The Shetland Sheepdog is a small, alert, rough-coated, long-haired working dog. Shelties make great family pets. They can be very active and playful, and they can be just as happy sleeping at your feet when you are busy with other things. They do not require a lot of exercise... usually a daily walk or two will be enough. Most Shelties are good with children but there are some that would prefer to be left alone and will go off to a place where they will be left alone. Shelties can be very protective of their families, especially children of the family. Although they are intensely loyal, affectionate, and responsive to their owners, they may be reserved towards strangers.
- Shelties come in a wide variety of coat colour variations. Though these variations stem from two basic colours, sable and black.
- Sable color ranges from golden through red, to deep mahogany with an overlay of black. The most common coat color is the Mahogany Sable.
- Generally, the pure sable dogs are lighter and clearer in color, while the black-factored dogs will be heavily shaded with black.
- The TriColor dog is basically black, with tan points on the eyes, on the cheeks, and usually on the legs. TriColors also have varying amounts of the traditional white markings on the face, collar, legs, and tail tip.
- The Bi-Black Sheltie is black with white markings (no tan).
- The Blue Merle Sheltie can range from silver to steel-blue with varying amounts of black and tan patches throughout. Blue Merles have the characteristic tan markings on the face and legs.
- Shelties are usually easy to train. They like to learn and please their owners.
- Shelties exhibit some rather unusual behaviors at times and if one is not aware of these, they can be somewhat alarming.
- Many Shelties grin... thatís right! Like a big smile on a person, Shelties sometimes bare their teeth in a huge grin. Donít mistake this for an aggressive curling of the upper lip although it can look a bit like it. The situation it occurs in should tell whether it is a grin or a snarl. When Shelties are happy and relaxed or playing, they may grin. Some just smile, with their lips closed.
- Some Shelties talk to their people in whines, grunts, growns, and even quiet growls, especially when being petted.
- Another unique trait that some Shelties have is to cross their front feet when laying down. Some use their front feet like hands to hold onto things such as chewies or to catch frisbees.
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- Shelties want to be with you and are not happy when left alone for long periods of time.
- Shelties originated from the Shetland Isles near Scotland. Like many of the shetland breeds they were bred smaller and hardier to suit the conditions. They were a working dog and primarily herded and protected the livestock.
- Since Shelties were originally herding dogs, many still exhibit behaviors related to herding such as biting and barking at moving feet or brooms, mops and vacuum cleaners, circling people or objects, and chasing moving objects such as other animals, birds, planes and cars. Obviously, chasing cars can be fatal so donít allow your Sheltie to do this.
Last updated July 27,2001