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Celebrating the Sheltie

June 1, 2021

Today, June 1st, is International Sheltie Day! These cute pups can definitely melt heart! Shelties are descended from the Rough Collie. They originated in the Shetland Isles, which are also he home of the adorable Shetland pony. Fido definitely deserves some time in the Spot light. A local vet discusses the Sheltie below.


The Sheltie is a part of the AKC’s Herding group. Like other herding dogs, the Sheltie is very intelligent and obedient, and is usually a very Good Boy. Playful and active, Fido is a lot of dog in a pretty small package. Shelties are rarely more than 16 inches high, and they usually weigh less than 25 pounds. That small size is no coincidence. Food could be scarce on the isolated Shetland Islands, so it was logical for people to breed animals that would eat less than their larger counterparts. This also explains why Shetland ponies are so small. Shelties were originally bred to help farmers herd their livestock. Their excellence at this earned them the nickname ‘Toonie Dogs.’ (‘Toon’ is an old Shetland word for ‘farm’.) These lovable pups are fairly long-lived, and can get to be about 12-14 years old.


This is one area where Fido eally shines. They are extremely loyal to their humans. In fact, they were often referred to as shadows, because they stuck so close to their owners. Shelties are also very clever. Proper training is a must!


While we know that Shelties come from the Shetland Islands, but the rest of their history is a bit more obscure. No one can say for sure exactly when Fido’s ancestor, the Collie, first set paw on the Shetland Isles, as his arrival predates–or was perhaps just left out of–written records. The Sheltie was first welcomed into the AKC way back in 1909, under the name Shetland Collie. Collie breeders objected to that moniker, so there was a bit of a kerfluffle. Fido soon became known as the Shetland Sheepdog.


Shelties are very frisky and active pups, and need lots of playtime and exercise. That said, they can do fine in apartments: they just need plenty of walks and trips to the park. While most Shelties today are pets, rather than farm dogs, they do excel at doggy sports like herding and tracking, and also make great therapy pups. They’re also absolutely adorable!

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

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