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Celebrating the Sheltie

June 1, 2021

Did you know that today, June 1st, is International Sheltie Day! These cute pups are descended from the Rough Collie, and are originally from the Shetland Isles, which are also the home of the adorable Shetland pony. Fido definitely deserves some time in the Spot light. A local veterinarian discusses the Sheltie in this article.


The Sheltie is a part of the AKC’s Herding group. Like the other dogs in this group, the Sheltie is a very intelligent and obedient pip, and a very Good Boy. Playful and active, the Sheltie is a lot of dog in a pretty small package. Shelties rarely grow over about 16 inches high, and usually weigh less than 25 pounds. That small size is likely not a coincidence. Food could be scarce on the isolated Shetland Islands, so it made sense to breed animals that would eat less than their larger counterparts. This may also be why Shetland ponies are so small. Shelties were originally bred to help farmers herd livestock. Their excellence at this earned them the nickname ‘Toonie Dog.’ (The word ‘Toon’ is an old Shetland word for ‘farm’.) Shelties are fairly long-lived, and can live about 12-14 years. 


This is one area where the Sheltie really shines. These guys are extremely faithful. In fact, they were often referred to as shadows, because they stuck so close to their owners. These lovable pooches are also very clever. Proper training is a must!


We know that Shelties come from the Shetland Islands, but the rest of Fido’s history is a bit more obscure. No one knows exactly when Fido’s ancestor, the Collie, first set paw on the Shetland Isles, as his arrival was left out of written records. The Sheltie was first welcomed into the AKC in 1909. The breed was first listed under the name Shetland Collie. Collie breeders objected to that moniker, and Fido is now known as the Shetland Sheepdog.


Shelties are very playful and active, and they need lots of playtime and exercise. That said, they can do fine in apartments, as long as they get lots of walks. While most Shelties today are beloved pets, rather than farm dogs, the breed still excels at doggy sports, such as herding and tracking, and also make great therapy dogs. They’re also absolutely adorable! 

Do you have questions or concerns about Shelties? Contact us, your animal clinic, today!

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