The Shetland Sheepdog aka the Sheltie proudly fills number 6 on South Africa’s most popular breed list compiled by Animaltalk.
The Sheltie has the appearance of a miniature Rough-coated Collie, but do not underestimate this confident, intelligent and highly trainable dog.
Life span: 12 to 13 years
Origin: Shetland Islands, Scottland
Temperament: Alert, Loyal, Reserved, Strong, Gentle, Active, Responsive, Affectionate, Lively, Intelligent, Trainable, Playful
Height: Female: 33–41 cm, Male: 33–41 cm
Weight: Male: 6.4–12.3 kg, Female: 6.4–12.3 kg
Colors: Black & White, Tri-color, Blue Merle, Black & Tan, Merle, Sable & White, Sable
The Shetland sheepdog can easily be confused as a Border Collie because one might think its just a smaller version of it. This dog has a history of border collie bloodline during the late 18th century, but it was not until 1914 when the breed received it's official recognition as a separate breed it received the name Shetland Sheepdog. It has an effortless stride and because its a herder, it loves to run and play. Due to this breed originating from a cold and mainly wet environment, it makes sense that the Shetland Sheepdog has a double coat (short and dense undercoat and a long harsh outer coat) which goes without saying needs regular grooming. This breed is gentle, intelligent and always curious to know more.
If you are looking for a family dog, who is good with children and loves to obey, then this is one breed you might want to consider. This is a barker and should never be left alone at home. We would not recommend the Shetland sheepdog if you need guarding. They do not particularly like strangers and will shy away from them.
A few health conditions to keep in mind if you already share a couch with a Sheltie or planning to get a pup:
1. Collie eye anomaly is an inherited abnormal development of the eye. Most dogs will not have impaired vision but in severe cases can lead to retinal detachment and blindness.
2. Ivermectin sensitivity. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic remedy used extra-label in certain cases of mange. Shelties and all Collie type dogs are sensitive to Ivermectin (and drugs with the same active ingredient) and therefore must not be used in the breed.
3. The breed is prone to seizures (comparable to epilepsy in humans) which usually develops between 2 and 5 years of age. Treatment is expensive but in most cases can be kept under control.
4. Hip dysplasia due to abnormal development of the hip joints may cause pain, lameness and arthritis.
All of these nasty conditions require expensive veterinary intervention, be prepared make sure they have medical aid.
Thank you to our online vet Dr Adel for sharing with us ailments which she is exposed to as a vet on a daily basis.
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