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Is the Sheltie the Right Dog for You?

Shelties are a herding breed. By nature, the Sheltie is a barker since they were bred to protect sheep and sound a warning. When properly directed, the Sheltie's bark makes for a good watchdog.

Shelties are quite active and not suited to a sedentary lifestyle. They must have a daily outlet for their high energy, access to a fenced yard or daily walks. Shelties excel in agility, tracking, pet therapy and obedience. If you haven't the adequate means of exercising the Sheltie, you shouldn't have one.

The Sheltie is a sweet, gentle, active, highly intelligent dog that enjoys barking, is easily trained with positive reinforcement and friendly though reserved toward strangers. The Shelties reserve around strangers is correct for its breed as it is the Sheltie's duty to protect its flock, hence sizing up all newcomers. If you want a happy-go-lucky dog that is friendly to everyone, this may not be the breed for you.

The Shetland Sheepdog is generally a hardy long-lived breed with a life span that is generally 13 to 15 years. Some genetic abnormalities have been diagnosed in the breed. Sheltie eye syndrome, which can be detected at a young age, ranges from mild sight loss to blindness. Hypothyroidism can be treated with daily medication. In some lines, a skin and muscle disorder called Dermatomyositis can result in partial hair loss or more extensive hair loss and muscle atrophy.

Despite the double coat, a Sheltie is fairly easy to care for. A thorough brushing once a week, occasional baths, and regular nail and dental care are all that is required to keep your Sheltie looking its best.

Height is approximately 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder and weight is around 20 pounds. Feeding a Sheltie for a year will cost about $300.00 and veterinary bills for shots, if medication is needed, etc. could be almost as much.

If after understanding the drawbacks of dog ownership and specifically Sheltie ownership, you choose a Sheltie, you will be rewarded with a loyal, energetic, loving friend, happy to join you in every activity.