Affectionate and responsive to their owners, the Shetland Sheepdog are intensely loyal and make excellent companion dogs. One of the smartest breeds, they are willing to learn and want to obey and please their owners.
Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, were bred to be a farmer’s best friend – alerting them if someone was on the property, keeping birds and other animals away by barking, and herding sheep. These extremely smart dogs are great family pets but can be a little shy around strangers. They tend to display persistent barking but their protective nature makes them good watchdogs.
Their intelligence shines when performing dog sports, especially agility, flyball, and tracking. Shelties are, in fact, too smart for their own good. They are always in need of a job to avoid becoming bored and destructive. Because of their herding instinct, they love to chase squirrels, rabbits, and even children. Early training can discourage this habit, which can lead to biting.
Shetland Sheepdogs are, surprisingly, okay with being alone for long periods of time – as long as they receive enough attention while you are home.
Major Health Concerns: The Shetland Sheepdog has a tendency toward inherited eye diseases and malformations, such as cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). They may suffer from hypothyroidism and epilepsy.
Interesting Fact: The Shetland Sheepdog comes in a variety of colors including sable/white, tri-color, and blue merle.
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