How to Train a Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog, also called the Sheltie, is a British herding dog that looks a lot like a small Collie. They are often confused with Collies and are mistakenly called ‘Lassie Dogs’ but they are a breed of their own. They stand between 13 and 16 inches tall and they weigh between 14 and 16 pounds. They have a long outer coat and a short dense undercoat. Their coat colors come in tri-colored, sable, black and white, black and tan, and blue merle color variations. This dog is smart, active, and affectionate. They make a great pet for families with children as they can be very tolerant of kids of all ages.
This breed is known for being very intuitive and often picks up one obedience training very quickly and easily. It is important to give lots of supervision, though, as their active intelligence can sometimes get them into trouble.
The Sheltie today is great for agility and obedience competitions and seems to be able to pick up just about whatever you want to teach them. Keep them active and mentally stimulated and that will go along way with keeping them obedient and mild mannered.
The Shetland Sheepdogs, also called Shelties, come in a range of sizes. Show type Shelties must measure between 13-16″ at the shoulder, the vast majority are over 14″, and keeping their dogs “in size” is a constant challenge for some breeders. Pet Shelties have been known to reach 20″ or more and weigh upwards of 40 lbs. At the same time, petite Shelties of less than 13″.
The Shetland Sheepdog is closely related to the Collie, as both breeds are believed to have originated from the Border Collie of Scotland. The sable and white version really does look like a miniature Collie and to this day, the lovely breed is often mistakenly labeled as a miniature Collie.
Considering they originated from the Border collies, the dogs that remained on the Scottish mainland eventually developed into the majestic Rough Collie; while those that were taken to the Shetland Islands were bred down to meet the needs of the island people and their undersized livestock.
On the other hand, there are also accounts that the original stock of the young Shetland Sheepdog breed probably consisted of Scandinavian herding dogs from the same stock as the Norwegian Buhund or the Icelandic dog.
The Shetland Sheepdog is a graceful, agile, intelligent, loyal and hard-working dog breed. It is bred to herd and is a big dog in a small dog’s body. The breed is conveniently-sized and very elegant in movement and appearance. The Shetland Sheepdog has a lovely coat that comes in a variety of striking colors. The coat can be black, blue merle or sable, marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan.
It is relatively small, long-haired working dog of great beauty, free from clumsiness and coarseness. Their movements are lithe and elegant. The Shetland sheepdog is loved for its herding ability and affectionate nature. It is highly devoted and pleasantly docile with a keen sense of intelligence and understanding.
The dog is one of the most successful obedience breeds, but also excels in agility, herding, and conformation. The Shetland Sheepdog is naturally alert, strong and active but gentle and oozing with intelligence. It is affectionate and responsive to his owner. However, you may find that this breed is often reserved towards strangers, but never nervous.
They are also usually excellent household watchdogs, and when raised with children they become fine family dogs. With powerful instincts to please, Shelties are sensitive and respond best to gentle but consistent handling and training. the Sheltie learns quite quickly and this breed aims to please its owner and is extremely obedient.
The herding instinct is strong in many Shelties. They love to chase and herd things, including squirrels, ducks, and children. Shelties also love to run in wide-open areas. Though they don’t need miles of running exercise, Shetland Sheepdogs are herding dogs that must have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
They can bark persistently and so it is wise to start training the Shetland Sheepdog puppy as soon as you get them. Teach them when to bark, how to alert bark, and when to end. Taught the three-bark-rule early, they will comply for a lifetime.