The Sheltie, or the Shetland Sheepdog, is a type of herding dog. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Sheltie is akin to a miniature version of a Collie.
History of the Breed
The Shetland Sheepdog originated from Great Britain, in the Shetland islands off the coast of Scotland in 900 A.D., according to the United Kennel Club (UKC.) These dogs were brought in by the colonizers of the islands, the Norse people.
According to the UKC, overtime the harsh climate of the island developed a small but sturdy dog, with thick fur to withstand the often savage weather.
In 1948, the UKC recognized the Shetland Sheepdog as a true breed.
The Sheltie's general appearance is similar to that of a Collie. It is smaller in stature but its coat, like the Collie, is long and rough, according to the AKC. Its coat is also dense and the abundance of fur around its face gives it a mane-like appearance. According to the AKC, their colours range from black, blue merle and sable.
Sheltie's are between 13 to 16 inches tall and weigh between 11 to 25 pounds.
According to Canada's Guide to Dogs, a Sheltie is an extremely loyal dog. Shelties are also affectionate and make great pets, as they require a strong companionship with their owners. Like the Collie, a Sheltie is known for its high intelligence, and according to Canada's Guide to Dogs, is a great breed for agility and obedience competitions. Shelties require regular exercise since they are an active breed.
Just like all dogs, the Shetland Sheepdog may develop a few health issues. Some health problems specific (but not limited to) a Shetland Sheepdog is the Sheltie Eye Syndrome, more often known as the Collie Eye Anomaly. This results in blind spots in a Sheltie's vision, although it is not life threatening.
Another disorder sometimes seen in Shelties is epilepsy, according to Bark Bytes, a canine online magazine. It is a hereditary seizure disorder that is most often bred out. Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, is another condition found in the Sheltie breed. Dogs with this condition often take medication for life, according to Bark Bytes.
Most breeders and kennel clubs like the AKC agree that the average lifespan of a Shetland Sheepdog range between 12 to 15 years. The saying that one dog year is equal to seven human years is a myth. A dog's lifespan depends on a variety of factors such as diet, exercise, breed type and size of dog.