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History of the breed
Shelties are often called “miniature collies”. There is a similarity in appearance, but the history and development of these breeds are completely different.
The Shetland Islands owe their name to their homeland. About a hundred small pieces of land are found off the coast of Scotland.
It is impossible to determine which breeds took part in the birth of the Sheltie: the farmers did not bother about the appearance, they were only interested in the result. Presumably, the ancestors of the Sheltie included the Norwegian Buhund, Yakk, Icelandic Shepherd Dogs, as well as “guest performers” – dogs of all kinds from merchant ships and fishing boats.
The Shetland Islands had a harsh climate and the sheep could not find food for themselves. Local peasants kept unusual livestock: ponies, short-legged sheep, dwarf bulls. To help with such herds, an unpretentious, low-maintenance dog of small size was indispensable.
The Sheltie’s functions included distilling sheep, protecting stored hay from wild herbivores, and on tiny, isolated islands, small shepherds watched over the herd without the help of people, independently obtaining food by hunting rodents and birds.
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In the 19th century, Shetland Sheepdogs gained unexpected popularity in Europe: visitors to the islands took Shelties home as a gift to spouses or children. The inhabitants of the islands quickly got their bearings in a situation that brought additional profit, and took up the appearance of dogs, crossing them with other miniature breeds. Then the shepherd dogs acquired the blood of spaniels, spitz and papillons. There was no need to talk about any general appearance of the results of peasant selection.
By the end of the 19th century, there were practically no Shelties left with their original appearance. Attempts began to restore it by crossing with undersized collies. The result was the official recognition of the Shetland Collie and the formation of a club in Lerwick in 1908.
The following year, the first English club of breed fans was opened, only the breed was called “Shetland Sheepdogs”, and was positioned as a “miniature show collie”. In 1914, the Kennel Club recognized the Sheltie as an independent breed, despite the opposition of breeders who considered small shepherds to be unsuccessful collies.
The First World War almost ended the existence of small shepherd dogs. Pedigree dogs remained with only a few breeders. I had to use the collie again to save the breed. This is what determined the further development of the Sheltie. In 1948, a new standard was approved: the traits acquired by a mixture of genes from different dogs gave way to grace, strong build and general appearance of a pure breed with long, thick hair.
Description of the breed
The sheltie standard was adopted in 2000. These are graceful shepherd dogs of small stature, with long hair and proportional build, without excessive lightness or roughness. Energetic, active, strong for their size. Strong nervous system gives dogs calmness and lack of fussiness and nervousness.
- Height at withers – males: about 37 centimeters, bitches: about 35.5 centimeters.
- Weight – from 6 to 12 kilograms.
- Constitution – dry, strong, powerful, without signs of roughness, bones, dry, developed muscles. Skin without folds, without sagging, tight fit.
- Wool – lush, thick, long, tough. On the face, ears and paws – in short, it fits tightly. The mane is especially noticeable in males. The tail is lush, with long hair. Short, dense undercoat.
- Color – sable (shades – from light gold to mahogany); tricolor (deep black with bright tan); blue merle (marble pattern – on a gray base – black pattern; black with white spots; black and tan). Black Sheltie has a white “star” on the forehead, collar, limbs and tip of the tail in white.
- Head – in the form of long, elongated clay. Flat skull, without pronounced occipital protuberance. Flat cheekbones, rounded muzzle. The transition to the muzzle is smooth, but clearly defined. Dry lips. Powerful jaws. The nose is black. Defects – roughly cobbled head, irregular shape of the skull, distinct occipital protuberance, superciliary arches, clear transition from forehead to muzzle or its complete absence, too sharp muzzle, enlarged cheekbones and cheeks, too short or small lower jaw.
- Ears – small, mobile, set high, tips directed forward. Three-quarters of the ear is erect. At rest – tilted back. Defects are considered to be low-lying ears, excessively thin or thick shells, wrong angle.
- Eyes – almond-shaped, slightly obliquely set, medium, dark in color. In blue merle color, blue eyes or with blue specks are acceptable. Defects – wrong color or shape of the eyes, overdeveloped third eyelid.
- Teeth – strong, large, incisors at the same level. Scissor bite. Defects are considered to be an irregular bite, an asymmetrical arrangement of incisors, a lack of teeth, protrusion of teeth with a closed mouth.
- Neck – with pronounced muscles, a distinct nape, medium, set high – this is what gives a proud look. The withers are present, but poorly visible. Vices – Neck too long or short.
- Back – straight, developed. Short, well-muscled, slightly arched loin. Faults can be incorrect positioning of the shoulder blades or a loaded withers.
- Croup – short, beveled at 30 degrees. Defects are an excessively inclined or straight croup, a high rear.
- Tail – medium in size, up to the hock. Usually directed downward, the tip is bent upward. In an active state, it is raised slightly above the back line. Insufficient length or a hook at the tip of the tail are considered faults..
- Chest – deep, up to the elbows. Convex, flattened at the bottom – so as not to interfere with the limbs. A flattened shape is considered a disadvantage, an excessively convex or narrow shape is a vice.
- Stomach – raised enough.
- Hind limbs – with wide, powerful hips. The angles of the knee and hock are well defined. The lower leg and thigh are approximately equal. Well-developed hock ligaments. Metatarsus – small, vertical. Defects are narrow hips, improper positioning of the limbs, straightened joints.
- Paws – with powerful and dense pillows, strong claws. Oval.
- Movement – graceful, light, natural. When trotting, the hind legs go deep under the body for a powerful push. The feet of the forelegs are not raised high above the ground. When striding, the limbs move almost at right angles to the surface. Defects are abrupt, jerky movements, not a wide step, sperm, straight limbs, displacement of the body up and down or left and right, waddling, walking, prancing.
Shelties have a huge amount of energy and stamina. Always vigilant. Feel responsible for the behavior and what is happening around before the owner. Property protection is in the blood, so the Sheltie is always on guard. Sincerely loving and faithful.
As companions, the Sheltian Shepherd Dogs have shown themselves excellently. The more communication and contact with the family, the better the dog feels. She needs to feel like a member of the family, to feel love and warmth. He really does not like scandals and quarrels, conversations in a raised voice.
Shelties have paternal feelings for children, or associate them with wards who need to be “grazed”. They will play, see to safety. But the child is also required to understand what can be done and what not.
Representatives of the breed are distrustful of strangers. If someone comes to the door, the Sheltie will definitely give a voice to warn the owner. They try not to conflict with other animals and solve problems in a peaceful way.
Shelties are considered “loud” dogs, but a sharp mind allows them to wean from constant barking, reacting with short beeps when an outsider approaches the owner’s property.
Sociability and friendliness are at a high level. Devotion and admiration for the owner is combined with a desire to please and help in everything. But the pressure is not worth it – feeling the pressure, the Sheltie will refuse to do anything at all.
Playing is a favorite pastime of energetic mini-shepherd dogs. It doesn’t matter what kind of game it is – the main thing is that the owner also participates in it. Refusing to play will not offend the dog – she recognizes the owner’s full right to other things and will wait for her time to come.
It is necessary to wash the dog once a month, Sheltie themselves take care of the coat, licking themselves, so you should not take baths more often – you can dry the skin.
Particular attention is paid to the safety of the ears: they must not get water.
For drying, use a towel to stroke the animal’s fur. Do not rub hard – this can negatively affect the condition of the undercoat.
You need to brush your dog weekly. Breeders do this every day, and during moulting, twice a day. Pay special attention to the ears. Fur often falls behind them, interfering with the correct set. In hot weather or in southern climates, the Sheltie should be bathed and combed more often.
The need for mental and physical exertion dictates walks in the company – with people and animals. The pet allows the instinct of a shepherd dog to unfold – “grazes” the whole company. Experts advise setting a minimum period of walking – three hours a day.
At puppyhood, a walk should be limited to half an hour, but the number of walks is at least three. In winter, the time spent outside is worth cutting back. Avoid icy paths – the puppy spreads its paws wider, slides. The result is incorrect positioning of the limbs.
During walks, do not allow the baby to crawl under low surfaces: when trying to get out, dislocations and sprains are possible.
If the dog is “apartment”, in the first months of life you will have to carry it in your arms to avoid stairs. Overcoming such obstacles on your own can lead to an incorrect position of the croup.
Animal protein is the basis of the diet of Shetland Sheepdogs. Even babies who have reached the age of two months are advised to feed the meat “scraper” – frozen and finely grated meat.
In general, it is better to wipe natural food for sheltie puppies and pass through a meat grinder: sea fish, vegetables, cheeses.
Shelties love berries, so garden raspberries or strawberries are great treats. And greens will supply the body with vitamins.
Foods that should not be included in the Sheltie diet:
- Sweet and flour products.
- Tubular bones.
- Wheat pasta and bread.
- Legume plant.
- Spices, smoked products, salinity.
Curiosity, energy, and a keen mind promote rapid learning that will delight both parties. Rudeness or anger should not be allowed. Play exercises will force the dog to train with great diligence.
Dogs of this breed should be trained only by those whom the Sheltie considers to be the owner.
Many representatives of the breed have fears – dogs are afraid of extraneous sounds, fear not to please the owner. Phobias are treated as in the proverb: “They knock out a wedge with a wedge.” If your pet is afraid of the noise of cars, it is worth walking it near the track.
The fear of making mistakes is more difficult to correct: dog handlers advise not to notice the dog’s mistakes in the first lessons, but to praise for every successful attempt. And only after being drawn into the process can you train using standard methods.
It is important to make it clear that the owner does not follow the dog’s whims. This is especially true for males – by nature they tend to be more leaders.
There are subtleties in raising a Sheltie:
- Even such a sweet and elegant dog as a Sheltie should not fit on the master’s bed or sofa – the dog’s place is on the floor.
- When opening the door, you cannot let the pet go forward. Going first is the leader’s job.
- You can not feed the animal leftovers from the table: this will serve as a reason for constant begging.
- Dysplasia of the pelvis.
- Skin problems.
- Deafness since birth.
- Von Willebrand disease.
- Congenital dislocations.
- Eye diseases.
Joint problems are the scourge of the breed. Dislocations and accelerated wear and tear lead to lameness and pain. Chronic and congenital injuries can only be repaired by surgery. Genetics influence the likelihood of chronic problems that worsen with age.
Retinal detachment and visual impairment is a problem in 90% of the American collie line. For some, this will result in mild visual impairment, while other dogs may go blind. The disease is not treated.
Sheltie puppy cost varies greatly.
- A puppy with a veterinary passport – around 8000 rubles.
- A puppy with a veterinary passport and pedigree – from 17,000 to 23,000 rubles.
- A puppy with a veterinary passport and champion pedigree – from 28,000 to 45,000 rubles.
List of nurseries
List of nurseries where purebred Sheltie breeding is carried out:
- Russian Versailles Moscow – russkiyversall.com
- Katherines St. Petersburg – ketrins.spb.ru
- The kennel Minsk – wheaten-ancharlyj.jimdo.com