Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions about Shelties:
Purebred Dogs Too Closely Bred?
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.
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
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,
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.
is The Difference Between a Sheltie and a Miniature Collie?
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.
Colours Do Shelties Come In?
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.
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.
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.
Shelties Require A Lot Of Grooming?
me answer that with a question. Is 30 minutes a week a lot of
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.
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
Often Should I Bath My Sheltie?
Your Sheltie’s coat is self shedding - in the dirt department
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.
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
There Anything Else I Should Be Aware Of?
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.
I Need To Take My Dog To the Vet Often?
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
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.
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.
is the Lifespan of a Sheltie?
can easily live from 10-14 years. So much depends on the maintenance
the animal receive throughout its life.
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.
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.
Shelties Good With Children?
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.
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.
a Sheltie Puppy the Right Breed For My Family?
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
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.