Gentleman of breeding dogs – Shetland Sheepdogs

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.

Herding style

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.

Shetland Islands

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.

Habitual barkers

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. Because you’ll be grooming them so much, we recommend picking up the best dog hair dryer so you can dry them off quickly.

Family pets

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. This website will help you learn more.

Lesser known sheep dog breeds

Sheep dogs are all about cattle duty. They herd and guard your cattle or livestock. They are capable of herding any domesticated animals. As home pets sheep dogs can even herd children. Their primary job is to take care of livestock in own territory and chase out any intruders, including cattle not belonging to its owner. Safeguarding duties against possible predators is included as well. Sheep dog is an umbrella term that includes livestock guardians or pastoral dogs and herding dogs. They can be indeed trained to carry out specific day to day tasks.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) classifies sheep dogs across working and herding groups. The British Kennel Club classifies them as Pastoral group. Not all sheep dogs are popular. People seldom realize the popular ones like German Shepherds as sheep dogs. They are the stars in silver screen and forces. Listed below are little known sheep dogs with amazing skills and strong personality.

  • Belgian Malinois:

AKC Popularity Rank #47/192

Long known for their herding capabilities, they are now into guarding people. When it comes to specific duties, this breed is next to none. It has become the first choice of dogs in military. It has been extensively used in law enforcement. Strong work ethic and super intelligence makes them a wholesome package for police duties. Their bomb sniffing noses have saved over thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Mechelaar as it is commonly referred to, is a real hero.

  • Old English Sheep dog:

AKC Popularity Rank #75/192

It looks like a large stuffed animal. These dogs are hard to resist. The old English Sheep dog is a gigantic breed. It played the titular role in Shaggy Dog. It brings a whole lot of attention, when you take it for walking. They were bred to herd cattle in Western England. The old English shepherds docked the tails to show old English sheepdogs as working dogs. It was a tactic used to escape taxes levied on pet owners in the 19th century England. This is how they got the name, Bobtail.

  • Hungarian Puli:

AKC Popularity Rank #159/192

Hungarian Puli or Puli as it is commonly called is one of the rarest breeds in the U.S. Only 150 Puli pups are registered annually with AKC. Compare that to 60,000 Golden Retriever pups registered every year. It has got a one of a kind looks. It looks like a giant mop. It has cords swinging all over the place when they move across the field. It is an ancient breed from Hungary, primarily bred to herd sheep. Its style of controlling herds involves bouncy movements and a high pitched bark.

Sheep dog supplies

Sheep dog supplies are easy to access worldwide. Invest on sheepdog whistles to help with the basic and advanced commands. Training sticks and paddles will be required, if you are preparing them for dog shows. If you are into using them for herding, shepherd crooks offer old school controlling options. Considering sheep dogs are mostly shedders, you will need hypoallergenic conditioners, shampoos and improvised grooming supplies.

Sheep Dogs: Curious case of German Shepherds

Where do we really begin about the German Shepherds? It’s the second most popular dog breed in the world. It’s easily amongst the top three most intelligent dogs. It’s one of the most athletic dog breed. When it comes to Hollywood, German Shepherds are the real K 9 movie stars. They have always been the director’s darlings. Their dominance in cinemas is emphasized till date with I am Legend, A Dog’s Purpose, Beverly Hills Chihuahua and more such movies in this millennium. From the silver screen to silver stars, they excel everywhere. They are by far the best police dogs.

Breed name

The name of the breed pretty much sums up its origins and purpose. It is an all-purpose working breed. It belongs to the herding group and it’s the most popular sheep dog. It is one of the very few breeds whose officially recognized name includes ‘dog’. It helps understand whether you are talking about the dog or a human. It is also called as Alsatian in the U.K, due to the English’s hesitancy on calling their dogs ‘German’. Following suite many international kennel clubs officially used ‘Alsatian’ till 2010. Other common names include Berger Allemand, Deutscher Schäferhund and Schäferhund.

Loyal dogs

Its intelligence is in the same level as its noble character. Without a doubt, it is a large and muscular dog. The combination of brains and brawns makes them perfect police dogs. German Shepherds make up to a count of 8000 deputy dogs in the U.S. Their loyalty makes them practically fearless. They don’t hesitate to take a bullet for you. To associated police and military personnel, they are more than just dogs. Sometimes, they expose themselves to grave dangers, saving lives of our officers. They share such connect with their handlers. Their loyalty cannot be compromised for fear or favor.

Brief History

The German cavalry officer, Max Von Stephanitz registered the first German shepherd in 1899. It was a result of breeding focused to develop the perfect service breed. The army captain liked the utility and intelligence on offer. Inarguably, it descends from a lineage of German herding dogs. It still works as fine sheep dogs in most scenarios. Von Stephanitz played a role in making it the preferred breed for police and military worldwide .It was in that time the usage of its common nick, GSD was popular. GSD stands for German Shepherd Dog. GSD announced themselves by large in silver screens by starring in Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart.

The wolf connection…

Though it’s a true sheepdog, the German shepherd is bred with versatility. Their dense undercoat makes them adaptable to any climate. They come in three different colors – black & tan, all black and even all white. Its pointed ears alerts to the slightest of sound. Enjoy looking at their floppy ears all you want, when they are puppies. Floppy ears in toddler years and pointed ears in adulthood are also noticed in wolves. Their bushy curved tails makes the rumors of its wolf-connection pretty strong. For fact, Dutch breeders tried crossing wolves and German Shepherds. The resulting dogs just couldn’t be domesticated.

Bearded Collie – Showpiece of Sheep dogs

A lot of us have seen this dog in the movies. It is no alien to Hollywood either. Tim Allen acted along one in the Shaggy Dog. It was casted as Tiger, the family dog in Brady Bunch, a popular TV series. The breed is none other than the Bearded Collie. It closely resembles Old English Sheepdogs. People confuse this breed with so many other breeds. If you refer to it by breed’s name, most people would say they haven’t seen one. One way to distinguish it from the Old English Sheepdogs is by looking at the tails. Beardies have a wagging long tails while the oldies don’t.

Soft looks

Unlike its cousin, the Border Collies, Beardies have soft and expressive eyes. These are dogs that suits farms and apartments alike. To add to the charms, the color of their eyes matches their coat, more often than not. By default, these dogs look like art. They weigh around the 50 pound mark. The oval shaped paws improve its cuteness quotient. They are bred from European herding breeds. By wide claims, Magyar Komondor, a central European breed and Polish lowland sheepdogs form its ancestry. It is often dubbed as the Highland Collie or the Mountain Collie or the Hairy Mou-ed Collie.

Brief history

The earliest records of Bearded Collies were documented in the 18th century. The first ever records confirms of its royalty in Scotland. They were popular in south of Scotland after the fall of Victorian Era. Owing to its coat, these working dogs quickly became show dogs. For fact, it was registered as working dogs with AKC in 1977. When it comes to coat color, they are the opposite of Golden Retrievers. The puppies are born with dark coats. The coat greys out as they grow. The shade may keep changing throughout life barring central essence of their birth color.

Bouncing Collie

Bearded collies jump a lot. It looks more like they are bouncing. They demand a lot of space, indoors or outdoors. The strong will makes training mandatory. Beardies are the tricky genies. You need to put them to a task. Else, they find one, which may not be to your liking. They need to be introduced to grooming right from puppyhood. Daily brushing and combing will be required. Complete bathing and brushing will be needed every couple of months. They have a lifespan of 12-14 years. They are prone to depression, heart issues and dehydration.

Summing it up…

Bearded Collies are the showmen of sheep dogs. Without a shadow of doubt, Beardies make awesome family pets. Due to tad rough nature they can’t be left with children unsupervised. They do harm only when they are in playful mode. As a rule of thumb, don’t place two types of babies together. These generally very healthy dogs need plenty of space. Though grooming costs a lot, it’s worth every penny spent. With proper training and supervision, it’s the perfect pet for your family. It longs for the companionship and affection.

Border Collie – Best Blend of Brains and Brawns

What do you think is the most intelligent dog on the planet? Nine out of 10 people would have got it wrong. That’s how underrated this breed really is. The breed of wits is the Border Collie. You don’t see much of them in the movies. It is only the 38th popular breed in the U.S, owing to a couple of reasons. Firstly it is such an underrated breed in the world of dogs. Secondly, this breed is not for the first time dog owners. It belongs to the herding group and it is a true sheep dog. AKC describes them as ‘a remarkably bright workaholic dog’ breed.

Most intelligent breed is a sheep dog!”

#1 intelligent dog breed

Border Collie is a super smart dog. It scores out on top on all dog intelligence rankings. Poodle and German Shepherds, another sheep dog usually followOne of a kind physiques on 2 and 3. Nevertheless, Border collie is heads and shoulders above these breeds on intelligence. It doesn’t score that well as a house pet. The long and short answer is it is not a breed for first timers. If you don’t know to handle this breed, it can create rampage in your house. When you know what you are doing, it is such an easy breed to train. They turn out to be such useful dogs after proper training.

Brains and brawns

Border’ in its name refers to the border between England and Scotland, where these dogs were first bred. Shepherds bred this through generations to create the perfect sheep dogs. There is no breed to beat it at herding duties. It’s not just about brains, Border Collie is brawns too. It is such an athletic breed owing to its muscular supple body. It was bred for strength and stamina. It loves to run, herd and chase animals. It is a genuine hyper animal. These dogs really bring that wild to you. They don’t settle for some cuddle time before the work is done.

Intimidating looks

Its fierce stare sends down shivers on anyone. The gaze from their intense eye comes handy in keeping livestock in check. It speaks to your cattle in the language they understand – intimidation. When it focuses on a spot, it’s impossible to break that concentration. Ensure you never become the subject of its stare. It’s not the bite, but the menacing stare will cause more damage. They are inept at accomplishing complex feats. They work well with humans and works well solo. They redefine the usually thrown around tagline – man’s best friend.

One of a kind physique

Not just the mental prowess, the physical shape gives the breed a distinct edge. It moves swifter in its crouching position. It moves more like a cat with motive. The space between the shoulder blades explains its unique movement. It allows Collie to control the herd to utmost precision by making slightest of adjustments. Not many breeds are always on the job like Border Collies. They excel at all sorts of dog sport. They defy laws of gravity, when chasing Frisbees. They perform endless tricks to amuse anyone. They can be trained for agility, obedience and even math (at a canine level!).

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