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#16: Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog is a small, extremely active, herding dog. It is said that Vikings and the Border Collie are the first to introduce this particular breed. The small size of the local stock did not require a large dog that could intimidate cattle or big sheep. Also, stories exist that the Shetland Sheepdog was left on rocky islands with the sheep where the sheep were allowed to eat off the vegetation. The dogs probably kept the sheep safe from the birds that may attack sheep that are left alone (e.g., ravens are known to kill sheep). Another legend says that the Sheltie was used to keep the wild sheep out of vegetable patches. Whatever the case, the Sheltie is a working dog that has not been made into a house pet. Do not think that, because the Sheltie is small, it is appropriate for a small apartment. It is not. The dog is a real bundle of energy that requires activity and room to roam. It is not a lapdog. The Shetland Sheepdog is a small dog with a long coat, a wedge shaped head, and fine features. Its expression should be intelligent and alert. It should be between thirteen and sixteen inches tall and appear ?long? in proportion. It does not really have a long back, but it carries itself as though it does. The coat is actually double, a long full outer coat with a dense furry undercoat that causes the outer coat to stand up. Black, blue merle and sable, golden, and mahogany are acceptable colors. The Sheltie?s temperament is intelligent and loving. It might be reserved towards strangers but should not be shy or frightened. Like all popular breeds, this one has faults. Some of these are due to inbreeding and some are due to misunderstanding the breed. While the Sheltie is small, it is also a dog that requires space to be happy. It also needs a job to do - to keep up with the Sheltie?s active mind. The breed looks like a miniature collie but it is in no way a ?toy.? The Shetland Sheepdog should be owned only by people who can keep this in mind. It excels in any job that requires intelligence and agility, like herding animals or competing in the agility categories in competitions. The breed makes a good dog for a farm or ranch, or for someone with lots of time and energy to match that of the Shetland Sheepdog.

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