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Shetland Sheepdog face.
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Dog owners are a devoted lot, often completely taken by a specific breed. And owners of the Shetland Sheepdog have plenty of reasons to sing the praises of this breed. Having a Sheltie is like having a best friend who’s good at everything! Fans of the breed are sure to recognize these Sheltie traits.

They Are the Epitome of the Herding Dog

Developed in the rugged Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland, near the Arctic Circle, the Shetland Sheepdog was bred to be an agile, alert, and intelligent herder. In fact, they’ll try to herd almost anything, including squirrels, birds, and kids.

They’re Very Biddable

Because they’re so smart and easy to train, they succeeds in almost everything they try. Shelties are used as medical alert dogs, as well as service and therapy dogs. They also excel in dog sports, including rally, agility, herding, and obedience. This breed, sometimes called the “Collie in miniature” ranks among the top canine competitors in the world.

They’re Affectionate and Family-Oriented

It’s not unusual for a Sheltie to follow family members around everywhere they go, just to be close. A sensitive breed, Shelties need companionship and don’t do well if left alone for excessive amounts of time.

They Come From Scotland

The Shetland Sheepdog was originally developed in the Shetland Islands in Scotland, which is also how they got their name. These islands are off the northern coast of Scotland. In the 1900s, they gained the attention of fanciers in other parts of Scotland and England as well.

They Can Be Reserved With Strangers

They’re very protective of their family and quick to bark to let you know someone’s coming, which makes them good watchdogs. Speaking of barking, this is a vocal dog that likes to bark quite a bit.

They Love Learning New Things

Shelties (and their owners) enjoy the challenge of coming up with new things to learn, from “helping” around the house to canine gymnastics. They’re considered extremely intelligent and respond well if you’re patient and also make training time fun.

They Used to Be Smaller

Earlier Shelties were smaller than the Shetland Sheepdogs we know and love today. While the breed standard now states that they should stand 13-16 inches at the shoulder, where early Shelties were stood 8 to 10 inches.

They Need a Lot of Exercise

This is a high energy breed that needs lots of exercise. Have kids? Shelties love playing with them. They can probably outlast the most energetic children. Along with that, they need lots of physical and mental stimulation. Without it, a Sheltie may find less appropriate ways to entertain themselves.

Shetland Sheepdogs Are Beautiful

The flowing coat comes in several colors, including various shades of sable, black, and blue merle. The long, refined head and expressive eyes combine to create a gentle, intelligent expression that melts hearts.

They’re Pretty Popular

The Shetland Sheepdog became AKC-recognized in 1911. The breed is well-beloved, typically making the top 30 breeds in registration rankings of most popular breeds.

Related article: Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor?
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