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Shetland Sheepdog


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are they still widely used for working?

not in australia, as actual working dogs, but there are still many who are participating in herding trials.

would love to hear if there are any used as working dogs. would also love to hear if there are any still used as working dogs in the country of origin. Anyone know?

I am sure my girl could with training - she herds children so very well.

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I have always had cats with Shelties and they are very compatible. I have never had a problem with them trying to herd cats, although they will try to play even when the cats ignore them. Shelties tend to be very gentle with small animals.

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Perhaps the term working dog could be misunderstood by many.

Shelties are working dogs and they were bred to work sheep, i.e. they will go out and bring sheep to the "crofter", "farmer". One has to remember that in the Shetland Islands everything is on a small scale, not like here where you may be talking of thousands of acres and paddocks may be over 100 acres each. In this situation I would doubt a sheltie could cope as due to their size they don't have the stamina (or for that matter the speed) of, say, a border collie or kelpie.

Shelties are "upright" dogs in their manner of working and depending on ability can either fetch or drive.

We have 40 acres and are set up as an ANKC style sheep herding training facility. Two of our dogs will go into a paddock (the largest being 6.7 acres) and bring the sheep to me, i.e. fetch. In ANKC style events Panda is more comfortable driving the sheep.

We have a birman kitten, 3 days older than our youngest shelties (9 months) and they do not herd him i.e. "round him up".

Edited by Hesapandabear
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Is it my imagination or are shetland sheepdogs smaller and frailer since the 1970's?

Our family had two growing up, awesome dogs. And I don't recall them being barkers though. My sister used to obedience trial hers. And as an aside, I visited Shetland islands (awesome place to go) for the purpose of seeking shetland sheepdogs in their native home - I could only find one :cooldance:

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I recently met someone through friends and we all went back to his house for a bbq lunch. He has two shelties and both had really smelly, gunky hard and painful looking ears. I asked him about this because they smelt foul and he said that they've always had it and always will.

My question is how common is ear issues in the breed, and is it controllable?

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Phew what a lot of questions :p Hey where are other sheltie breeders :love:

Onslowsmum, dont' think they are any smaller or frailer since the '70's, shelite size is always hard to predict. In one litter you can get pups both over and under-sized.

Bonnie Parker, in over 21 years of owning shelties we have never experienced ear problems. :champagne:

Kaivk, Shelties can be both timid and shy around strangers, but in a "pack" situation, they can be "monsters". As mentioned earlier they excell at both agility and obedience and LOVE please. :worship:

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I recently met someone through friends and we all went back to his house for a bbq lunch. He has two shelties and both had really smelly, gunky hard and painful looking ears. I asked him about this because they smelt foul and he said that they've always had it and always will.

My question is how common is ear issues in the breed, and is it controllable?

I would suggest he needs to get his dogs ears looked at by a vet. In 25years of owning shelties I have had a total of 2 ear infections - both in the same dog. It is not a breed issue

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What about temperament? I have seen some at agility, but have also heard that timidity can be an issue in this breed.

Temperament can be an issue as can people’s expectation of the breed. A sheltie is meant to be reserved with strangers, they are not mini Labradors and one that does bounce all over strangers actually has an incorrect temperament. That said reserved with strangers does not mean timid. A well socialized sheltie with a good temperament will stand their ground when approached or at the most perhaps take a couple of steps back.

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Is it my imagination or are shetland sheepdogs smaller and frailer since the 1970's?

Our family had two growing up, awesome dogs. And I don't recall them being barkers though. My sister used to obedience trial hers. And as an aside, I visited Shetland islands (awesome place to go) for the purpose of seeking shetland sheepdogs in their native home - I could only find one :laugh:

Dont think they are - still the same variety in sizes around in the breed. Saw a HUGE sheltie that had gone to a pet home because he was too big - he looked like a small collie. Was around the same size as a labrador!.

I recently met someone through friends and we all went back to his house for a bbq lunch. He has two shelties and both had really smelly, gunky hard and painful looking ears. I asked him about this because they smelt foul and he said that they've always had it and always will.

My question is how common is ear issues in the breed, and is it controllable?

As far as I am aware there are no ear problems with the breed. He needs to get that checked by a vet.

What about temperament? I have seen some at agility, but have also heard that timidity can be an issue in this breed.

Shelties can be reserved - mine definitely isnt - loves meeting new people - like Owned by SHelties dogs. I think these days a lot depends on how well they are socialised when they are puppies. Mine got to meet lots of different people and dogs at a very young age. She is fine. The two boys that went best of breed and runnerup best of breed at a show here today are really friendly toward people wanting to jump up and greet them, not reserved at all. (good thing that wasnt shown in the ring - could be considered a fault).

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Temperament wise I have shelties that range from too shy to the extroverts that think everyone loves them. They are definitely a lot easier to show but they are not the type of sheltie I prefer to live with and breed and they are not very restful pets. I love the shelties gentle nature, how devoted to their families they are and perhaps selfishly that they prefer my company over anyone one else's esp strangers.

To try and breed away from that is like trying to breed aloofness out of a Afghan. It is in our breed standard and I personally hate some of the terrier type temperaments I am seeing in the ring of late. A sheltie should stand his ground and show no signs of being timid, that is a nice temperament.

I am not pointing this post at anyone in particular, just my thought on the breed after 25 years of owning and breeding it.

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Is The Shetland Sheepdog a generally loud breed? Are they very vocal?

Shelties can be, but can also be trained not to be. My dog was trained at a very young age not to bark for no reason. She is pretty good.

I've been interested in shelties for a long time, my husband has wanted one for years, but everything I've read about points to how noisy and yappy they are. I've seen people say they've trained the dog not to bark, how exactly to you do that?

I will admit I'm not very experienced with dogs, but when we get a dog/pup it will go to obedience as I want a well-behaved family member and feel I don't have enough knowledge on my own.

If we got one I'd be more than happy to have it as an inside pet, but I would expect it to spend sometime during the day outside having a run and play, no more than 2 hours, would a sheltie be accepting of that, if he was taught from a young age or do you think he would bark the whole time.

On a side note, I saw two shelties yesterday out and about with their owners, its was at a market and both of them appeared to have temperments which I think is ideal. They were not scared or timid, but weren't jumping up on anyone either. They both appeared to be friendly and confident, thats what I love in a dog, it really sparked my interest in the breed again.

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My shelties at the show will jump up and say hello if people come over to them on the trolley or in the pen, they are not like that in the ring though and I do find them a little better to show when they are like that.

At home different story, they will jump up and say hello when they first see you then off doing what they were doing prior to being disturbed lol!!!

There has been shelties of late though that have been very timid and not stood there ground..... too me I would prefer to have an outgoing sheltie than one that is too scared and very timid....( Just my opinion )...

My babies are out at the shows from 8wks to get used to other surroundings and interact with other people.

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Is The Shetland Sheepdog a generally loud breed? Are they very vocal?

Shelties can be, but can also be trained not to be. My dog was trained at a very young age not to bark for no reason. She is pretty good.

I've been interested in shelties for a long time, my husband has wanted one for years, but everything I've read about points to how noisy and yappy they are. I've seen people say they've trained the dog not to bark, how exactly to you do that?

I will admit I'm not very experienced with dogs, but when we get a dog/pup it will go to obedience as I want a well-behaved family member and feel I don't have enough knowledge on my own.

If we got one I'd be more than happy to have it as an inside pet, but I would expect it to spend sometime during the day outside having a run and play, no more than 2 hours, would a sheltie be accepting of that, if he was taught from a young age or do you think he would bark the whole time.

On a side note, I saw two shelties yesterday out and about with their owners, its was at a market and both of them appeared to have temperments which I think is ideal. They were not scared or timid, but weren't jumping up on anyone either. They both appeared to be friendly and confident, thats what I love in a dog, it really sparked my interest in the breed again.

i trained my girl by squirting her with a spray bottle every time she barked. She hated that. she was soon quiet. She will bark at strangers walking past my back fence (I back onto a creek) - and I dont have a problem with that. Sometimes she wants to bark at something but knows she shouldnt - she is so funny - she gives these little quiet growly gruffs - just to let me know she thinks there could be something she should be barking at. There are a couple of people on here for whom the spray bottle technique wouldn't have worked cos their dogs love the water. Mine doesn't like water at all - unless it is coming out of the garden hose and she can chase it. I dont think a sheltie would bark the whole time they were outside when you put them out. My experience is that they bark at things, not nothing. trick is getting them to not bark at everything. I have possums and the odd koala in the trees behind my backyard - she used to bark at them - not anymore - she is used to them being there - even when they growl and carry on at night. There is a park the other side of the creek that people play and walk their dogs in all the time - she doesnt bark at them - only if they cross the creek and approach my back fence. (Good thing - it deters the 'graffers' in the area - my fence and my neighbours hasnt been hit yet).

Please note - other people on here have way more experience than me - my girl is my first sheltie - but my aunts did own them for 30 or more years.

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I too used the water pistol. I found it quite easy to train them not to bark excessively when I only had small numbers but found as my numbers have grown I have had more problems with it. My own shelties do enjoy a good play outside but I would imagine a single sheltie would spend much of their time outside peering in the door, they do like to be with their people and it isn't much fun playing by yourself. That said I am sure they would get used to it.

The one comment I have had from first time sheltie owners is that they are their owners wee shadows, they follow you from room to room and are constantly with you. Some people love it but some people don't.

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