Shetland sheepdog dog breed information

The Sweet Sheltie

Chances are that you chose to nói qua your home page with a Shetlvà Sheepdog because you expected her to have sầu certain traits that would fit your lifestyle:

Loyal and loving companionGood with kids & other petsVigilant watchdog with a ready barkSweet, gentle, and sensitiveAgile, sturdy, and muscular

Just be sure to lớn watch out for:

Suspicious of strangersEasily bored if not given something to lớn do, which may lead to lớn barking và chewingStrong herding instinct can lead lớn chasing cars & small animalsNeeds daily exerciseProne to quite a few health problemsProne lớn separation anxiety

There’s a lot going on behind those sparkling almond eyes—intuitive và bright, Shelties make great family pets!

Shetl& Sheepdogs originated in Scotland và are descendants of the Collie. Shelties have sầu held many jobs including herding, protecting, và tracking. They are well known for their intelligence và their seemingly human understanding of their companions. Shelties thrive in competition và love khổng lồ be useful. The Sheltie’s double coat requires a considerable amount of grooming, but her beauty is worth the care.

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Your Shetlvà Sheepdog"s Health

We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want khổng lồ take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Sheltie. By knowing about health concerns specific to Shetlvà Sheepdogs, we can tailor a preventive sầu health plan to lớn watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.

Many diseases và health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pet’s breed. There is a general consensus ahy vọng canine genetic researchers & veterinary practitioners that the conditions we’ve sầu described herein have sầu a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems; it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most comtháng issues seen in Shetland Sheepdogs lớn give sầu you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we can’t cover every possibility here, so always kiểm tra with us at Harlingen Veterinary Clinic if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.

This guide contains general health information important khổng lồ all canines as well as the most important genetic predispositions for Shetl& Sheepdogs. This information helps you và us together plan for your pet’s quality medical needs. At the over of the article, we have also included a mô tả tìm kiếm of what you can vì chưng at trang chủ to lớn keep your Sheltie looking & feeling her best. You will know what to lớn watch for, và we will all feel better knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal.

General Health Information for your Shetl& Sheepdog

Dental Disease

Dental disease is the most comtháng chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. Unfortunately, your Shetl& Sheepdog is more likely than other dogs lớn have sầu problems with her teeth. Dental disease starts with tartar build-up on the teeth và progresses to infection of the gums và roots of the teeth. If we don’t prsự kiện or treat dental disease, your buddy may thua trận her teeth & be in danger of damage to lớn her kidneys, liver, heart, & joints. In fact, your Sheltie"s life span may even be cut short by one khổng lồ three years! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly và let you know what you can bởi at trang chính lớn keep those pearly whites clean.


Shetland Sheepdogs are susceptible to lớn bacterial & viral infections — the same ones that all dogs can get — such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommkết thúc based on her age, the diseases we see in our area, và other factors.


Obesity can be a significant health problem in Shetland Sheepdogs. It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive sầu disorders, baông chồng pain, and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give sầu your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love sầu her khổng lồ death” with leftover people food and doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, và so will you!


All kinds of worms & bugs can invade your Sheltie"s body toàn thân, inside and out. Everything from fleas & ticks lớn ear mites can infest her skin và ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can get into lớn her system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito lớn. Some of these parasites can be transmitted khổng lồ you or a family member và are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine frikết thúc, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so it’s important that we chạy thử for them on a regular basis. We’ll also recommkết thúc preventive medication as necessary khổng lồ keep her healthy.

Spay or Neuter

One of the best things you can vị for your Sheltie is to have sầu her spayed (neutered for males). In females, this means we surgically remove the ovaries and usually the uterus, và in males, it means we surgically remove sầu the testicles. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers và eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify & address some of the diseases your dog is likely lớn develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays or a puppy tooth extracted, this would be a good time—it’s more convenient for you and easier on your friover too. Routine blood testing prior to lớn surgery also helps us to identify và take precautions against common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Don’t worry; we’ll discuss the specific problems we will be looking for when the time arrives.

Genetic Predispositions for Shetlvà Sheepdogs

Multidrug Resistance

Multidrug resistance is a genetic defect in a ren called MDR1. If your Shetland Sheepdog has this mutation, it can affect the way his toàn thân processes different drugs, including substances commonly used to lớn treat parasites, diarrhea, and even cancer. For years, veterinarians simply avoided using ivermectin in herding breeds, but now there is a DNA chạy thử that can specifically identify dogs who are at risk for side effects from certain medications. Testing your pet early in life can prevent drug-related toxicity

Heart Disease

Shelties are susceptible khổng lồ a condition called patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, in which a small vessel that carries blood between two parts of the heart does not cthua trận as it should shortly after birth. This results in too much blood being carried khổng lồ the lungs, causing fluid build-up và strain on the heart. Outward signs may be mild or severe, including coughing, fatigue during exercise, weight loss, shortness of breath, and weakness in the hind limbs. We listen for a specific type of heart murmur khổng lồ diagnose this problem during your pet’s examinations. If your pal has this condition, we may recommover surgery lớn cthảm bại the problematic vessel.

Bleeding Disorders

There are several types of inherited bleeding disorders that occur in dogs. They range in severity from very mild khổng lồ very severe. Many times a pet seems normal until a serious injury occurs or surgery is performed, & then severe bleeding can result. Shelties are particularly prone to some relatively rare diseases of the blood.

Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood clotting disorder frequently found in Shetl& Sheepdogs. We’ll conduct diagnostic testing for blood clotting times or a specific DNA blood demo for Von Willebrand’s disease và other similar disorders lớn check for this problem before we persize surgery.

Eye Problems

Not many things have as dramatic an impact on your dog"s chất lượng of life as the proper functioning of his eyes. Unfortunately, Shetlvà Sheepdogs can inherit or develop a number of different eye conditions, some of which may cause blindness if not treated right away, and most of which can be extremely painful! We will evaluate his eyes at every examination to look for any signs for concern.

Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older Shelties. We’ll watch for the lenses of his eyes lớn become more opaque—meaning they look cloudy instead of clear—when we examine hyên ổn. Many dogs adjust well lớn losing their vision and get along just fine. Surgery khổng lồ remove sầu cataracts and restore sight may also be an option.Distichiasis is a condition caused by extra hairs that grow inside of the eyelid & rub on the surface of the eye. This is one of the most commonly inherited diseases in dogs, & your Sheltie is more likely than other dogs lớn develop this painful condition. If untreated, these abnormal hairs can cause corneal ulcers and chronic eye pain. Several treatment options are available, & the prognosis is good once the hairs have sầu been permanently removed.Collie eye anomaly is a genetically linked disease that causes abnormal development of the eyes in Shetl& Sheepdogs. In severe cases, the disease can lead khổng lồ blindness. Unfortunately, there is no treatment. It is important khổng lồ give your pet a thorough eye examination prior khổng lồ breeding.

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Systemic lupus erythematosus is a fairly rare autoimmune disease in which the dog"s immune system attacks itself. This disorder results in chronic inflammation of the skin, joints, & internal organs, sometimes even leading to death in severe cases. Shelties are more commonly affected than other breeds. Symptoms usually begin between three to seven years of age. There is no cure for lupus, but medications can help manage symptoms. Sunlight can cause flare-ups, so avoiding sunlight exposure và using a dog-safe sunscreen on sensitive parts like ears và noses can help.


There are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive sầu, secondary, and primary. Reactive seizures are caused by the brain"s reaction to lớn a metabolic problem lượt thích low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary or idiopathic epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition, & Shetland Sheepdogs are commonly afflicted. If your friover is prone lớn seizures, episodes will usually begin between six months & three years of age. An initial diagnostic workup may help find the cause. Lifelong medication is usually necessary lớn help keep seizures under control with periodic blood testing required to monitor side effects và efficacy. If your dog has a seizure, carefully prevent him from injuring himself, but don"t try to lớn control his mouth or tongue. It won"t help him, and he may bite you accidentally! Note the length of the seizure, and hotline us or an emergency hospital.

Bone & Joint Problems

A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in Shetland Sheepdogs. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed & treated khổng lồ prevent undue pain & suffering. With diligent observation at trang chính and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friend"s bones, joints, or muscles, you will be able to take great care of him throughout his life.


In humans, allergies khổng lồ pollen, mold, or dust make people sneeze. In dogs, rather than sneezing, allergies make their skin itchy. We Gọi this skin allergy “atopy”, và Shelties often have sầu it. The feet, belly, folds of the skin, & ears are most commonly affected. Symptoms typically start between the ages of one & three và can get worse every year. Licking the paws, rubbing the face, and frequent ear infections are the most comtháng signs of allergies. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for these conditions.


Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory condition of the skin and muscles seen in young Shetlvà Sheepdogs. It appears khổng lồ be caused by a defect in the immune system passed genetically as an autosomal dominant trait, meaning that if one parent is affected, all the puppies will be susceptible to the disorder, but some may be affected more than others. Medications can help alleviate symptoms, but affected dogs should not be used for breeding.


Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs. Your Sheltie, however, is a bit more prone to certain kinds of cancer that can appear at a younger age. Many cancers are cured by surgical removal, và some types are treatable with chemotherapy, but for all types, early detection is critical! We’ll bởi vì periodic blood tests & look for lumps và bumps on your pet at each exam.

Thyroid Problems

Shelties are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the body toàn thân doesn’t make enough thyroid hooc môn. Signs can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to lớn other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, and other behavioral changes. We’ll conduct a blood demo annually to lớn screen for this disease. Treatment is usually as simple as replacement hormones given in the form of a pill.

Kidney Disorder

Fanconi syndrome is a disorder of the kidneys that allows vital blood nutrients to escape into the urine. Because these nutrients are so important, affected Shelties can experience excessive urination and thirst, weight loss, & weakness due to lớn abnormal electrolyte levels. Symptoms usually appear between two & six years of age. The severity and course of the disease vary from dog lớn dog; some pets remain stable for years while others may develop fatal kidney failure. Routine urine screening can help to diagnose Fanconi syndrome in its early stages, and prompt treatment can greatly extend both your pet"s lifespan và his unique of life.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

Most commonly seen in small và toy breeds lượt thích your Sheltie, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or HGE, is a serious và sometimes fatal disease in dogs that is characterized by bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and severe dehydration. Extensive sầu treatment may be necessary for dogs suffering from hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and some dogs may not survive sầu the disease, particularly if they are not promptly treated. There are many causes of gastrointestinal disease in dogs, but any dog with these symptoms should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Taking Care of Your Shetlvà Sheepdog at Home

Much of what you can bởi vì to keep your dog happy & healthy is comtháng sense, just like it is for people. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush her teeth and coat, and Hotline us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual (see “What to lớn Watch For” below). Be sure to adhere lớn the schedule of examinations và vaccinations that we recommkết thúc for her. This is when we’ll give sầu her the necessary “check-ups” & kiểm tra for diseases and conditions that are comtháng in Shelties. Another very important step in caring for your pet is signing up for pet health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests & procedures she will need throughout her life and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs.

Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise

Build her routine care into your schedule lớn help your Sheltie live sầu longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.

Supervise your pet as you would a toddler. Keep doors closed, piông xã up after yourself, & bloông chồng off rooms as necessary. This will keep her out of trouble and away from objects she shouldn’t put in her mouth.Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly.Shetl& Sheepdogs often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need khổng lồ brush them at least three times a week!Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—we’ll show you how!She is well suited khổng lồ apartment life as long as she is given a daily walk và frequent play sessions.She is an athletic dog that excels at dog sports lượt thích agility, obedience, and herding.She has a svào chase instinct, so she needs to be leash walked and a fenced yard is a must.Keep your dog’s diet consistent & don’t give sầu her people food.Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.Exercise your dog regularly, but don’t overbởi it at first.

What lớn Watch For

Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease or it could just be a minor or temporary problem. The important thing is to lớn be able to lớn tell when lớn seek veterinary help và how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs to have a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your Shetlvà Sheepdog needs help.

Office Calls

Give us a Call at 908-332-5057 for an appointment if you notice any of these types of signs:

Change in appetite or water consumptionTartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teethItchy skin (scratching, chewing, or licking); hair lossLethargy, mental dullness, or excessive sleepingFearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changesDull coat, hair loss; sluggish, weight gainLumps or bumps – regardless of size


Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs:

Scratching or shaking the head, tender ears, or ear dischargeInability or straining to urinate; discolored urineCloudiness, redness, itching, or any other abnormality involving the eyesFatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breathGums that are a color other than bright pinkAny abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive sầu involuntary tremorsLeg stiffness; reluctance to lớn rise, sit, use stairs, run, or jump; “bunny hopping”

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