The Shetland Sheepdog (often known as the “Sheltie”) originated in the 1800s. Its ancestors were from Scotland, where they worked as herding dogs. These early dogs were fairly small, about 20 inches in height, and later developed into the current Shetland Sheepdog. It is said that other dogs came into the mix as well, which helped produce this breed, namely the early Collie, the Iceland dog, and the King Charles Spaniel (black and tan version).
Because they were isolated from the rest of the world, the Shetland Sheepdog was able to breed to its original form in a short amount of time compared to other dog breeds who might have taken decades, or even centuries, of mixed breeding to form their current AKC (American Kennel Club) recognition. England became fond of these animals when the British naval fleet used to take puppies back after visiting the islands.
In the beginning were referred to as “Toonie dogs” which made reference to their local Shetland farming area. Sometime in the early 1900s the name was termed “Shetland Collies”. However, Collie enthusiasts were not very fond of his name so they changed it to the Shetland Sheepdog.
This dog breed is a very intelligent animal that is considered to be extremely bright, a bit on the sensitive side, and always willing to please. Shetland Sheepdogs learn very quickly which makes them easily trainable. They are very obedient dogs and just as equally gentle, amiable, and make great companions to any family, especially those with small children.
Upkeep and Maintenance
This dog is very energetic, and it must therefore have daily exercise to maintain its physical energy output needs. Brisk walks throughout the day on a leash, short jogs, or playful training sessions are all perfect ways to spend time with the Sheltie while getting the dog its required exercise.
Shetland Sheepdogs are best to be kept indoors with its family, as it longs for companionship and human contact at all times. However, this dog can sleep outdoors if necessary, so long as the climate is decent. It is just not recommended for its stable emotional happiness.
As a member of the herding group, the Shetland Sheepdog has a lifespan of a 14 years when it maintains good health. Veterinarians suggest that dog owners have their Sheltie dogs specifically tested for DNA for vWD, hip dysplasia, eye problems, and thyroid issues. The only major health concern that is common for this dog breed is dermatomyositis. Minor issues to lookout for include allergies, patellar luxation, CHD, PRA, CEA, hypothyroidism, trichiasis, Legg-Perthes, and cataracts.
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