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Celebrating the Sheltie

June 1, 2021

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


The Sheltie is a part of the Herding group. Like the other pups in this category, the Sheltie is a very intelligent and obedient dog, and a very, very Good Boy. Playful and active, the Sheltie is a big dog in a pretty small package. Shelties rarely get more than about 16 inches high, and usually weigh less than 25 pounds. That small size isn’t a coincidence. Food was often scarce on the isolated Shetland Islands, so it was just logical for people to breed animals that wouldn’t eat as much as their larger counterparts. This is likely also why Shetland ponies are so small. The Sheltie was originally bred to help farmers herd livestock. Their excellence at this earned them lots of treats, praise, and belly rubs, as well as the nickname ‘Toonie Dog.’ (The word ‘Toon’ is an old Shetland word for ‘farm’.) Also worth noting? Shelties are fairly long-lived, and can get to be about 12-14 years old. 


We know that Shelties come from the Shetland Islands, but the rest of their 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 predates or was left out of written records. We do know that the AKC welcomed the Sheltie into its ranks back in 1909. Fido was originally listed under the name Shetland Collie. However, Collie breeders objected to that moniker. There was a bit of a kerfuffle, after which Fido was officially known as the Shetland Sheepdog.


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


Shelties are very playful and active, and need lots of exercise. That said, they can do fine in apartments, as long as they get plenty of walks. While most Shelties today are pets, rather than farm dogs, they do excel at doggy sports like herding and tracking. They also make great therapy dogs. Plus, they are absolutely adorable! 

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

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