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Arch Creek Animal Clinic
Call us today! 305-945-1223
Give us a call today! 305-945-1223

15372 W Dixie Hwy, 
North Miami Beach,
FL 33162

Celebrating the Sheltie

June 1 2021

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!

Our Advice on Celebrating the Sheltie in 2024

What are the typical personality traits of Shelties?

Shelties are known for their exceptional loyalty and intelligence, often forming close bonds with their owners and being described as canine shadows due to their tendency to stay near their humans. Their cleverness makes them highly trainable, though this also means they require consistent mental stimulation to stay engaged. Shelties are inherently playful and energetic, thriving on activity and enjoying dog sports. This breed’s herding background contributes to their alertness and responsiveness, making them not only affectionate family members but also adept at tasks requiring focus and agility.

What kind of exercise needs does a Sheltie have?

Shelties are active and energetic dogs with significant exercise needs to maintain their health and happiness. They thrive on regular, varied activities that cater to both their physical and mental well-being. Daily walks, ample playtime, and opportunities for running are essential. Given their herding background, Shelties excel in and enjoy dog sports such as agility, herding trials, and tracking, which also provide excellent mental stimulation. While they can adapt to apartment living, ensuring they receive enough exercise is crucial to prevent boredom and promote overall well-being.

What are some common health problems Shelties might be prone to?

Shelties may be predisposed to certain health issues, including genetic conditions such as Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and hip dysplasia. Early detection of hip dysplasia is crucial for managing the condition and maintaining your Sheltie’s quality of life. Learn more about the early signs of hip dysplasia to watch out for. Shelties can also be at risk for dermatomyositis, an inherited autoimmune skin and muscle disease, and von Willebrand’s disease, a bleeding disorder. Due to their dense double coats, they require regular grooming to prevent matting and skin problems. Additionally, Shelties may experience thyroid issues and epilepsy. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of these conditions, ensuring a healthy life for these active and loyal dogs.

How much grooming does a Sheltie usually need?

Shelties require regular grooming due to their dense double coats. Weekly brushing is essential to prevent matting, remove loose fur, and distribute natural skin oils, contributing to coat health and reducing shedding. During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary to manage increased hair loss. Additionally, their ears should be checked and cleaned to prevent infections, and nails trimmed regularly to avoid discomfort. Attention to dental hygiene, with routine teeth brushing, is also important for overall health. Our veterinary dentistry services can help keep your Sheltie’s teeth healthy and prevent dental issues. Proper grooming not only keeps Shelties looking their best but also supports their physical well-being.

Are Shelties good with children and other pets?

Shelties are generally good with children and other pets, thanks to their gentle and friendly nature. Their intelligence and herding instincts can make them particularly attentive and protective towards kids, often displaying patience and playfulness. However, their herding behavior might lead them to gently herd children, which should be monitored to ensure it remains gentle and does not become bothersome. With proper socialization, Shelties can also get along well with other dogs and pets in the household, making them excellent companions for families with multiple pets.

Do you have questions or concerns about Shelties? Contact us, your animal clinic in North Miami, FL, today!