Shetland Sheep Dog
The Shetland sheepdog is somewhat reminiscent, in look, of Collies and particularly so as a smaller version of the Ruff coated collie. Standing 13-17 inches in height and weighing 14 to 28 pounds. they are classed as a medium-sized dog. Their head is in proportion to their size, and with a slight tapering of the muzzle towards the nose, giving it a blunt wedge shape when seen in profile. They have dark coloured eyes, which are an almond shape. They have been known to have blue eyes, in the blue Merrill coloured dogs. They are small ears, folding down, and an arched muscular neck. Their tail is long and feathered, normally straight down although it can have a slightly curve upwards. Their double coat is quite long over their entire body, although somewhat shorter on the legs and head. The outer coat is straight and feels harsh when stroked.
History: The Shetland Sheepdogs were originally bred by crossing the Icelandic Yakkin with Border collie's. The Icelandic Yakkin has since become extinct. As their name would suggest they were originally bred in the Shetland Islands, as Shepherd dogs. They are habitually willing workers and tend to have a gentle approach when herding, which is handy as a lot of the Shetland animal breeds are smaller than normal. England first recognized these dogs, as a breed, in 1909 with the AKC recognizing them in 1911. Nowadays, these dogs are mostly popular as family pets and companion dogs. Amongst their talents are, agility, watchdog, performing tricks, herding, tracking, and obedience, all of which attest to this being a very clever dog.
Temperament. As with so many other sheepdogs the Shetland, being no exception, will be eager and willing to please, with a strong sense of loyalty, thus making them a wonderful companion dog. They have a pleasant temperament, whether they are alert or just resting, they will always be happy to see you and willing to play. They are a great people dog and excel in homes where they are socialised early, preferably as a puppy. They are particularly sensitive to tone, and if when giving a command you do not really mean it, they will sense that in the tone of your voice, and just ignore what you have said. Their herding instinct is still very strong, and they love chasing. It is a good idea to keep an eye on them and teach them not to chase cars, as they quite well may do, which is obviously very dangerous for them.
Health issues. The Shetland Sheepdog has a predisposition to eye diseases, with some lines having a reasonable chance of developing hypothyroidism. They do suffer from gaining weight fairly easily and should not be overfed. A normal life expectancy is some 12 to 15 years.
Grooming. Grooming of the Shetland Sheepdog coat is easier than you may think, although very important. If you give their coat a light misting of water and tease the matting out before it gets too bad with sparing use of the comb, the final brushing is then very simple.
Living conditions. The Shetland Sheepdog do require a lot of exercise and as long as this is given to them, they are quite happy to live without a yard, or even in an apartment. They are very active indoors and do require some space, so a bed-sit type apartment would not be suitable.