The Shetland Sheepdog or "Sheltie" as he is affectionately known, originates from the Shetland Islands were he was used by crofters as a sheepdog and guardian of the farm.
Today he makes an ideal family pet, being equally happy in a suburban back yard or running free in open spaces as long as he is with his family. Often referred to as a miniature Collie, the Sheltie has the appearance of Rough Collie, however, he is a breed all of his own and possesses some distinguishing features apart from obvious size difference. Shelties are basically sound, healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 12 to 16 years.
The Sheltie's glamorous coat which requires surprisingly little attention, together with his sweet expression, make him a dog of great beauty. A brush and some comb attention behind the ears each week or so will keep the Sheltie in good condition. The Sheltie's double coat enables him to adapt to both hot and cold weather. He does not need constant bathing and likes to keep himself looking good.
He ranges in colour from golden sable to dark mahogany, tricolour, black and white and blue merle, all with varying amounts of white markings, It can be said that no two Shelties ever look the same, all of which adds to the individuality of the dog.
Aside from the many attributes which make him an ideal family pet, the Shetland Sheepdog has proved a very popular show dog and is frequently seen taking top honours amongst the best of all breeds in Australian and overseas show rings. Shelties can be seen competing in all breeds club shows held regularly in each State and the local controlling canine association would be able to give details of where and when these events are held.
The sheltie has proved his worth in obedience competitions, where his intelligence and eagerness to please have placed him amongst the best. In a recent survey the Sheltie was placed 6th of all breeds in the most intelligent dog stakes. All Sheltie owners can tell you this is way too far down the list!
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