8 Facts About Shetland Sheepdogs

sheltie puppy in the grass next to a ball

The Shetland Sheepdog is a herding dog that looks a little like a small Collie. They are often called Shelties and they are loving, intelligent dogs. They tend to be energetic and playful. Here are a few more facts about Shetland Sheepdogs:

1. Shetland Sheepdogs Need Mental Stimulation

On top of daily exercise and a job to do, Shetland Sheepdogs also need plenty of mental stimulation. As one of the smartest dog breeds, their high intelligence means they can get bored easily. So, if they are not given something to keep their mind engaged, they will find their own ways to amuse themselves and you may not always be a fan of what they come up with.

Instead of leaving a Sheltie to come up with their own entertainment, providing challenging games and toys can help keep their mind engaged. Training for dog sports, especially agility training, or learning more advanced commands can also help provide mental stimulation for your Sheltie.

Because these dogs are sensitive to their owners and focused, they respond well to verbal cues. If your Shetland Sheepdog has already mastered verbal cues, you can try teaching them hand signals as well.

2. They Have an Urge to Chase

As herding dogs, the Shetland Sheepdog has an urge to chase anything that moves. This often means they should only be let off-leash in securely fenced areas. It’s also something to keep in mind as you take on training so that a Sheltie has boundaries on when chasing is appropriate.

But, it is an instinctual behavior, so you may not be able to stop it and may only be able to redirect it to better outlets. Also, if they haven’t mastered basic commands, a Sheltie on the chase may not listen to “stop” or “come” commands. Making sure they have plenty of exercise is also a good idea so your Sheltie doesn’t get jittery or take up a chase just to get some energy out.

3. Shelties are Great Family Dogs

Shelties are loving and sensitive dogs with a gentle nature and a sweet disposition. They tend to get along fabulously with children and bond closely with their families. But, their sensitive nature means they don’t deal well with chronically chaotic or emotionally turbulent homes. These small fluffy dogs need to feel loved and that they are safe in their environment to be happy and healthy.

4. They are Vocal

A Sheltie will be prone to barking and other vocalizations. They often tend to bark when people or animals are near the house and they will make other whining and growling vocalizations to communicate with you.

You likely won’t be able to stop the behavior entirely. But, you can train your dog to stop barking early on so they only bark when it’s appropriate, vocalize in response to certain situations, and respond to a command to stop barking.

5. Shetland Sheepdogs are Fluffballs

Shetland Sheepdogs may come in a variety of colors and markings, but one thing is true regardless of coat color – they will be fluffy! Shelties are one of the fluffiest dog breeds.

They have a dense undercoat with a long, straight topcoat that gives them their fluffball appearance. They will shed considerably year-round with heavier shedding sessions as the seasons change, so frequent brushing is recommended to help contain loose fur to a brush.

6. They are the Embodiment of Herding Dogs

Hailing from the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland, these fluffballs were bred to herd! They were bred to be agile, smart, and always alert. Shelties love to herd anything and anyone. They are even known to herd squirrels, people, and birds.

7. They Require a Lot of Exercise

Shetland Sheepdogs are a very active breed. They thrive on being physically active so be sure you can accommodate that. This breed will quickly tire out your children if you have any and will still have plenty of energy. Having a well-exercised dog will help them stay content and behaved.

8. Shelties Can be Reserved

This breed can be a bit stand-offish with new people. They are not aggressive, but they are wary of strangers. This makes them a great watchdog. They’ll keep an eye on everything and let you know very loudly when something is amiss.

Are You Thinking of Adding a Sheltie Puppy to Your Family?

These are just a few facts about Shetland Sheepdogs. Shetland Sheepdogs are energetic little dogs that thrive on human company and affection. They bond closely with their families and are a great fit for owners who can give them the affection, mental stimulation, and exercise they need to be happy and healthy.

If you think this could be the right dog breed for you, learn more about them and check out the available Sheltie puppies! You could end up finding your next best friend!