Shetland Sheepdog – How Well Do You Know Your Sheltie

Shelties are very intelligent dogs. They have been bred to do many things including guard livestock, protect their flock from predators, hunt game and even perform other tasks such as herding cattle or hauling rocks down steep hillsides. A sheltie’s natural instinct is to follow its master wherever it goes. The most common breeds of sheepdogs include the Border Collie, English Setter and the Scottish Deerhound. All these breeds share certain characteristics.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is one of the oldest working dog breeds and was originally developed to work with sheep. The breed was first used in the 19th century to guard flocks of sheep at night from wolves, coyotes and other animals.

Today, they are still commonly used for guarding livestock and working as search & rescue dogs. They make excellent watchmen because they are so alert all day long. They are not known for being strong enough to pull heavy loads but they are good at pulling carts. The Border Collie is considered a “working” breed because they tend to stay indoors most of the time. They do best when kept inside all day and only outside during daylight hours.

English Setter

The English Setter was developed in England around the same time as the Border Collie and has similar working requirements. This dog is also very intelligent and is often used as a hunting dog.

They were originally bred to hunt small game such as birds, hare and deer. The English Setter works in packs to help flush out prey and then individually pursue the animal until it tires. These dogs are very fast but lack the endurance to run large animals for longer periods of time. As with the Border Collie, these dogs do best when kept inside most of the time and are not known for being outdoor dogs.

Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is considered the tallest of all dog breeds. These dogs were bred to hunt large animals such as deer, boars and even wolves.

They have an excellent sense of smell and can track prey from up to a mile away. These dogs tend to work best in open areas where they can see a long distance. They are not good at working in heavy brush or forests because their long bodies can get stuck and even injured in such environments. These dogs have a loud bay that can be heard in many miles and again, they tend to work best in open areas.

Herding Dogs

Shetland Sheepdog – How Well Do You Know Your Sheltie - DogPuppySite

Shelties are natural herders and there are two other well known breeds in this category: the Australian Shepherd and the Hungarian Kuvasz. These dogs all have similar herding and personality traits.

They have been bred for hundreds of years to work with large animals including horses, cattle and sheep. They are all athletic and love to run and jump. They have great stamina and work well for long periods of time without getting tired. These dogs do best in active households and should be kept busy. Inactive herding dogs can get bored and this can lead to behavioral problems such as chewing, howling or even destruction of household items. All of these herding breeds make excellent guard dogs.

Sources & references used in this article:

Progressive retinal atrophy in Shetland sheepdog is associated with a mutation in the CNGA1 gene by AC Wiik, EO Ropstad, B Ekesten, L Karlstam… – Animal …, 2015 – Wiley Online Library

Retrotransposon insertion in SILV is responsible for merle patterning of the domestic dog by LA Clark, JM Wahl, CA Rees… – Proceedings of the …, 2006 – National Acad Sciences

SHELTIE WISE by W Card, FC Miller – 2008 – sscnj.org

Differential human handling and the development of agonistic behavior in Basenji and Shetland sheep dogs by JP Scott, F Bronson, A Trattner – … Psychobiology: The Journal of …, 1968 – Wiley Online Library

The complete Shetland Sheepdog. by CC Moore – The complete Shetland Sheepdog., 1960 – cabdirect.org

Take a paws: Fostering student wellness with a therapy dog program at your university library by A Lannon, P Harrison – Public Services Quarterly, 2015 – Taylor & Francis

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca in the dog: a review of two hundred cases by AKC Standard – Champion, 2015