Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Shetland Sheepdog: Are Shelties Miniature Versions Of A Rough Collie?

Sheltie Dog History, Intelligence, Temperament and Care Tips!

Shetland Sheepdogs may not be the as well-known around the world as compared to other Dog breeds, but this does little to change the fact that they are still very much loved by many. Perhaps we might have even mistaken Shetland Sheep Dogs for a Collie— ever wondered why this "Collie" seems so much smaller in size? 
Beautiful Sheltie with cute bandana
via ZeldatheSheltie on Tumblr

Fun Fact #1      The Shetland Sheepdog breed was given the name Shetland Collie initially. Today, they are also known as Sheltie for short.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shelties are a breed of Dog from the Shetland Islands in Scotland best known for purpose with herding. While they were originally given the name Shetland Collie in the past, this caused a long standing dispute with Rough Collie breeders— which brought about the change of the breed's name to Shetland Sheepdog, as we know of today. Understandably, it wasn't just because the names were clashing, Shetland Sheepdogs looked remarkably similar to Rough Collies too. Shelties like other animals from Shetland Islands (i.e. Ponies and Sheeps), were bred to cope and withstand against the harsh weather conditions on the islands.

Fun Fact #2      The OG sheep-herding Shetland dogs were regarded as a Spitz-type dog. They no longer exist as their jobs were taken over by Border Collies. 
Shetland Sheepdogs personality
via KyleandKodi on Tumblr
Although the animals are miniatures of their own kind, Shetland Sheepdogs are not a smaller version to the Rough Collie. The original "concoction" is still shrouded in mystery— breeds involved included the Scottish Collie, King Charles Spaniel, Pomeranian and also the much rumoured Border Collie. Only much later were small Rough Collies added to the equation by James Loggie, contributing to the Sheltie version we see today. In 1909, the Shetland Sheepdog breed got recognized by the EKC (English Kennel Club), and in 1911, by the AKC (American Kennel Club). 

Fun Fact #3      Did you know, the modern Shetland Sheepdog we know of today is uncommon in their native lands? Interestingly, they are also not used for sheep-herding purposes!   

What Does A Shetland Sheepdog Look Like?

From mere photographs of individual breeds, its is rather inevitable to mistake a Sheltie for a Rough Collie and sometimes, colour variations can have them confused with other breeds like the Border Collie, and even the Australian Shepherd Dog.

How do you tell a Sheltie from a Rough Collie if they look so similar?

Sheltie Size — A Shetland Sheepdog is a small Dog breed. In size comparison itself, the Rough Collie is way larger than a Sheltie— also the reason why Shelties are thought of as a miniature version of the Rough Collie.
Size comparison of a Sheltie and Rough Collie
Left: Sheltie Right: Rough Collie — via Wikipedia

  • Sheltie — Average weight 5 to 11 kgs, standing 33 to 41cm tall.
  • Rough Collie — Average weight 22 to 31 kgs, standing 55 to 66 cm tall.

Sheltie Features — Double coat made up of a soft undercoat, and rough guard hairs above. Bushy plush tails hang low most of the time, and are only lifted when alert or excited. Only Blue Merle Shelties may have Blue eyes, or Odd-eyes (one Blue, one Dark), all other Sheltie colour variations have brown or dark eyes.
Blue Merle Blue Eye Sheltie
via Pinterest
Fun Fact #4      The double coat of a Sheltie is useful in all weather conditions— rough guard hairs are water-resistant, while the soft undercoat provides just the right insulation

Sheltie Colours  Sable, Tri-colour and Blue Merle are three colour variations of Shetland Sheepdogs. These variations can range from Brown shades to Golden and even Reddish-brown with White and/or Tan. Predicting how much White will appear on a Sheltie is not as simple as breeding two Shelties with minimal White— a coloured variant Pup is possible between two predominantly White Shetland Sheepdogs too.
What does a Sheltie look like?
via RockyFarr on Flickr
Fun Fact #5      Shelties with more than 50% White on their coats do not fair well in scoring at Dog shows, lesser White is much preferred with Judges for breed standards.

Grooming A Sheltie

The beautiful plush coat of a Shetland Sheepdog sheds quite substaintially. Grooming maintenance requires copius brushing and combing, preferably 2 to 3 times per week— soft undercoats are prone to matting, pay closer attention to areas around the joints, ears, neck and tail.

How to groom a Sheltie
via SheltieBeauties on Blogger
Trim their nails so they do not get too long and start clacking on floors, and swab out dirt build-up in the ears and around the eyes with a dog-friendly cleanser and cotton balls if necessary. To keep your Sheltie's coat healthy and ease up your grooming efforts, visit a professional Groomer at least once every one or two months.

HOT TIP      Owners are advised not to opt for shaving— once shaved, the coat of a Sheltie may not regrow as smoothly to it's original state. Shaving is also reported to be harmful for their skin.

Shetland Sheepdog Personality and Temperament

Known as one of the most loyal and ranked highly for intellegence, Shelties fair really well with training and are often top choices in competions involving agility and obedience. Walks and playtime keeps a Sheltie feeling happy and purposeful. Active, playful, and loving, Shelties are also favourites to families. 
Shetland Sheepdog temperament
via KyleandKodi on Tumblr
It almost seems like there isn't anything a Shetland Sheepdog can't provide as a companion— they're make great therapy Dogs too! Topped off with an even temperament, they'd make a great addition to any home. With lots of love and proper care, a Sheltie's average lifespan ranges from 12 to 13 years.

Fun Fact #6      Shelties are reportedly one of the fastest at grasping a command as compared to other Dog breeds. Got a farm? Don't forget their innate ability for Sheepherding! A friend, companion and working breed is a Shetland Sheepdog

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