Did you know that today, June 1st, is International Sheltie Day? These adorable pups are descended from the Rough Collie. They originated from the Shetland Isles, which are also known for being the home of the equally adorable Shetland pony. Fido definitely deserves some time in the Spot light. A local veterinarian discusses the Sheltie in this article.
The Sheltie is a part of the AKC’s Herding Group. Like other herding dogs, Fido is intelligent and obedient, and is usually a very Good Boy. They are fairly long-lived, and can get to be about 12-14 years old. Playful and active, the Sheltie is a big dog in a small package. Shelties usually weigh less than 25 pounds, and rarely get more than about 16 inches high. That small size is no coincidence. Food was often scarce on the isolated Shetland Islands. It just made sense for people to breed animals that would eat less than their larger counterparts. This is likely also why Shetland ponies are so small. Shelties were originally bred to help farmers herd their animals. Their natural excellence at this earned them the nickname ‘Toonie Dog.’ (The word ‘Toon’ is an old Shetland word for ‘farm’.)
This is one area where the Sheltie really shines. These sweet pups are extremely loyal to their owners. In fact, they were often referred to as shadows, because they stuck so close to their humans. They are also very clever, so proper training is a must!
We know that Shelties come from the Shetland Islands. However, the rest of their history is somewhat more obscure. No one knows exactly when Fido’s ancestor, the Collie, first set paw on the Shetland Isles, as his arrival predates and/or was left out of written records. More recently, the AKC welcomed the Sheltie into its ranks in 1909, under the name Shetland Collie. Collie breeders objected to that moniker, and Fido soon became known as the Shetland Sheepdog.
Shelties are very playful and energetic, so they need lots of exercise. That said, they can do fine in apartments, as long as they get plenty of walks. Fido will also appreciate regular trips to the dog park. While most Shelties today are pets, rather than farm dogs, these guys often do excel at doggy sports, like herding and tracking. They can also make great therapy dogs!
Do you have questions or concerns about Shelties? Contact us, your animal clinic, today!