Celebrating the Sheltie

Did you know that today, June 1st, is International Sheltie Day? Shelties are really cute pups, and they deserve a day in the Spotlight. They are descended from the Rough Collie, and originated from the Shetland Isles, which are also known for being the home of the adorable Shetland pony. A local veterinarian discusses the Sheltie in this article.


The Sheltie belongs to the AKC Herding Group. Like the other herding dogs, the Sheltie is a very intelligent and obedient dog, and a very Good Boy. Energetic and frisky, the Sheltie is a lot of dog in a pretty small package. They rarely grow over about 16 inches high, and usually weigh under 25 pounds. That small size is not a coincidence. Food was often scarce on the isolated Shetland Islands. It only made sense for people to breed animals that would eat less than their larger counterparts. This also explains why Shetland ponies are so small. 

The Sheltie was originally bred to help farmers herd livestock. Their natural excellence at this earned them the nickname ‘Toonie Dog.’ (The word ‘Toon’ is a Shetland slang word for ‘farm’.) These sweet pooches are fairly long-lived, and can get to be about 12-14 years old. 


While we know that Fido is from the Shetland Islands, the rest of his history is rather obscure. No one is sure exactly when the Sheltie’s ancestor, the Collie, first set paw on the Shetland Isles, because his arrival predates or was left out of written records. We do know that the Sheltie was first welcomed into the AKC in 1909, under the name Shetland Collie. Professional Collie breeders objected to that moniker. As a result, Fido soon became known as the Shetland Sheepdog.


This is one area where Shelties really shine. They are extremely loyal to their humans. In fact, they were often referred to as shadows, because they stuck so close to their owners. These lovable pooches are also very clever. Proper training is a must! Although most Shelties today are pets, rather than farm dogs, they often do excel at doggy sports, like herding and tracking, and they can also make great therapy dogs. 


Shelties are very playful and active pups, so they need lots of exercise. That said, they can do fine in apartments, as long as they get plenty of walks. Proper diet is also important, as are grooming and dental care. Ask your vet for more information. 

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

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