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Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions about Shelties:
Are Purebred Dogs Too Closely Bred?

Purebred dogs can be inbred, line bred or out crossed. Inbreeding is the mating of closely related individuals. This is only done when the individuals are exceptional specimens.

Line breeding is the mating of more distantly related individuals. Out crossing is the mating of unrelated individuals. Inbreeding and line breeding are tools that breeders use to set the predictability of the occurrence of certain traits. Out crossing is used to introduce a trait that can’t be found in the present breeding program.

Good breeders use these tools in conjunction with genetic screening to cull unwanted traits. When knowledgeable breeders are using these tools together they can breed beautiful, sound, healthy animals.

As a groomer I have seen many crossbreds that are genetic nightmares. They are obviously the result of the mating of inferior animals. It does not lend much credibility to the hybrid vigor theory.

What is The Difference Between a Sheltie and a Miniature Collie?

Miniature Collie is a slang term that people use for a Sheltie. Shelties and Collies are two distinct breeds that share some common ancestors. It is understandable then that they would have many similarities. A sheltie, however, is a heavier boned animal for its height. Its head should be more moderate than its Collie cousin.

What Colours Do Shelties Come In?

Most people associate Shelties with Lassie and assume that all Sheltie’s are sable (the term sable refers to animals whose base coat colour is a shade of brown, it can be golden to red or brown with a presence or absence of a black overlay).

It is true that sable is by far the most common colour but there are many other beautiful options available. Let’s try to get away from Lassie for a moment. In the movie bearing her name she was a he and wasn’t a Sheltie anyway.

Another colour that many people are familiar with is the tri-colour which is a dog that is black and white with tan points over the eyebrows and on the face. This colour should not be confused with the shaded sable who seems to have three colours.

The rule of thumb is if you lift the black coat on the body of the dog and see brown underneath the dog is a sable. If you see more black underneath it is a tri-colour.

An interesting note is the dog that inspired Eric Knight to write the book Lassie Come Home was actually a tri-colour. Now wait, we were supposed to be done with Lassie. Just a minute. “Lassie go home.”

A lesser known colour is the blue merle which is a grey (silver to steel in pigment) dog that has patches of black found through out the base coat. This dog will also have the white markings and tan points of the tri-colour.

A colour that is unique to the Sheltie is the bi-colour which can be found in either black or blue merle. The white marks are present but no tan points.

The least common colour is the colour headed white who has a normally marked head in sable, tri-colour, blue merle or one of the bi-colours. The body coat however is predominately white. This is a very striking colour indeed.

Normally speaking a blue dog is bred to a black dog. If a blue is bred to a sable some of the puppies can be sable merles. These dogs have the sable base colour but may carry the merle patches like their blue parent. As the dog matures these patches become less distinguishable as they become more shaded with black.

When a blue dog is bred to another blue a predominately white dog can occur. These dogs will have same blue markings. They are often either deaf or blind because of their colour. While these animals can be invaluable in a breeding program (they produce almost 100% blue offspring when bred to a black dog) they are very seldom available to a pet home. For obvious reasons a responsible breeder would never deliberately breed a blind of deaf animal to be placed in a pet home.

How Big Are Your Dogs?

Our breeding stock all fall in the range of 13” to 16” at the shoulder. We have never used a dog for breeding that was either smaller or larger than that range. That is not to say that we have not produced pups that do not fall into that range. Those puppies automatically become available to pet homes.

Some people have preferences for a smaller or larger puppy and we have tools (size comparison charts) that help us predict these outcomes. The puppies, however, have not read the books or studied the charts so even seasoned breeders get size surprises.

Do Shelties Require A Lot Of Grooming?

Let me answer that with a question. Is 30 minutes a week a lot of grooming?

Shelties and your furniture benefit from regular grooming (the dog that is). A thorough brushing ensures that any loose hair comes off in your brush not on the furniture.

A good breeder will ensure that you know the right techniques. You can easily groom your Sheltie yourself, just think of how much you will save at the groomers. You may still enlist a professional to help “neaten” your dog up periodically.

Shelties shed dramatically the spring they turn 1 year of age. After that their shed is more moderate and yearly. The only exception being a female who has not been spayed, she will shed after each heat cycle. Even when your dog is shedding, loose hair can readily be controlled by regular brushing. A warm bath can hurry the process along.

If some hair does go astray in your home it can be lifted off furniture and carpets easily in comparison to that of shorter haired dogs whose coat works itself into the fabric of upholstery.

A Sheltie with a correct texture to its coat does not matt readily. Many coated breeds cannot make that claim.

How Often Should I Bath My Sheltie?

Your Sheltie’s coat is self shedding - in the dirt department that is.

The coat has natural oils that give it this property. If you bath the dog too often you will strip the coat of these oils which will affect its ability to shed its dirt.

Bath your Sheltie if and only when he is really dirty. Be sure to remove any mats first. This is also a good time to clean your dog’s ears.

Is There Anything Else I Should Be Aware Of?

Your dog’s nails need to be trimmed as often as you would cut your own finger nails. If you do not feel comfortable doing this enlist the help of a professional.

Will I Need To Take My Dog To the Vet Often?

After you have completed your puppy’s initial shots and it has been spayed or neutered your pup will need to visit the vet yearly for a check up and boosters. These could be your only trips.

I find that apart from these maintenance visits my veterinary dollar is spent on risk assessment of my breeding stock. This constant evaluation of my genetic base helps assure you that you will not have to worry about the health of your pet.

Please pay attention to the health of your dog’s teeth. Plaque build up leads to gum disease which can cause internal infection shortening the health of your pet.

Also remember that if you can’t afford to take your pet to the vet when it needs to go you can’t afford the pet.

What is the Lifespan of a Sheltie?

Shelties can easily live from 10-14 years. So much depends on the maintenance the animal receive throughout its life.

Are Shelties Yappy?

Shelties were bred to be all purpose farm dogs. Part of those duties was to sound the alarm. Most Shelties will bark when they perceive something or someone to be a threat.

They are very intelligent dogs that can also be trained to quit after they have done their duty. A well socialized animal will bark less as he does not read fear into situations.

Are Shelties Shy?

Shyness in the breed is a trait that breeders have worked very hard to overcome. Be sure to buy your Sheltie from a breeder who selects their breeding stock on the basis of temperament. Genetics, however, only plays a part in the temperament of the puppy.

The social experience a puppy is exposed to plays a great role in how the puppy “turns out”. Socialization is the key to having a well adjusted pet. So make sure your puppy has lots of opportunities to have positive interaction with people under new situations. This is an exercise that should be repeated consistently during his development.

Caution must be taken to ensure the puppy is adequately vaccinated before being exposed to doggy situations.

Are Shelties Good With Children?

Shelties are wonderful with children. They often display very protective tendencies around them. They are patient to the point of taking abuse but that doesn’t mean they should have to.

Parents should have a watchful eye particularly when children have not been used to playing with a puppy or a new or unreliable child is introduced to the group.

Is a Sheltie Puppy the Right Breed For My Family?

I don’t know! Shelties are the sweetest, most intelligent and intuitive little friends. All they want is to make their people happy. They respond to encouragement. They do not respond to forceful training, they don’t need it and it confuses them. If you understand the difference likely this is a good breed for you.

Responsible breeders screen their puppy buyers carefully. They try to make sure that when they do sell a puppy it will make a good match with its family. The puppy’s welfare is always the first consideration. Breeders want to see that parents of children share that view. We also want to see evidence that these same parents are on top of their children’s behavior with the puppy.

Another factor you need to consider is whether a baby puppy is right for you. If you have smaller children an older puppy that can’t be lugged around is a good choice. Don’t forget a dropped puppy will likely be an injured puppy. An older puppy doesn’t require as much sleep and is better able to keep up with the pace of the family.

If you are gone to work and not able to get home during that time span it is difficult to house train a young puppy. It is also impossible to give him regular meals. In this instance an older pup would make a better choice.

They certainly house train quicker and don’t need to eat as frequently. Older pups are not rejects. They are usually pups that a breeder has kept because they saw potential in them.

Sometimes it doesn’t pan out and the pup then becomes available to a pet situation. Please remember if you don’t have time to spend with a dog, then please don’t buy one.

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