Canines of the Shetland Sheepdog dog breed stood guard for farmers in the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland, keeping hungry birds and sheep out of the farmer’s garden, and they served as herding dogs as well.
There are TOP 10 interesting facts about Shetland Sheepdog.
1) Not a Miniature Collie
Shetland sheepdogs, known affectionately as Shelties, look at first glance like miniature rough collies. In fact, they are often mistakenly called Miniature collies; however, although they may share the same ancestors, the Shetland sheepdog is a distinct breed developed under unique circumstances.
Shelties hail from the Shetland Islands of Scotland, also known for Shetland ponies and other small breeds of animals. The area's harsh conditions, with sparse vegetation, favored smaller breeds of livestock and thus, smaller dogs to herd them. Shelties are probably the result of crossing the larger rough collie of the time with other island dogs including small herding breeds and spaniels. Some historians believe that the Sheltie was developed by 1700. The breed was refined after it was imported to mainland Scotland in the 20th century. Shelties were first recognized in England in 1909 and first registered in the United States in 1911.
Shetland sheepdogs are known for their gentle, sweet, pleasing personality. They are also playful and affectionate, all traits that have made them a popular family pet. Breed experts often comment that Shelties like to please; coupled with their intelligence, it is no wonder they excel at obedience training.
4) Around Strangers
Shelties are leery of strangers. As a result, they are good watchdogs, likely to greet outsiders with lots of barking. They also bark when excited. While not usually aggressive, some Shelties may nip at people they do not know, whether the strangers are adults or children. Others may be somewhat timid with strangers.
Shetland sheepdogs look like a smaller version of the rough collie. They are strong and compact yet agile. The head is wedge-shaped, although not as refined as the modern show collie. The small, high-set ears are erect with the tips falling forward slightly. Shelties range in height from about 12 to 15 inches and weigh from 14 to 20 pounds. They live about 12 to 15 years.
Just like any other breed, it is a fact that the Shetland Sheepdog in general is prone to certain diseases more than others. The most common are: eye issues such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and eyelash abnormalities. They also tend to develop epilepsy more than some other breeds.
7) Living With
Because they are active, working dogs by nature, Shelties like to be kept busy and want the company of their guardians. They are not dogs content to lie around alone all day. Many Shelties bark excessively. Shelties can, however, do well in small homes or apartments as long as they are exercised in a fenced-in yard or walked on a leash. Their ample coat requires a good brushing at least twice weekly; the coat sheds heavily in the fall and spring.
The thick, double coat of the Sheltie provides excellent protection from bad weather. The outer coat is long and straight. The dog has a generous mane and frill and feathering on the legs and tail. The undercoat is dense and woolly. Shelties are either black, blue merle or sable, and are marked with white, tan or both.
Standoffish by nature, Shetland Sheepdogs need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become outright shyness, which is difficult to live with. Teaching your Sheltie how to be confident with the world is essential.
Shetland Sheepdogs are herding dogs with keen senses who used their sharp voice to help control the sheep. Unfortunately that means they are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. An awful lot of Shelties end up being surgically "de-barked" just to manage their noise level.