Did you know that today, June 1st, is International Sheltie Day? Shelties are super adorable and affectionate pets. These cute pooches originated from the Shetland Isles, which are also known for being the home of the adorable Shetland pony. Fido definitely deserves some time in the Spot light. Read on as a local vet discusses the Sheltie.
The Sheltie is descended from the Rough Collie, and is a part of the Herding group. Like the other dogs in this group, the Sheltie is very intelligent and obedient, and is just a very Good Boy in general. Playful and active, the Sheltie is a big pup in a small package. They rarely get more than about 16 inches tall, and usually weigh under 25 pounds. Of course, Fido’s small size is not a coincidence. Food was traditionally often scarce on the isolated Shetland Islands. It just made sense for people to breed animals that wouldn’t eat as much as their larger counterparts. This also explains why Shetland ponies are so small. The Sheltie was originally bred to help farmers herd their livestock. Fido’s excellence at this earned him the nickname ‘Toonie Dog.’ (The word ‘Toon’ is a Shetland slang word for ‘farm’.) Shelties are fairly long-lived, and can get to be about 12-14 years old.
We know that Shelties come from the Shetland Islands, but the rest of their history is a bit more obscure. No one knows exactly when Fido’s ancestor, the Collie, first set paw on the Shetland Isles. Their arrival predates and/or was left out of written records. We can say for sure that the Sheltie was welcomed into the AKC in 1909, originally under the name Shetland Collie. Collie breeders objected to that moniker. After the resulting kerfluffle, Fido became known as the Shetland Sheepdog.
This is one area where the Sheltie really shines. These dogs are extremely devoted to their humans. In fact, they were often referred to as shadows, because they stuck so close to their masters. Shelties are also very intelligent, which is quite common with herding dogs. Proper training is a must!
Shelties are very frisky and energetic, and they need lots of activity to burn off those zoomies. However, they can do fine in apartments. Just make sure your canine buddy gets plenty of walks. Most Shelties today are pets, rather than farm dogs. However, it’s worth mentioning that they do excel at doggy sports, such as herding and tracking. They can also make great therapy dogs. Oh, and have we mentioned the fact that they are absolutely adorable!
Do you have questions or concerns about Shelties? Contact us, your animal clinic, today!