Originating in the rugged terrain of the Shetland Islands off the Northeast coast of Scotland, this adorable breed used to be called the ‘Toonie,’ which comes from ‘tun,’ the Norwegian word for the front yard of a farmhouse. This farm dog’s job was to herd small flocks of sheep and children, supervising them as they played. the Sheltie continues to possess a strong sense of it’s boundaries, no doubt a trait developed from living in the hazardous land of the Shetlands, where it was easy to fall off a cliff with one misstep. Shelties are thought to descend from an Icelandic breed called the Yakkie, (which was brought to the Shetland Islands by whaling fleets), the Norwegian Buhund and the small collie. Today’s Shelties are much more attractive in appearance than their ancestors, due to the efforts of British breeders who refined it’s type by selectively breeding the Sheltie with a variety of toy breeds. Originally know in dog show circuits as the “Shetland Collie”, the breed made it’s show debut in 1906 at the Crufts Dog Show. Breeders had the name changed to “Shetland Sheepdog”, more in keeping with the breed’s working ability. Shelties make wonderful family pets, and are suitable to almost any type of living arrangements, from small apartments to large farms. Exercise needs are moderate; a good daily walk is sufficient to satisfy this affectionate breed. Shelties stand from 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder and have a dense, double coat that requires a thorough daily brushing to keep it smooth and tangle-free. The coat can be black, blue merle or sable marked with white and/or tan. Shelties are hard working dogs that have a strong desire to please their owners. They do extremely well in obedience work and agility, as well as being very good companions that are wonderful with children.
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