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August 11, 2008

cassie.jpgShetland Sheepdogs are highly intelligent dogs. They are affectionate, intensely loyal, and an all-around great family pet. They are good with children if they are raised with them from an early age and they do well with other pets. They tend to be a little wary of strangers, sometimes to the point of being skittish or snappy but their loyalty to their family more than makes up for it. They require regular brushing but their size makes them great for any sized home, including a farm or even an apartment.

The Shetland Sheepdog is also known as a Sheltie or a Miniature Collie. They originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland where the Shetland Pony and Shetland Sheep also come from. It is possible that the Shetland Sheepdog was bred to herd those smaller sheep but it is more likely that they were used on the farm to scare off birds, rodents, and garden pests such as rabbits.

With a few differences, the Shetland Sheepdog looks like a miniature version of the Collie. The dominate color of the Shetland Sheepdog is either black, blue-merle, or sable. The dominate color is accompanied by varying amounts of white and/or tan. Their hair is long and needs regular brushing. Their weight ranges anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds. Their height according to AKC standards should be 13 to 16 inches to the shoulder but can be shorter or taller with the height proportionate to the weight.

If you consider adopting an adult Shetland Sheepdog, do not be concerned if the dog does not warm up to you right away. Since Shetland Sheepdogs tend to be wary of strangers, bonding time will be needed. If you are considering purchasing a Shetland Sheepdog puppy be aware of several inherited and/or susceptible diseases common to the breed. These health issues include Dermatomyositis ( a genetic disease of the skin), Von Willebrand Disease (a bleeding disorder), malformation of the eyes, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and various skin allergies. Before you purchase from a breeder make sure the breeder has clear bloodline records. A breeder should have vet records showing that they eyes were checked for the eye disease and that DNA tests were done for the Von Willebrand Disease. Some of the symptoms for the diseases listed above do not show up until about age two so adoption of an adult dog is a safe way to go but will require some bonding time.

The image above is an artistic rendition of Cassie. Cassie was adopted at age 1 and quickly bonded with the adopter’s 10 year old daughter. Cassie became the 10-year-old’s dog and spent the remainder of her life with her. Cassie died at age 13 when her owner was 23. She can attest that Cassie was the best dog she has ever had.  Cassie was extremely loyal, knew over 30 commands, and very lovable.  If you want to read more about Cassie and the owner, visit the Pet Pals page of PetAutoSafety.com. To view other pet art from the artist of Cassie, visit www.NatureByDawn.com.

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