Shetland Sheepdog: What You Need To Know

shetland sheepdog

A darling dog with a wonderful personality, the Shetland Sheepdog is one of the most versatile and beloved dogs in the world. It’s a dog that is loyal and kind, loving and affectionate, and a lot of fun. Those who have owned or own a Shetland Sheepdog will tell you that this is a breed that really does encompass all the good things that make up a dog. We love the breed because of its vibrant personality and its wonderful affection, but it’s not the right dog for all families. Some are better off loving Shetland Sheepdogs from afar and others are going to find that the breed is wonderful to have at home. What type of family are you? The perfect family for a Shetland Sheepdog or the kind of family that just is not right for this amazing breed?

Personality and Temperament

The Shetland Sheepdog is one that has a very eager to please personality. For some, this is a trait that can become a bit of a nuisance. For others, this is something that is wonderful to have. A dog like this is going to be very docile, but alert. It knows that the family is the most important part of its life, but it also knows that there is nothing more important in life than being good to your humans. The Shetland Sheepdog is going to provide your family with a lot of affection, as this is the type of dog that needs its people to be happy. It is not a breed with any aggression, but it does make a wonderful watchdog as nothing gets past this breed.

Something that is very interesting about the Shetland Sheepdog is the fact that it is the type of dog that really pays a lot of attention to tone. What this means is that if your dog can sense that you are not using a firm or commanding tone with giving instructions, it’s far less likely to want to actually listen to you. This breed really does need a firm and consistent leader to call its own or it will not do well in your home. It’s a breed that loves to be kept busy with something to do, and it’s great with kids. However, the Shetland Sheepdog loves to chase anything from smaller animals to you to your kids to vehicles, so it’s very important that you do not allow your dog to end up near the road where it might be tempted to take off after a vehicle. Too many animals lose their lives making a mistake such as this one, and it’s dangerous.

The Shetland Sheepdog does not like humans it does not know, and it might bark at them to prevent them from touching him. It’s a dog that really just prefers to be around people it knows and loves, and that is pretty much the extent of what it wants in life. Really, though, who can blame him?

Lifestyle and Expectation

Shetland Sheepdogs need a lot of activity and exercise to keep them happy, so you might want to proceed with caution if you plan on putting yours in a small house. They are a dog that is very active inside as well as outside, and that means that you will either need to keep this dog very busy or teach it to leave your home alone when it feels the need to misbehave. It’s probably a good idea to have a larger home with a yard, but it’s not mandatory and the Shetland Sheepdog will do just fine when you put it in a smaller home as long as it has a job or something to keep it busy.

As far as size is concerned, it’s not a huge dog. The Shetland Sheepdog stands around 16 inches on average and weighs around 27 pounds. Males are, like most breeds, slightly bigger than females in many cases. This is a breed that gains weight very easily and can become obese in no time. Since we all know that being overweight can cause other health problems, it’s a good idea to regulate the diet your Shetland Sheepdog enjoys so that you are able to keep him as healthy as possible.

Additionally, you will want to do a thorough check on the family history of any Shetland Sheepdog you want to make your own. Many of them are prone to inherited diseases such as eye issues and hypothyroidism, so it does mean that you need to check to see if these are health issues that run in your dog’s family. Furthermore, this is a breed with sensitivity to some medications, so you’ll want to know this information ahead of time as it can make treating your dog for even simple procedures a bit of a pain. This is a dog that lives around 15 years, and it’s not too difficult to groom. It does require regular brushing if you want to avoid your home becoming a mess of dog hair, but that’s about it in terms of keeping this dog looking good. Most people are unaware of that, and their misconception prevents them from really wanting this dog as much. It’s not a good reason to avoid a Shetland Sheepdog, however.

Breed History

From the Border Collie to the Rough Collie to the Shetland Sheepdog, this is a breed that has been around the block in terms of its family history. This beautiful dog has a long history and it begins on a Scottish Island called Shetland. This is a dog that has been around since at least 1700, used to heard and keep flocks. Because it is a very gentle breed, the Shetland Sheepdog was used in those days for herding very small animals. Today, it’s a hugely popular companion dog all over the world, and it’s used far less often for actually herding and flocking animals now than it ever was in the past. It’s a very smart dog, and it does love a job.

Photo by Getty Images 

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