The Shetland Sheepdog is a long-haired working dog that traces back to the Border Collie of Scotland. After being transported to the Shetland Islands, the Border Collie was crossed with smaller, intelligent long-haired breeds. These dogs were eventually crossed with Collies, creating the gentle, loyal breed we’ve come to know as the "Sheltie."
Shelties were originally used for herding and watching over flocks of sheep in the Shetland Islands. Shelties make wonderful family dogs, but they tend to be shy around strangers. Their herding instinct is strong, therefore they have a tendency to bark at and herd people and other animals. Due to their high energy level, Shelties like to be kept busy and daily exercise can keep excessive barking and herding at bay. Shelties are highly trainable, intelligent and agile, making them ideal for obedience, agility and herding trials.
Although this spunky breed is adaptable – they are just as comfortable roaming the farm as they are living in an apartment (as long as they are given ample exercise time)! – they are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health, not to mention your budget.
Some of the conditions and illnesses Shetland Sheepdogs are prone to include eye issues such as Collie Eye Anomaly and cataracts; skin and muscle problems such as dermatomyositis; blood diseases such as Von Willebrand’s disease; kidney problems such as Fanconi Syndrome; and ear conditions such as deafness.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Shetland Sheepdog inherits more than just his dad’s strong herding skills or his mom’s spunky attitude, you’re covered.