Shetland Sheepdog

  • Overview

    Shetland Sheepdogs became popular as people began to look for a smaller and slightly more sensitive version of the Collie. Even though Shelties only weigh about 20 pounds, they are full of energy and a strong desire to please their owners. They remain a favorite family dog because of their cheerfully obedient nature.

    Shetland Sheepdogs make loyal, affectionate companions who live to please their owners and spend time with their families. They are agile, diligent dogs who love to play. Their beautiful, thick coats are easy to groom at home. Shelties make excellent, low-maintenance family pets with some love and attention from their owners.

  • Personality

    These dogs still make excellent companions and display favorable personality traits. These small dogs are bright, energetic dogs who love to immerse themselves in activities and find a job to do. They can easily adjust to the activity level of their family, but they prefer to be busy and love to burn off energy by exercising and playing. They are happiest when they are working for their owners. If they are not kept busy or entertained, they bark excessively, although they are not naturally mischievous.

    Shelties are responsive and attentive to their owners, but they can be shy and reserved with strangers or other dogs. They will learn to be friendly and less timid if they are socialized from a young age. These dogs are happiest being constant companions to their owners. They have a tendency to follow their owners around the house and wait attentively for them to return home.

  • Coat Care

    Shetland Sheepdogs have beautiful, abundant double coats. Their dense undercoat stands up off the body and gives the coat its thick appearance. Their long, straight outer coat is a harsh texture. Their coats come in black, blue merle and sable. They are marked with white or tan throughout. Dogs who are excessively white will not be popular in the show ring, but this is not a breeding fault.

Brushing

The Sheltie's long coat requires frequent brushing so it does not tangle. Take special care with the soft hair behind the ears and the harsh hair that makes up the Sheltie's frilly mane. Use a pin brush and start at the body, brushing slowly all the way down the hair to protect the coat's texture. Never brush a dry coat — spray your Sheltie with a light dusting of water before brushing so his coat doesn't break. Shelties shed profusely once a year if they have been spayed. If you are breeding your Sheltie and she is not spayed, she will shed even more excessively twice a year. Males have thicker coats and a more impressive mane, but they will only shed once a year. Shedding Shelties need to be brushed more frequently to remove dead hair and help the hair stay healthy.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

Heavy coated dogs should be bathed about once every three months. Their coats are naturally oily and repellent, so they don't tend to develop an odor, but if they track their coat through the mud, they may need to be bathed more frequently. The coat should end up fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Their heavy coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with heavy coats generally require routine trimming around the face, ears, feet and behind to help them stay comfortable. You do not need to clip or trim the body hair because it acts as insulation for your dog in cold weather and helps cool him off in warm weather.  It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove any tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, if needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Small dogs, like Pomeranians, and dogs with extremely profuse coats, like Newfoundlands, American Eskimo Dogs and Keeshonds, have ears that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Small dogs like Pomeranians and Pekingese, and dogs with white coats like American Eskimo Dogs and Samoyeds, are prone to developing tear stains around their eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.