Don’t blame yourself if you mistook it for a Border collie. Shetland Sheepdogs or shelties closely resemble the menacing Border Collies. Nevertheless, they are a lot gentler and a whole lot of cute. They are often dubbed as miniature collies, prairie dogs, fairy dogs, any of which doesn’t exactly describe them. If it was not for a sheltie to inspire, we wouldn’t have had Nintendogs, a real time pet simulation game developed by Nintendo. It is featured as a starter breed in the game, along with Chihuahua, Boxer, Yorkshire terrier, German shepherd and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
These small and cute dogs are indeed sheep dogs. They have their unique gentle style of herding. They can herd anything from goose to sheep. They can herd babies and even adults. Their intense working instincts compel them to herd you from room to room. Their speedy movements and barking comes to much use, while herding cattle. They nip at the legs of the cattle to keep them in line. Being the sixth most intelligent breed, they easily familiarize with even the advanced herding commands.
The have their origins in Shetland Islands, the northern most point of United Kingdom. Though they are Scottish dogs they are not entirely related to the corgis and collies. There’s a reason why they are small in size compared to Border Collies. The intense cold in Shetland Islands often leads to acute food scarce. Bred to smaller size, they can easily adapt to the conditions. It is the same reason why Shetland ponies are smaller than the usual size.
The Shelties can only be of trouble when they bark or shred. They are characterized by their excessive baring. You don’t want to consider bringing one home if you have neighbors who mind. These are very high energy dogs. When they find an outlet to express all that energy, the barking gets low. They tend to gently nip on anything that moves. That’s not a behavioral problem, but something it was bred to do.
The long, beautiful double coat will be the first thing to catch your attention. It comes in half a dozen different colors – bi-black, bi-blue, blue-merle, tri-color and sable. . The outer coat is thick, coarse and water repellent. The pointy foxy face and short perky ear compliments its lackluster coat and vice versa. Their coat has to be brushed frequently. They are tad heavy shedders. The double coats tend to mat and cause skin problems, if not properly combed.
Shelties fit so naturally in any environment. You need to take care of the excessive barking. With proper training, you can bring down the barking and nipping. These high energy dogs are well suited to active families. Shelties live to play and learn a trick or two every day. They are as obedient as they are agile. Their super intelligence comes handy while training. Families need to give certain amount of time to play with them and engage them in dog sport.
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