Is a Sheltie Right for Me? (Leaving Them By Themselves, Costs and Temperament)

I didn’t grow up with dogs. Up until my late twenties, I thought crazy dog people were, well, crazy. I only became a Shetland Sheepdog devotee when I married into a family that had always been owned by Shelties. Gratefully, I have been thoroughly indoctrinated and have been a crazy Sheltie lady for almost two decades! You have landed in the right place if you are considering being a crazy Sheltie owner too!

Is a Shetland Sheepdog right for me? Here are my top reasons a Shetland Sheepdog would be right for you:

1. You enjoy outdoor activities and exercise.

2. You have a happy, loving, low-stress home.

3. You have time to commit to daily training, grooming, play, and exercise.

4. You have the financial resources to provide proper grooming, a healthy lifestyle, and quality veterinary care.

5. You like to vacuum and own more than one lint roller (or don’t like wearing black clothes)!

6. You won’t be away from home for extended periods of time on a regular basis. You won’t be leaving your Sheltie home alone with the neighbour or at someone else’s home.

7. You have children but not as young as a baby or toddler.

These are my top reasons why a Sheltie are a good fit for you and your family. I could probably come up with a hundred more. On the other hand, I could also give you many reasons why a Sheltie would not suit you or your lifestyle. We will explore the Shetland Sheepdog good and bad points for a balanced perspective. While a Sheltie might be a good fit for you, more importantly, are you a good fit for a Sheltie? Let’s find out.

Fast Facts – Is A Sheltie Right For Me?

  • Shetland Sheepdog average weight: 14 – 30 lbs.
  • Shetland Sheepdog height average: 13-16″.
  • Average yearly cost of caring for a Sheltie: $1000 – 2000.
  • Coat: Dense, double-coated, straight, significant shedding.
  • Grooming: Occasional bathing, frequent brushing, dental care.
  • Potential health concerns: MDR1 Mutation, vision impairment, epilepsy, heart disease, joint dysplasia, luxating patella, arthritis, autoimmune and allergy-induced skin conditions, Thyroid issues, Bladder and Kidney problems.
  • Average lifespan: 12-14 years.
  • Temperament: Generally friendly, loyal, and highly sensitive to human moods/behavior.
  • Trainability: Relatively easy.
  • Activity/Exercise: Full of energy requiring significant mental stimulation and physical activity.
  • Child-friendly: More often than not/supervision required.
  • Dog group: Herding dog

Shelties Are Not Collies!

If you want to get a rise out of a group of people, drop the words miniature (or worse, toy) Collie into a Sheltie owner Facebook group and then sit back and watch the fur fly!

When we are out and about with our Sheltie (Shellie), we hear “Look at the cute little Lassie!,” or “What a beautiful miniature collie!” Shellie has mahogany sable coloring. She always gets mixed up with a Collie. Personally, for me, it is not an issue. My husband usually tries to correct the offender. He offers some specifics about the Shetland Sheepdog being its own breed. I’m just happy when someone acknowledges the beauty of my baby Sheltie dog!

Sheltie Heritage and Origin

If you are considering a Sheltie, you should probably know what they are, and what they are not.

While Shelties resemble Collies, mostly because of their coloring, they are a distinct breed. Today’s Shelties descend from sheepdogs of the Shetland Islands in Scotland. They were bred to be attentive herders prized for their intelligence and loyalty. Characteristics evolved in crossbreeding and were vital to the breed’s success as working dogs in challenging terrain.

Our Shelties today are the result of crossbreeding of many dogs, including:

  • Rough Collie
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Pomeranian
  • Border Collie and
  • An extinct breed known as the Greenland Yakki.

With the information available, we believe Shelties were fully developed by the early years of the 18th century. Refinement of the breed continued in Mainland Scotland and England into the 20th century.

Official recognition and registration of the Shetland Sheepdogs happened in 1909 in England and 1911 in the United States by the American Kennel Club.

Intelligent and Loyal

It does not take a Sheltie long to integrate into a new family, understand their place in the pecking order, and recognize who is in charge. This may sound great, but your active participation is vital to their development, and they do not deal well with inconsistency or mixed messages.

How I failed my Sheltie – my memorable lesson in understanding the alpha dog hierarchy (Case Study #1)

My husband had a brilliant Sheltie named Kayla when we met. I fell madly in love with her (and my husband!). Kayla passed. A few years went by before we were in a position to get another. Then we felt it was time. Shellie has been the one true great love of my life for almost nine years now, but I had a lot of love to give. So we decided last year that it was time to bring home another puppy. He was a boy, because while Shellie doesn’t particularly care for other dogs, on the whole, she is less likely to take to another female. So, we found a gorgeous little boy puppy (Bernie) and brought him home.

We introduced Shellie and Bernie on neutral territory. We let them sniff each other out. Then got on with the task of the amazing life full of love that we were all going to enjoy, blissfully together. It didn’t exactly shake out the way that I had imagined.

alpha dog

Case Study – What happened when we got our 2nd Sheltie

Trainability

The Shetland Sheepdog’s intelligence and capacity for loyalty naturally lends to trainability. what’s a list of the basics to teach. What are the special Sheltie tricks (keyword) you can teach?

Whether you are going to enter the competition rings, or you would just like enough tricks in the arsenal to impress your friends and neighbors, equal parts encouragement, repetition, and reward will set you on your way.

Shelties are extremely willing to please, but each dog is different with his/her own personalities and preferences. For instance, our Shellie has never been too receptive to tricks. Even as a tiny puppy, she was very regal and seemed to always view typical tricks, like give me your paw or rollover, as beneath her. Did she learn those tricks? Of course, but she didn’t get excited about that sort of thing

What she does get excited about is retrieving. She is a retrieving pro. She loves it so much she could retrieve all day long.

Just to show how mad she is about retrieving, she knows the name of every single one of her fetch toys. I can line up 15 toys and tell her to get me a specific one and she is right on every time. As far as she is concerned, retrieving things for us is her job. I wish that I had a joy that transcendent once in life, nevermind multiple times a day! 

Herding and Work Drive

Possibly the most intriguing aspect of any herding breed is their need to work and their instinct to herd. And they will herd anything that moves, and things that don’t move for that matter. Now, when they are at the dog park, and other dogs are willing to participate in their Sheltie games, that is fine. Unfortunately, not all dogs will want to cooperate, nor will strangers on the street, non-dog loving members of your family, tiny children, birds, squirrels, mail carriers, or cars! And when they herd, they have a tendency to nip what they are herding.

Shelties need a job

As fascinating as this behavior may be, it is not very desirable outside of a farm or ranch environment. Choosing a Sheltie means that you will have to re-train their brain to understand that this thing that they are naturally driven to do is not acceptable. You have to simultaneously train them in another “job.” Shellie’s job is retrieving, and she must do this job many times, over and over and over and over, every single day, multiple times a day. Dogs with this work instinct need an outlet, or they will be frustrated, depressed, and will act out.

High involvement

Another critical aspect of this work drive is that you must be involved because the primary satisfaction in whatever it is, is derived from making you happy. Shelties are very sensitive and emotionally dependent on their people. They do not enjoy being alone for extended periods and have a profound need for affection and attention. Again, a lack of any of the above will lead to frustration and undesirable behavior.

Let’s say you are the primary person (Alpha) in the human/dog hierarchy and you’re away from home a lot for work. When you are traveling, the rest of your family look after “your” dog or you leave your Sheltie with a neighbor, relation or friend. Then you know the answer to the question “Is a Shetland Sheepdog right for me?” is “no”.

Loud and clear – my costly lesson in not paying enough attention to Shellie (Case Study #2)

Deciding to get a breed like a Sheltie is a commitment. Their need for attention, a job, interaction, and exercise requires consistent dedication.

But I get it, life is going to happen. Things don’t always work out how they are supposed to, and that is OK. But your Sheltie won’t think that way.

When you aren’t at home on time or oversleep and don’t have time for a little fetch session before work, something might get chewed. It happens to all of us. The random chewing of something of an inconsequential item or paper is an accepted dog owner risk. Our Shellie is a masterful manipulator though. She rarely, if ever, chews anything, but on the rare occasion when she is left alone too long, she targets something important and uses it to send a message. And that message can be quite costly!

Sheltie needs commitment
Case Study – How I learnt Sheltie’s need attention, otherwise accept the consequences!

Mental Stimulation and Physical Exercise

Along the same lines of a Sheltie’s need for a job is their need for a significant amount of physical and mental activity.

Thankfully, these needs can be met simultaneously, and activities like agility and obedience training will satisfy both their intellectual and energetic sides. Or there is frisbee or flyball (part game, part agility).

There are also some puzzle games available that will give your Sheltie the mental stimulation that they require. As with everything else, some dogs will take to such games and some will not. Bernie is highly food motivated, so games that involve searching for a food reward are a big hit with him. Bernie particularly likes the Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound puzzles that are available in three difficulty levels. 

Shellie, however, doesn’t impress that easily and has little interest in working that hard for a treat. She has already caught on to the fact that a little sad eye and whimper is the quicker route to something tasty.

Some Shelties don't like puzzle games

Sensitivity

Deciding to invite a dog into your home is a big decision that should involve a meaningful amount of self-reflection. If you are contemplating making a Sheltie a part of your family, you should take into account that this is a somewhat sensitive breed.

Attachment

As I mentioned earlier, they quickly become attached to their “pack,” and will often choose one member in particular as their primary person. Consequently, this attachment usually means fierce protectiveness and quick distress in the presence of raised voices. Therefore, they are unlikely to thrive in an environment where there is frequent tension or conflict. A low-stress home environment for Shelties is preferred.

Beware babies and toddlers

Similarly, Shelties, although notoriously good with children of a certain age, are not recommended for anyone with babies and toddlers. They can be overly sensitive to sudden noises and unexpected movements, and in a new or unfamiliar environment can cause unpredictable behavior. In this context, the answer to the question “Is a Sheltie right for me?” is “no”.

Barking

Which leads us to the barking. Sheltie barking is part and parcel of owning a Sheltie. Most do it, some don’t, but if Shetland Sheepdog is on your short list of potential dogs, you need to accept it. They can be trained to curb their enthusiastic greetings, but the barking goes along with their protective nature and instinct to warn of impending danger, even though the perceived threat will most likely be your neighbor’s car door or a leaf in the wind!

Intuitive

Furthermore, Shelties are sensitive in other ways as well.

They are quite intuitive and feed off of your energy and mood. If you are up and excited, they will be up and excited, if you are down and glum, they will be down and glum. It also never ceases to amaze me how in-tune my girl is to our physical health.

Shellie understands when we are not well, or injured, and she loves to curl up with and rest her head on the leg or shoulder of the patient.

And it is remarkable how quickly both of our dogs react to a sound of distress. Young Bernie and I wrestle and play a lot of tug-o-war. As will happen when rough-housing, inadvertent contact with a tooth or claw causes expression of pain from me, and play stops instantly, just long enough to make sure that I am OK. So very devoted and caring.

Potential Shetland Sheepdog Health Problems

Upon the first investigation, it may appear that Shelties are prone to many health issues. Most of the issues we’ll explore are related to Shetland Sheepdog genetic diseases. However, you can avoid most of these issues with proper breeding and DNA testing. They can also be treated with medicine, diet, and a variety of physical therapies.

If you are hoping to adopt a Sheltie from a rescue, presumably one that may not have been responsibly bred, you want to be aware of some more serious potential genetic issues. On the same note, if you are interested in adopting a puppy from a breeder, you want to find a breeder that can, without hesitation, answer questions about genetic testing and the following issues.

Dermatomyositis (DMS)

DMS is inherited when the gene is present in both parents. A puppy born to parents with the specific markers is sure to have DMS which will typically present as skin lesions between eight weeks and six months of age. Although, dogs with an elevated risk may present later in life after experiencing an illness, receiving certain vaccines, or sustaining a physical or emotional trauma.

Symptoms of DMS include skin lesions, hair loss, and scaly skin predominantly in the face, outer ear, appendages, and tail tip. In more rare cases, muscle atrophy and inflamed esophagus can occur, and in the most extreme cases, lesions may become cancerous.

There is no cure for DMS. Therefore, selective breeding is the only way to prevent a Sheltie suffering from this painful condition. A responsible breeder will be able to answer your questions about DMS and, hopefully, as the testing is relatively new, show you genetic risk assessment results of the sire and dam.

Most dogs in rescue with DMS that are available for adoption will have had their condition thoroughly assessed with a treatment plan in place. Despite how a Sheltie may look with DMS, in many cases, it is treatable with medication, diet, and cautious exposure to sunlight. And beneath a possibly rough exterior, still exists a smart, loving, and loyal companion.

Multi-Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1)

Many herding breeds, including Shelties, are prone to the genetic mutation commonly known as MDR1. These are otherwise healthy dogs, however, they are sensitive to certain medications that in certain doses may cause neurological problems, or in the worst case, death.

Take a simple DNA swab test to eliminate this as a factor for your dog, or if need be, will allow your veterinarian to make the right choices for your dog’s medical treatment.


US Veterinary Doctor Nan Boss, talks about the MDR1 test with Australian Shepherd owner, Donna and her dog Macie

The most common drug treatment, found in many heartworm treatments, is Ivermectin and if your pup has not been tested for MDR1, monthly treatments with this ingredient should be avoided.

Von Willebrand Disease Type III (vWDIII)

This blood clotting disease, similar to hemophilia in humans, is another that can be completely avoided with proper testing and selective breeding. The test results will show:

While both parents must be carriers of vWDIII, for a puppy to be affected (resulting in bleeding gums, bloody noses, and blood in feces or urine), a carrier dog may be high-risk and special care needs to be taken during surgeries or in the case of severe injury. Again, a simple test will let your veterinarian know how to best treat your dog.

Various Joint and Eye Issues

There are a number of joint and eye issues that are common, yet often avoidable, in Shelties. Again, selective breeding is very important to avoid things like hip dysplasia, dislocating kneecaps, cataracts, detached retinas, and optic nerve abnormalities.

A good breeder will be able to tell you about a puppy’s lineage and will supply information about hip and eye tests.

The good news is that most of these conditions are treatable and some of the eye conditions if discovered early enough, may not develop into a serious condition. Ideally, dogs with a genetic predisposition to these problems will no longer be used for breeding.

Weight Gain/Hypothyroidism

Very often Shelties have difficulty self-regulating will often eat as much as they are given regardless of hunger.

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, particularly in light of their propensity for joint issues and arthritis. The Shetland Sheepdog energy level is high. Despite this, they will gain weight easily if overfed and, they will, as they get older, adopt your behaviors as their owner. If you are not getting up and getting exercise, they will follow your lead. “Is a Sheltie right for me?”, yes if you enjoy being in the great outdoors and exercising.

How to check for a healthy weight? With your hands, through all of that hair, you should just be able to feel the outline of their ribs without having to press too hard.

While it is not necessarily more common in Shelties, hypothyroidism can be the cause of weight gain, especially if it is accompanied by flaky skin, hair loss, a decrease in energy, or change in temperament. The important thing that Sheltie owners need to be aware of, that even many vets are not, is that results of a thyroid test for a Shetland Sheepdog should be on the high side of the normal range. This CISR blog post explains the condition better than any that I have seen, and I shared it with our vet when we had concerns about Shellie’s weight. Thankfully, for her, it wasn’t a thyroid issue, but a weak Mom/favorite treat issue.

Adopt, Don’t Shop – My Personal Sheltie Adoption Experience

As I mentioned earlier, my first Sheltie was a fully grown, fully trained adult dog. Kayla was included in the package that came with my marriage. After she, and a bit of time, passed, we met a man with a male and female Sheltie that had just had a litter. We went to his home “just to look”. At the time I didn’t know anything about genetic testing, responsible breeding or any of the myriad of issues that could potentially arise. My husband kept saying, “This doesn’t seem right. We should wait. We don’t know anything about these people…”

All I knew, and cared about for that matter, was that in a corral in the stranger’s backyard were five hyper, noisy, frantically jumping six-week-old male puppies and one tiny little girl puppy that quietly crept up and claimed us as her own. Four weeks later, Shellie came home with us and she is and has been the greatest joy of our lives.

What is the Shetland Sheepdog temperament
My gorgeous (OK I am biased!) 8 year old Sheltie Shellie camping

Adopting from a Sheltie rescue

Last year, after having her for more than eight years, reading entirely too much on Petmd.com, and spending too much time on the Facebook pages of Sheltie owners and rescues, we decided that it was time for a new addition to the family and that we were absolutely going to adopt from a Sheltie rescue.

We are blessed with what you might call a free-spirited life. We spend winters in Colorado and summers on the east coast with a lot of traveling (with the dogs), camping, and hiking in between. It never occurred to me that someone would think that we couldn’t offer a rescue dog an amazing life. In reality, many thought that, and my applications for adoption were repeatedly rejected. Finally, completely frustrated, I posted our story to one of the Sheltie Facebook groups and along with messages of encouragement, I got this from a woman involved in Sheltie rescue, “No reputable Sheltie rescue will ever allow someone with your lifestyle to adopt a dog.”

Ouch.

We moved on

After a bit more explanation, the initial sting wore off and while I don’t necessarily agree, I understand. Many, if not most, rescue dogs need stability, or might be a flight risk and need a fence, and many rescues prefer to have the animals that they adopt out remain in the same state. While a one size fits all set of policies might not work for us, I can appreciate the necessity. So, if you have one spacious home, in one state, with a sizable yard surrounded by a six-foot fence, the appropriate financial means, and the right family size and make-up, I encourage you to look into adopting from a Sheltie rescue.

What I believe happened to us, and I am sure happens to all dog people, we ended up with the dog that was always meant for us. I was contacted by a breeder that had read my story. Her current litter was going to be available at the right time, in the right location, with a bi-black boy (what we were hoping for) and at the exact price that my husband and I had already agreed worked for us.

how long do shetland sheepdogs live
Our little Bi-black boy puppy Bernie on his camp bed

What was most impressive about the whole transaction was, before I even had a chance to ask any questions, the breeder supplied me with pictures of the puppy and his dam and sire, records of all of the genetic testings from both parents, and the record of our boy’s first vet visit. That is what you are looking for in a responsible breeder.

Care and Ongoing Maintenance

1. Coat

Shelties are a double-coated breed.

They have an undercoat that keeps them warm in cold temperatures, and cooler in warmer temperatures.

Their smooth topcoat helps to repel water, which is great in the rain and snow, but it doesn’t expedite things in the tub.

I have heard from many Sheltie owners that their pooches love a bath and they learned to take care of all of their grooming needs (nails, foot, and rear hair trims), and laborious brush out…all for the love of the Sheltie! It is admirable, but beyond my pay grade, I think.

We have an amazing groomer, and he takes care of all of the big stuff every three months or so, more often in the spring, summer and fall.

Nail trims happen every few weeks and we just pop into the vet office to have it done. 

2. Shetland Sheepdog Shedding

Shelties shed…a lot! They are not hypoallergenic.

How bad is the Sheltie losing hair shedding scenario? Regardless of how much brushing you do, whether you do it inside or outside, or in a particular room in the house, there will be hair. Lots and lots of hair. On your way home from picking up your new Sheltie, stop and pick up a powerful vacuum cleaner.

3. Grooming

Shetland Sheepdog grooming, ugh If I were going to pick a downfall to having a Sheltie, grooming would be it!

Some people/dogs love it.

My two dogs don’t like to get wet, combed, or brushed.

At home, we bathe them twice a month with a high-quality oatmeal shampoo and conditioner, and at the suggestion of our professional groomer, we have a small slicker brush, wide-tooth metal comb, and an undercoat rake that we use two to three times a week. 

4. Diet

It is up to you as a new Sheltie parent to find what you believe is the best food for your dog. Make sure that puppies under a year are getting the nutrition that they require in a lower protein puppy food.

On average, depending on your Sheltie’s weight, a cup and a half of food per day is recommended. But this will depend heavily on your dog’s activity level.

5. Exercise needs

How much exercise does a Shetland Sheepdog need?

If they are getting a long walk or jog once a day (if your Sheltie is over one year old, that would do fine. Add a few episodes of rigorous play or fetch every day, (and you aren’t a sucker for the sad ‘treat please’ eyes), and your pup should be happy and maintain a healthy weight

Average Yearly Cost

Depending on where you live and where you fall on the Crazy Dog Lady Spectrum, the yearly cost of raising a Sheltie can vary significantly.

If you do a little poking around on the internet, you will see that most resources say somewhere between $1000 and $2000 per dog per year for a healthy companion animal inclusive of food, vet care, entertainment, and grooming.

From personal experience, that average seems on the low side, but we don’t have any actual children and what amounts to zero self-control when it comes to providing what we believe is the best for our dogs!

Buying Guide – What You Need To Know

1. Estimated price

You’ll notice in your initial search for a Sheltie puppy that the prices can vary greatly. The acceptable range is between $800 and $1200 for a companion pet. If you are interested in acquiring a dog for potential breeding or show, your search will have to be significantly more involved and priced accordingly. 

2. What to look for

If you have decided to bring a Sheltie into your family, investigating breeders and rescues will be your first step.

What to Look For in a Breeder

The best place to start your search is on the American Shetland Sheepdog Association breeder locator or the AKC Breeders of Merit list. Also, join one or more of the closed Sheltie Facebook pages where many breeders and enthusiasts will answer your questions and provide valuable information. 

  1. ASSA and/or AKC association
  2. Available health records and genetic testing of dam and sire
  3. Welcomes you to visit kennels and meet the new puppy and the dam and/or sire
  4. Asks you many questions about yourself, family, and intentions for the puppy
  5. Shows interest in knowing about and assisting with the development of the puppy
  6. A contract with provisions to return the puppy should it not work out with your family
  7. Puppies that are born and whelped in the house with the breeder
  8. Registration paperwork is available without delay
  9. Puppies stay with their Mom until at least eight weeks old
  10. Health guarantee

What to Look for in a Puppy

  1.  Active and confident
  2. Good posture
  3. Clear eyes, nose, and ears
  4. Clean, well-kept coat
  5. No distended belly
  6. A face that you need to love forever.

3. Coat colors of the Sheltie

Not only will you get information from Sheltie lovers in those Facebook groups I mentioned earlier, but you will also get to see thousands of pictures.

The diversity of colors can be overwhelming. For instance, the sable Shelties, the ones most commonly referred to as “mini collies” or as unknowing people often call my girl, “Little Lassie”, actually have four separate color groups ranging from Light  Sable to Red/Mahogany Sable. Sables have a mix of colors throughout their coat, while the similar looking Sheltie tricolors have more distinct sections of color on their body and have a dark face.

Shetland Sheepdog merles, those that you may notice have the patterned look like an Australian Shepherd, are very popular for their majestic look.

Bi-black Shelties, all black with white primarily on the mane and feet, are probably the least common, but they have gorgeous faces and expressions (this is biased personal testimony – just look at my Bernie).

Everyone has a personal preference in colors and markings, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor when browsing for your new family member. 

4. Possible Sheltie crossbreeds available

  • Shetland Sheepdog x Border Collie
  • Shetland Sheepdog x Kelpie
  • Papillon Sheltie mix
  • Shetland Sheepdog x Poodle (aka the Sheltie poo!)
  • Shetland Sheepdog x Pomeranian
  • Sheltie Golden Retriever mix
  • Shetland Sheepdog x Jack Russell
  • Shetland Sheepdog x Japanese Spitz
  • Sheltie Keeshond mix
  • Shetland Sheepdog x Miniature Schnauzer
  • Sheltie Yellow Lab mix
  • Shetland Sheepdog Yorkie mix

5. Good Sheltie dog names

Here are my personal favorites:

  • Finley, Blair, Roy, and Lachlan, (Scottish origin appropriate to the Sheltie breed)
  • Sam, Charlie, Eddie, and Alfie (if you like giving your dogs human names)
  • Scout (suitable if your Sheltie loves to find and herd)
  • Harris
  • Thunder or Rocky (suitable if your Sheltie isn’t the shy and retiring type)
  • Bella, Coco, Cassie, Ella, Heidi, Freya, Goldie and Honey for the ladies.

6. Useful Resources

United States

Illinois Sheltie Rescue

Time and time again, as I have been doing research for an article or concerns for my own dogs, the Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue website comes up with the answers.

Sheltie Planet

The Sheltie Planet is a fantastic website for everything Sheltie related, with an active forum to ask questions and get tips from Sheltie owners.

American Shetland Sheepdog Association

A wealth of information is available on the official American Shetland Sheepdog Association website, especially if you are considering getting your dog into the competition arena.

Sheltie owner clubs

On Facebook, you will find a large number of groups for Sheltie enthusiasts. Sheltie Connection, Sheltie Owners, and The Wonderful Sheltie are three good examples. Just remember that social media is what it is and you should always take the words and advice doled out by strangers with a grain of salt.

United Kingdom

The English Shetland Sheepdog Club

Can be found here.

Assortment of local Sheltie clubs across the UK

Go here.

Sheltie Planet

Covers the UK as well as a resource.

Where to rescue Shelties

Here’s a link to all the places in the UK where you can rescue a Shetland Sheepdog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Shetland Sheepdog temperament?

Generally friendly, sometimes reserved with strangers, fiercely loyal, and sensitive.

What’s the average Shetland Sheepdog size?

The combination of height and weight, on average, is 13″-16″ tall and 14 to 30 lbs.

How different from a regular Sheltie is a miniature Shetland Sheepdog?

For some people, a Miniature Sheltie is like the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow!! People who believe that miniature Shelties exist say they are 8″ -12″ tall, but this is a very touchy subject and you can get more info here and here. Or go into one of the above Facebook groups and ask where to buy a Miniature Sheltie, the purists go crazy:)

What is the difference between Sheltie and Miniature Collie?
Is a Sheltie the same as a Miniature Collie?

Some people refer to Shelties as miniature collies, but there is not actually a breed of dog known as Miniature Collie. Some people are intentionally breeding smallest Border Collies, breeding with smaller breeds or intentionally breeding dogs with the gene for dwarfism, to get a Mini Border Collie but breeding for size over health is a questionable practice. 

How long do Shetland Sheepdogs live?

The Sheltie lifespan is 12 to 14 years.

Do Shelties shed?

Yes, twice a year they will have a really good shed. Expect your vacuum to feel over-used. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Shetland Sheepdog shedding!

What is the Shetland Sheepdog’s intelligence rating?

Compatibility – Shetland Sheepdogs with cats?

Shelties can be friendly and playful with most other animals including cats. Our Shellie has encountered a few cats and ignores them completely. Bernie hasn’t seen a cat in his brief 7 months on this earth but he tries to herd everything and I can’t imagine a cat appreciating him at this point in time.

If someone considering getting a Sheltie already has a cat in the home, it seems like that decision is going to be left to the cat

Is a Sheltie the same as a Shetland Sheepdog?

Yes.

It’s Decision Time – Is a Sheltie The Right Dog For Me?

So what do you think? Leave us a comment below.

Author - Eileen

Eileen is dog mom to 2 Shetland Sheepdogs - Shellie and her pup Bernie. They enjoy a couple of walks each day plus 2-3 sessions with the frisbee or Chuck-it! She enjoys many road trips with her dogs. She has tent camped all over the U.S. The dogs love exploring new hiking trails. Regardless of the season, Eileen has plenty to share with you about outdoor dog life whether it's in the Rockies in winter, Massachusetts in the summer or Oregon and Minnesota in between. She loves to find new off-leash parks while traveling.

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