Shetland Sheepdog: Traits, Health, Diet and Care

Shetland Sheepdog

Get to know Shelties better with our guide on their diet, health, training, and care. Learn what makes these family-friendly dogs with playful spirits and high adaptability such great pets.

Coat Type: Double
Coat Length: Long
Male Height: 13-16 inches
Female Height: 13-16 inches
Male Weight: 15-25 pounds
Female Weight: 15-25 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Breed Characteristics

Adaptability level
Affectionate with family
Drooling level
Barking level
Coat grooming frequency
Energy level
Good with other dogs
Good with young children
Mental stimulation needs
Openness to strangers
Playfulness level
Shedding level
Trainability level
Watchdog protective nature


Shetland Sheepdogs, often known as Shelties, have charmed their way into the hearts of dog enthusiasts worldwide with their striking appearance and dynamic personalities. Their extraordinary intelligence and loyalty make them standout companions in many homes. This breed's popularity is not just due to their beautiful looks; it's also because of their adaptability and the joy they bring to their families.

This article delves into the world of Shelties, shedding light on what makes these dogs so special. From their distinct characteristics and need for a balanced diet to their training, grooming, and health care, we cover the essential aspects that any Sheltie owner or enthusiast should know.

Whether you're considering bringing a Sheltie into your home or you're a seasoned owner looking for tips, this comprehensive guide is designed to keep you informed and engaged with practical advice and insights into the care of these beloved dogs.

Shetland Sheepdogs Traits and Characteristics

Shetland Sheepdogs, affectionately known as "Shelties," are a breed that captures hearts with their intelligent gaze and luscious coat. They are small to medium-sized dogs that boast a rich history as sheep herders on the Shetland Islands. This breed's attributes make them well-loved companions in households around the globe. Here is a closer look at the traits that define Shelties:

  • Affectionate with family: Shelties form strong bonds with their families and are known for their devotion and love. They are excellent companions and enjoy spending time with their human counterparts.
  • Good with young children and other dogs: Their gentle and playful nature makes them suitable for families with children, and they tend to get along well with other dogs.
  • Moderate shedders: Shelties have a beautiful double coat that requires regular brushing to keep shedding under control.
  • Coat grooming needs: Their long, stunning coat needs a consistent grooming routine to maintain its health and appearance.
  • Minimal drooling: Owners can rejoice in the fact that Shelties are not prone to drooling excessively.
  • Coat type: They have a double coat that provides insulation and protection against harsh weather.
  • Coat length: The breed is adorned with a long, flowing coat that adds to their elegance.
  • Reserved with strangers: Shelties may exhibit caution around new people, which is a part of their watchful nature.
  • Playful: A Sheltie's playful demeanor ensures that they are always up for games and fun activities.
  • Protective nature: As natural watchdogs, they are alert and protective, often serving as guardians for the household.
  • Highly adaptable: Shelties are versatile and can thrive in various living environments, as long as they have enough mental and physical stimulation.
  • Trainable: Their intelligence and eagerness to please make training a joy, as they pick up new commands with ease.
  • Energetic: This breed has a considerable amount of energy and requires regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.
  • Vocal: Shelties are known for their vocalizations and will often express themselves with barks.
  • Mental stimulation needs: A Sheltie's active mind requires engaging activities to prevent boredom and promote well-being.

With a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, these small but sturdy canines are a long-term commitment for any dog lover. Their stature ranges from 13 to 16 inches in height, and they weigh between 15 to 25 pounds, whether male or female. The Shetland Sheepdog is truly a delightful breed that brings both joy and activity to a home.

Food and Nutrition - Keeping Shetland Sheepdogs Healthy

Shetland Sheepdogs, with their active lifestyle, require a diet that supports their energy levels and maintains their health. A balanced diet for these dogs should include the right mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

High-quality dog food that meets the nutrient requirements for Shetland Sheepdogs can contribute to their overall well-being. When selecting food, it's essential to choose formulas that cater to their size and energy needs, ensuring that the food provides them with sufficient calories without leading to weight gain.

In addition to regular meals, treats play a role in a Sheltie's diet, but it's crucial to opt for healthy options. Our chew product, such as the Tibetan Dog Chew, can be a suitable addition. This chew is 100% natural and hand-crafted, with no preservatives, and offers a high-protein, low-fat alternative to more calorie-dense treats.

While it's a great choice for supporting dental hygiene due to its hard texture, it's essential to remember that it should not replace a Sheltie's primary diet. Instead, it should be used as a supplemental treat that can aid in reducing tartar and plaque buildup on their teeth.

When feeding a Shetland Sheepdog, it's important to adhere to a feeding schedule, typically involving meals twice a day. This routine helps prevent overeating and maintains their digestive health. Good dog food for Shetland Sheepdogs will support their active nature while preventing common health issues associated with improper nutrition.

Always ensure fresh water is available, and adjust portion sizes according to the dog's age, weight, and activity level to promote a healthy and happy life for your furry friend.

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Health Information of Shetland Sheepdogs

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. However, like any breed, they may face certain health challenges throughout their lives. Being aware of these common health concerns can help owners take proactive steps to ensure their Shelties remain in good health. Here are some health issues that may affect Shetland Sheepdogs:

  • Hip dysplasia: A condition where the hip joint doesn't fit properly, which can lead to arthritis or lameness.
  • Collie eye anomaly: An inherited condition that can affect the eyes and, in severe cases, lead to blindness.
  • Thyroid issues: Hypothyroidism can occur in Shelties, impacting their metabolism and overall health.
  • Dermatomyositis: An inherited autoimmune skin disorder that can also affect muscles and blood vessels.
  • Von Willebrand's disease: A bleeding disorder that affects the blood's ability to clot.

Including our antler products in a Shetland Sheepdog's routine can contribute to their health in several ways. These chews are not only enjoyable for dogs but can also help in maintaining good dental health by reducing tartar and plaque build-up. Additionally, the act of chewing can be a stress-relieving activity, which is beneficial for Shelties that may experience anxiety.

For maintaining optimal health in Shetland Sheepdogs, here are some dog health tips:

  • Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to catch any issues early.
  • Keep vaccinations and parasite preventatives up to date.
  • Provide a balanced diet and monitor weight to prevent obesity, which can exacerbate health problems.
  • Maintain a consistent exercise routine to support joint and muscle health.
  • Offer mental stimulation to keep their active minds engaged and to prevent boredom-related behaviors.
  • Monitor for any signs of common ailments and seek professional help if there are concerns.

Remember that while at-home care and preventive measures are important, it's always advised to consult with a veterinarian for any health-related issues. They can provide professional guidance and treatment to ensure that your Shetland Sheepdog stays healthy and happy throughout their life.

How To Train and Care Shetland Sheepdogs

Training Shetland Sheepdogs can be a rewarding experience due to their intelligent and eager-to-please nature. These dogs excel when positive reinforcement methods are used, where they are rewarded for good behavior. Treats can be a powerful tool in this training approach, and our Puffs products are an excellent choice for such rewards.

Similar to our chew product, these treats are made with natural ingredients, like yak and cow milk, salt, and lime juice, and are free from preservatives. The high-protein content in Puffs makes them a nutritious and appealing reward during training sessions.

Using treats effectively can greatly enhance obedience training for Shetland Sheepdogs at home. When teaching basic dog training commands, such as sit, stay, or come, timing the delivery of a Puffs treat right after the desired behavior is crucial. This creates a positive association with the command and encourages the dog to repeat the action.

Since Shelties are highly trainable, incorporating treats like Puffs can make learning new commands and tricks a fun and enjoyable process for both the dog and the trainer. Remember to keep training sessions short and engaging to maintain the Sheltie's attention and interest.

Apart from using treats, routine care for Shetland Sheepdogs should include regular grooming maintenance, exercise, and mental stimulation. Their long coat requires frequent brushing to prevent mats and tangles, and they need daily physical activity to channel their energy positively. Mental challenges, such as puzzle toys or scent work, can help keep their active minds occupied.

When training or caring for a Shetland Sheepdog, it's essential to be patient, consistent, and to reinforce desired behaviors with treats like our Puffs products, which can be a delightful and effective part of their training regime. Always ensure that treats are given in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

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Best Popular and Unique Names For Shetland Sheepdog

Searching for a great and unique dog name for your Shetland Sheepdog? Worry not, here are some unique and purr-fect dog names for your furry friend.

Male Shetland Sheepdog Name Female Shetland Sheepdog Name
Baxter Bella
Finn Luna
Oliver Daisy
Jasper Ruby
Murphy Sadie
Leo Molly
Tucker Zoe
Marley Sophie
Cody Rosie
Milo Chloe

Frequently Asked Questions about Shetland Sheepdogs

What is the best way to train a Shetland Sheepdog?

Shetland Sheepdogs respond well to positive reinforcement. Use treats, like our Puffs products, praise, and playtime to reward good behavior. Consistency in commands and patience during training sessions are key. Start with basic commands and gradually move to more complex tasks, keeping training sessions short and fun.

How often should I groom my Shetland Sheepdog?

Due to their long, double coat, regular grooming is essential for Shetland Sheepdogs. Brush their coat several times a week to prevent matting and tangles, and consider a professional grooming session every few months to keep their coat in optimal condition.

Are Shetland Sheepdogs good with children and other pets?

Yes, Shetland Sheepdogs are typically very affectionate with family and good with young children. They are also usually friendly with other dogs. However, it's important to supervise interactions with young kids and introduce pets slowly and in a controlled environment.

How much exercise does a Shetland Sheepdog need?

Shetland Sheepdogs have a high energy level and require regular exercise to stay healthy. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity daily, such as walks, runs, or playtime in a secure, fenced area. Mental stimulation is also important to keep their minds sharp.

What are some common health problems in Shetland Sheepdogs?

Some health issues that can affect Shetland Sheepdogs include hip dysplasia, collie eye anomaly, thyroid issues, dermatomyositis, and von Willebrand's disease. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help detect and manage these conditions early on. Always seek professional advice if you notice any signs of health problems.


This article shares information about dog breeds for educational purposes only, using the American Kennel Club (AKC) as our main source because they're experts on dog breeds. But remember, every dog is unique. What we share might not fit every single dog, even if they are from the same breed. If your dog needs help, whether it's for health or behavior, it's always best to talk to a vet or a dog trainer. They can give advice that fits your pet's specific needs.

We want to help you learn about dogs and how to take care of them, but we can't replace professional advice. Always check with a professional if you're not sure about something to make sure your dog is healthy and happy.