

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

    • Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

Shetland Sheepdog Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Shetland Sheepdog breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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